Ever since times immemorial, India’s handicraft industry has been the talking point. The beautiful handicrafts maheshwari sarees, gorgeous textiles woven by the weaver drew the attention of people across the globe. Even now, they garner a lot of attention. The government also supports the artisans & craftsmen by giving financial aid, offering various schemes, trying to keep alive the traditions of generations.
Talking about India as a whole, there are region specific weaving styles and are many in number. Every state can be further divided into many regions and hence myriads of weaving styles and patterns exist. Coming to the heart of India-Madhya Pradesh, Maheshwari and Chanderi sarees or materials are quite famous. So, what do you think? How they are made? What’s ‘their’ story? Let us explore.
Origin and Historical background:
The origin and historical background of Maheshwari sarees dates back to the 5th century. There is a place named Maheshwar on the banks of the river Narmada. This was the capital of Malwa during the reign of Holkars. It is from here that the simple form of art got a royal status.
It was in a way promoted by the queen Ahilya Bai Holkar, who uplifted its status by deploying a special team to weavers. Here is when the Maheshwari sarees became more popular.
Coming to Chanderi sarees, they have derived their name from a small town in Madhya Pradesh named Chanderi itself. Here, the weavers make this lightweight saree in cotton and silk with fine zari work. These beautiful sarees exude feminine looks with royal hues.
It’s royal connect lies in the heart of India-Madhya Pradesh. They were patronised by the royal family of Scinidias, in the year 1910. At this time, the simple cotton saree got a new friend-the golden thread motif. Since then, the chanderi sarees have no looking back and withstood the test of time.
They have evolved into better designs, colours and blending of other fabrics like silk.
The chanderi fabric can be divided into three types, depending upon the type of material used-cotton, silk and silk cotton.
The process of weaving sarees and other materials vary a lot and depend much on the fabric. For example, silk is a lustrous fabric so the type of weaving required would be such so as to enhance the radiance of the thread. All of this begins at a home with all the family members engaged in the making. The looms are quite old-school yet produce magnificent designs and patterns. Various generations of families are engaged in this process for years.
This gorgeous textile is woven by the skilled artisans at the town of Chanderi and Maheshwari. Few types of weaving styles involved are plain weaving, basket weaving, twill weaving, etc. Different kinds of looms are present wherein weavers use different threads and colours to make nine yards of sheer magic.
The speciality of these fabrics is more or less related to their royal connect. Also, their relevance amidst the mechanised fabrics speaks of their popularity. Fashion designers are becoming aware of this and curating indo-western dresses. These are quite popular in the Bollywood industry as well, due to their beauty, colours, designs, etc. It is a heritage craft that will remain to be the first choice when it comes to traditional wear.