Chanderi: The distinct art of weaving

Many centuries ago, Chanderi was worth dying for. It was a walled city with a hilltop citadel. It had palaces, tanks and pleasure pavilions. The beautiful Betwa flowed close by its side. And precious cloth flowed off the looms of its weavers.

What Chanderi pioneered and became famous for was a technique that it has kept alive till now. Briefly, that technique is: cotton in the warp and silk in the weft. But simple as it sounds, it is a slow process, and even the plainest sari takes three days to weave. Throw in an intricate pattern and the weaving can take a week or more.

The Chanderi cloth is very light. Before machine-made yarn came to be used here, it was comparable in lightness to Dhaka’s famed muslin. And the lightness extended to the colours and designs as well.

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