Present Scenario of Kanchipuram Silk Saree Industry

Last Updated on 17/12/2020

Present Scenario of Kanchipuram Silk Saree Industry

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India


Kanchipuram silk sarees are famous by its gorgeous use of colours and fine golden thread work that produce gorgeous patterns and weaves. Created in the city of Kanchipuram, south part of the Tamilnadu. This particular type of saree is universally known as Kanchipuram silk sarees.

This municipal in the southern India is also known by the name of Silk City, because people living there earn their employment by weaving silk sarees. If anybody is planning to attend a South Indian wedding-celebration, must to buy Kanchipuram silk saree directly or through the online from this collection.

The wide-ranging of Kanchipuram silk sarees in this curated collection shows beauty and complexity. Kanchipuram silks are weightier than other types of silks therefore each Kanchipuram silk saree is considered as a piece of art.

It is understood that a South Indian bride’s bridal wear goods is lacking without a Kanchipuram silk saree. These sarees are having the superb Shinning border, graceful textures and attractive colours with finely woven motifs and patterns in the form of South Indian temples, peacock, flowers, and tales from the Hindu epics like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Bhagwat Gita heighten the beauty of these sarees.

Kanchipuram (alsospelled as Conjeevaram, Kanjeevarum, Kanjiwaram, Kanjivaram) is traditionally woven silk from the village called Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, South India. For centuries now, these sarees have conquered the world of South Indian sarees. Identical with the sarees of South India, these are the mark of culture for every south Indian wedding, ceremony or occasion. The shine and strength of the fabric have made these Sarees widespread attire among women across the globe. The rich quality combined with an amazing finish make them previous longer.

Equal with the sarees of South India, these are the spot of values for every south Indian wedding, ritual or occasion. The shine and durability of the fabric have made these Sarees popular clothing among women across the sphere. The rich quality combined with an astonishing finish make them last longer.

Origin & History of Kanchipuram Silk Saree:
A famous king of the Cholas dynasty ruled Kanchipuram between the years 985 and 1014, who took an inventiveness of silk trade. It was during the reign of Krishna-Deva Raya, when the famous weaving communities of Andhra Pradesh, the Devangas and Saligars, migrated to Kanchipuram. Thus, happened the historical migration of the whole silk industry in the 15th century, to this city.

The two weaving peoples were entirely recognized for their skills at weaving silk. The weaving industry was provisionally halted during the French invasion in the 17th century. It strengthened and make over its style in the 18th century.

Today, it ranks amongst the supreme popular silks in the world. Very few stand out in the competition against Kanchipuram silks. The British translated the Kanchipuram silks to Conjeevaram silks, also known as Kanjeevarum silks.

Evolution and People Behind the Art:

This fabric is the characteristic part of several traditional and religious ceremonies. Kanchipuram silks have produced the main occupation for several in the city of Kanchipuram. The silk bears the descriptions of all the scriptures embossed on the walls of the temples of the Kanchipuram village.

Over periods, Kanchipuram silk has been developing in terms of design and pattern but hasn’t lost its charm. Initially sold across the world by only merchants, today the real weavers have awakened up to their own cooperative societies to sell their woven Kanchipuram silk.

The Making and Style:
The silk that is acquired from the sericulture of the mulberry worm is finely converted to produce the Kanjeevaram silk. These hand woven sarees hold their attraction in the double warp and double wept, and are known for the 1.2 inches of the warp frame that can hold up to about 60 holes through which would be woven the 240 warp threads.

Kanchipuram silk saree making
Fig: Kanchipuram silk saree making (Image courtesy: Indiadaily)

Around 250-300 threads would be woven into the wept. This eventually allows the saree to remain strong and well made. Commonly, the zari used in a Kanjeevaram silk saree would be in gold and silver with silver running in first, coated with gold later.

The sarees woven hereafter from this silk are mostly hand woven to design the best assortment. The famous weavers of the city of Kanchipuram have developed the art of converting this fabric into beautifully designed sarees in recent times. The designs are stimulated by the scriptures and art of the temples in Kanchipuram.

Kanchipuram silk originally started with the 9-yard sarees that were woven to blend well with the culture of designing and patterning temple stories. Over a period of time, these sarees were converted to 6 yards with gold zari weaving. To make it available for every budget, now a days there are Kanchipuram silk sarees woven in artificial gold zari, without losing upon the outstandingsplendour of this textile.

