Kancheepuram Silk

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Kancheepuram Silk
Geographical indication
Kanchipuram silk sareer.JPG
Kancheepuram silk sarees
Description silk sarees weaved in Kancheepuram
Type handicraft
Area Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
Country India
Registered 2005-06
Material silk

Kancheepuram Silk is a type of silk saree made in the Kancheepuram region in Tamil Nadu, India. Popularly known as Kanjivaram Sarees, the sarees are referred to as South India's answer to Banarasi saris.[1] It has been recognized as a Geographical indication by the Government of India in 2005-06.[2][3][4]

As of 2008, an estimated 5,000 families were involved in sari production.[5] There are 25 silk and cotton yarn industries and 60 dyeing units in the region.[6]


According to Hindu mythology, Kanchi silk weavers are the descendants of Sage Markanda, the master weaver of Gods who is supposed to have woven tissue from lotus fiber. Also, while cotton is considered to be the favourite fabric of Lord Shiva, silk was preferred by Lord Vishnu.[7]


The sarees are weaved from pure mulberry silk thread. The pure mulberry silk used in the making of Kanchipuram saris comes from South India and the zari comes from Gujarat.[8] To weave a Kanchipuram sari three shuttles are used. While the weaver works on the right side, his aide works on the left side shuttle. The border color and design are usually quite different from the body. If the pallu (the hanging end of the sari) has to be woven in a different shade, it is first separately woven and then delicately joined to the Sari.[8] The part where the body meets the pallu is often denoted by a zig zag line.[9] In a genuine Kanchipuram Silk Sari, body and border are woven separately and then interlocked together. The joint is woven so strongly that even if the sarees tears, the border will not detach.[10]


Saris are distinguished by their wide contrast borders. Temple borders, checks, stripes and floral (buttas) are traditional designs found on a Kanchipuram sarees.[9] The patterns and designs in the kanchipuram sarees were inspired with images and scriptures in South Indian temples or natural features like leaves, birds and animals.[11] These are sarees with rich woven pallu showing paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Kanchipuram sarees vary widely in cost depending upon the intricacy of work, colors, pattern, material used like zari (gold thread) etc. The silk is also known for its quality and craftsmanship, which has helped earn its name.[12]


Kanchipuram saris woven with heavy silk and gold cloth are considered to be special and are worn on occasions and festivities.[13]

Geographical Indication[edit]

In 2005, the Government of Tamil Nadu applied for Geographical Indication for Kanchipura sarees.[14] The Government of India recognized it as a Geographical indication officially since the year 2005-06.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

The Tamil film Kanchivaram released in 2008 depicts the struggles of silk weavers in Kanchipuram.


  1. ^ "Weaving through the threads". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Geographical indication". Government of India. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Government eases norms for gold-silver mix in Kanchipuram sarees". Chennai: The Economic Times. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "GI tag: TN trails Karnataka with 18 products". Chennai: The Times of India. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Rao, P.V.L. Narasimha (2008). Kanchipuram – Land of Legends, Saints & Temples. New Delhi: Readworthy Publications (P) Ltd. ISBN 978-93-5018-104-1. 
  6. ^ "Industries in Kanchipuram". Kanchipuram Municipality, Government of Tamil Nadu. 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Narasimha Rao, P.V.L. Kanchipuram – Land of Legends, Saints & Temples. Readworthy. ISBN 9350181045. 
  8. ^ a b "Kanchipuram Sari – Tamilnadu". Tamilnadu.com. 16 October 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Sajnani, Manohar (2001). Encyclopaedia of tourism resources in India. New Delhi: Kalpaz Pub. ISBN 9788178350189. 
  10. ^ "Kanchipuram sarees". aboutkanchipuram.com. 
  11. ^ "Kanchipuram Sari designs". 22 October 2016. 
  12. ^ de Bruyn, Pippa; Keith Bain; David Allardice; Shonar Joshi (2010). Frommer's India (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing. ISBN 9780470556108. 
  13. ^ Henderson, Carol E. (2002). Culture and customs of India. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313305139. 
  14. ^ "GI tag: TN trails Karnataka with 18 products". Times of India. 29 August 2013. 

External links[edit]