Chanderi Sarees: Rich Heritage of Madhya Pradesh

Chanderi saree is one of the most famous products of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Chanderi Fabric is in existence since Moghul times and found mention if the Govt. gazetteer and various other history books written on Chanderi. Chanderi town is located between the hills of Vindhyachal in the Ashok Nagar district, North of Madhya Pradesh (MP). The evolution of Chanderi began in 1890's when the weavers changed from handspun yarn which was a little coarse and difficult to print as compared to mill made yarn. In early 90's, the royal family of Gwalior, brought the Chanderi saree under their patronage and during that period the famous gold thread motif made its presence in the main body of the cotton muslin saree for the first time.

Subsequently, the silk yarn and over the years dobby and jacquard use came into existence The tastes of Indian women was changing was in the 90's and to keep pace with the changing times , the chanderi artisans went forward to weave yet another variety of fabric which combined a silk warp with a cotton weft. Some of the various beautifully striking motifs include 'Nalferma, 'Dandidar, 'Chatai', 'Jangla', Mehndi wale haath' etc. With around 3,500 looms in working condition, 18,000 people are directly or indirectly dependent on the industry for their living. This industry has evolved over time and has achieved excellence in every sense thanks to a mix of traditional and modern techniques and deft skills of weavers honed by institutional support by government and other agencies. The Chanderi fabric is known for its texture, light weight and a glossy look that sets it apart from factory produced textiles.

Traditionally, the fabric was woven using hand spun yarn, which accounted for its delicate texture. The artisans took a lot of time in spinning the yarn so that it quality, designs colors and motifs are as per the expectations of the elite and royal clients Chanderi was always woven using handspun cotton warps and wefts. It was spun as fine as 300 counts, and was as prized amongst cotton fabrics as the famed muslins of Dhaka. However, the Industrial Revolution sounded the first death knell on this beautiful textile. The British imported cheaper 120 to 200 count cotton from Manchester, which greatly eroded the market for the more expensive Chanderi cloth. In the 1930s, Chanderi started working on Japanese silk. They began substituting this in the warps in cotton sarees, and also developed a silk-by-silk variety in which their profit margins were higher. As a result, today, it is difficult to find a genuine cotton-by-cotton Chanderi saree in retail establishments. Since the inception of the Chanderi fabric and Sarees, the buttis on the Fabric are hand-woven on Handloom. No machines are used in manufacturing and it is Gold coated, Silver coated and as well as Copper coated. Now a days tested Zari Butti are also common and in use. The tested Zari is made with the use of Synthetic yarn. The Buttis are made by use of Needles. Number of needles used depends upon the number of Buttis and its size. For each Butti/Butta separate needles are used. The weavers involved have attained expertise in this over a long period of time. The most popular and traditional kind of Butti is Asharfi Butti, which is in shape of Asharfi (woven in pure gold and silver Zari and now a day it is also woven in Tested Zari). This kind of Butti was in use in past only by the Royal families because it is very expensive as genuine Gold and Silver is used. The Butti which is big is size is popularly called as Butta with all other specifications.

The weavers involved in this process are long standing in trade and are well experienced. The Govt. from time to time also spends money and conduct workshops to train and educate them about the latest design and its quality control. The thread used at Chanderi is of fine quality and even after long use its thread never comes out and its original shape and appearance is retained forever. It has no comparison anywhere else in the country or for that reasons in whole of the world.

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This article was published on 28 Jun 2014 and has been viewed 613 times
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