We all love to have beautiful silk sarees in our wardrobe. Similarly, we knew how our ancestors treasured them. Sarees have a tremendous impact on south Indian culture. We trace the history of sarees back to the Indus valley civilization, which flourished during 2800 BCE. The Indian epics like silapathigaram have poetically described the saree draping styles of ancient woman. Nowadays we have different sarees which are worn based on the occasion. For example, cotton saree for daily wear, heavy border designer saree for parties, silk saree for traditional occasions, etc. Out of all, we consider Kancheepuram silk sarees to be queen, Because they have an enviable reputation for richness, texture, luster, durability, and finish. 

What are the specialties of Kancheepuram sarees?

The mulberry silk is used to weave Kanchipuram silk sarees. These silks are fine and have high-quality standards when compared to other silks. It consists of sericin protein. Hence, The mulberry silk is odorless and hypoallergenic. The farmers feed the silkworms with mulberry leaves, resulting the cocoons to spin the purest raw silk. The raw silk is hand-dyed naturally based on the requirement and processed further.

 The designs for the sarees are prepared using adai technique. Here, the hand-drawn designs are transferred to cards with holes. And later, the designs are threaded with strands. The unique property of Kanchipuram silk sarees is the zari. Here, The body of the sarees and pallu are weaved separately and combined at the end. This technique is known as the Korvai technique. Here, the gold and silver strands are used to make zari. The petni is used to join pallu and the body of the saree to fuse colors. These two methodologies outline the generation of cultural evolution binds in weaving a silk saree.

The prominent part of Kanchipuram silk sarees is their designs. They are related with motifs and patterns to the statues and temple border of Kanchipuram.   Yali (lions), rudraksha, hamsam (swan), and mango motif. designs are used in the zari. The body designs of the saree include jasmine bud, stripes, checks, and spear of Lord Muruga.

The vaira oosi and Muthu kattam are extremely peculiar designs of silk sarees. The vaira oosi refers to the needle-thin lines. They are visible merely as a lustrous shimmer on the silk. Muthu kattam or pearl-spaced sarees require additional attention, as they need perfect precision and calculation. Muthu kattam is an uncommon silk saree design. Mostly, it is worn on wedding occasions. It represents the harmonious relationship between bride and groom.

Muthu kattam saree

How to find the original Kanchipuram saree?

1.Luster and smoothness test:

The interference of light reflected from multiple angles has the pearlescent effect. Whereas, artificial fabric has a flat white sheen regardless of the angle.

Run your hand across the material. The fiber should feel sleek. The cloth should drape naturally. The artificial silk will be stiffer while you drape.

2.Burn test:

Burn a few strands plucked from the saree. The genuine silk will burn only when the flame is in contact. The residue formed will get crushed into fine ash upon lightly pressing. If it is a cotton or polyester blend, it will form a molten glob with black smoke or smells like plastic.

Every handloom saree is beautiful to drape, and surely it lasts long. It takes meticulous planning, designing, and time to weave a perfect silk saree. Grace, elegance, tradition, culture, and modernity, all woven into one in Kanchipuram sarees.  

The beauty of natural world lies in its detail 

– Natallie Angier