A visit to the town of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh which is home to the famous handwoven fabric ‘chanderi’, popularized by the chanderi sarees
The beauty of women is not in the clothes she wears, but no doubt ‘saree’ enhances the beauty of a dame. Chanderi, a town in Madhya Pradesh, is known as the paradise for Chanderi silk sarees. The city is filled with a number of malls and international brands, but some glimpse of traditional wear can still be witnessed here.
I used this golden opportunity to explore the market of Chanderi. One needs to have special skills to roam between busy lanes, cows, massive traffic , all sorts of bargaining noises and people everywhere. Despite the chaos, you feel you are always warmly welcomed.
The first word that pops in mind when you think of Chanderi is its rich heritage and Silk sarees, famously known as Chanderi sarees. A walk down the Chanderi bazaar will take you back in time. It is one of the most famous markets of cloth merchandise of Bundlekhand in India. From 12th and 13th centuries till today the magic of weaving these sarees is incredible. The artistic production of weaving has been passed to the heirs in the most astonishing manner. Shopaholics shouldn’t miss the Chanderi Bazaar. The culture of Chanderi can be witnessed in the items sold at this market. Lightweight cotton and silk fabrics are few of the best takeaways of this market.
Chanderi weaving dates back to the Vedic age. There is a mention of this art in Rig Veda, “The first testament of mankind”. Chanderi sarees were always patronized by Royalty. It is born out with special art of weaving with fine textured cotton and silk yarn and graced with Zari borders.
In a country like India where summers are very warm and humid, the best choice of clothes are cotton and silk. Along with comfort, the luxury of these sarees is like none other.
By talking to the local merchants I came to know that till now the turbans of Maraths and Rajasthanis are made by Chanderi weavers. The price range of Chanderi sarees is from four hundred rupees to four thousand rupees, making it affordable for every income group. As this is the traditional wear of bundlekhand one can still find ladies wearing it in their daily routines. The Chanderi sarees have come a long way from traditional floral motifs to the modern feature of checks and other geometrical patterns.
The cloth woven in Chanderi was a favorite choice for royals in India. These sarees were worn by the queens of yester years as well as the queens of today. From Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi to Kareena Kapoor and Vidhya Balan, all are fond of Chanderi Silk sarees and can be spotted now and then gracing themselves in these royal and rich sarees.
Go Heritage Run is being organized in Orchha in October – goheritagerun.com/orchha