The saree has evolved in terms of textures and shapes have taken over the scriptures and art of the silk sarees. Each texture and desi have a name allotted to it with which it is best known. Thandavalam (Railway track) is one such patterned saree where parallel lines describe the saree.

Wearing the Attire:
Presence the lustrous silk, Kanchipuram has got the fascination of Wedding, Ceremony or any other festival. Since, silk is a thick weave, it is more suitable for cold climatic conditions, mostly suitable for the Autumn and Winter season.

Kanchipuram Silk Saree
Fig: Kanchipuram silk saree

Dry cleaning is the favorite method. One should keep them outside plastic bags in a nicely folded state. One can use some pre-washing techniques as well.

Post scenario:
In the year 1949, the first co-operative society of weavers was formed, called the Kamatchi Amman Society. This society consisted of 79 weavers, who were provided financial support and several other benefits. Over the course of time, more and more co-operative societies were formed.

Today, there are about 24 co-operative societies, most of which are managed by the government. Of Tamilnadu. Some of the apparent co-operative societies of weavers are the Kamatchi Amman Silk Society, Murugan Silk Society, Varadharaja Swamy Silk Society and others.

The Kamatchi Amman Society now has about 2000 members and is one of the biggest. Entirely, there are about 50000 weavers who work through various co Private traders like Nalli Silks and Sri Kumaran Silks in Chennai acquire silk sarees from independent weavers in Kanchipuram and make them available to other cities of India and in foreign countries.

Present Scenario of Kanchipuram Silk Industry:
Now, the Kanchipuram silk industry operates mainly in two ways-

  1. Through co-operative societies and
  2. Through private traders.

As per the present statistical data reveals that there are around 60000 silk looms in operation in Kanchipuram. The yearly turnover of the town exceeds Rs. 200 crores, with exports of approximately Rs. 3 crores.

According to experts, the exports have not risen to their full prospective, as the demand for sarees outside India is negligible. Product diversification is being considered by the industry, which would positively lead to a rise in exports. Certain units have started weaving churidar sets in modern days to attract their teen age group of customers.. Some units are considering the production of furnishing.Most of German people interested to buy these silk sarees to decorate their inside house walls and also using as the wall panels during their occasion,festival season.

Extensive research has been undertaken to make the production process technologically sound, faster and better. The use of computers in creating designs is on the rise in these days.

With increasing consumer favorites for low-priced, light-weight sarees, simple designs and light colours, many changes have been incorporated in the Kanchipuram saree. Weavers have ongoing amalgamation silk and cotton for producing the body of the saree.

Occasionally, the body of the saree is made in cotton and the border in silk. Weaving borders using a combination of silk and polyester is also undertaken by some weavers.

The gold and silver content in the zari is also being reduced due to cost effectiveness. This fetches down the cost of the saree to a great degree. These procedures have adversely affected the reputation of the Kanchipuram silk sarees and are moving their sales in a negative manner.

The Tamilnadu government, TIFAC (Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council) and Tamilnadu Zari have jointly established a testing unit for zari in Kanchipuram, which forms the satisfied of gold and silver in zari. This facility can be used by both co-operatives and individuals by paying a minimal fee.

Weavers Service Centre, which is a unit of the Ministry of textiles in Kanchipuram, provides training and consultancy services in design and modernization, to develop the weavers skill up-gradation and create many new designs of sarees to attract their customers of Domestic as well as the Foreign customers.

Factors such as piling up of stocks and decline in working capital have now led the co-operative societies to offer discounts on saree prices. The government also offers a rebate on these sarees. Furthermore, these societies also receive cash credit from the Union Government. These co-operative societies are now opening to advertise their product in an attempt to promote sales and reduce stock accumulation.

The Central Topographical Sign Registry approved the application for Geographical Indication Registration of the Kanchipuram silk saree by the government of Tamilnadu.

As per these standards, any saree sold as a Kanchipuram saree should follow certain set standards regarding weight and zari and the saree should have been created in the region. Legal action can be occupied against anyone selling a facsimile saree as a Kanchipuram saree. The Tamilnadu Government is planning to allot a special logo to Kanchipuram silk sarees to certify their legitimacy to shelter the welfares of the weavers. This industry has recently been passing through a crisis on interpretation of the availability of fake Kanchi silk sarees.

The government has undertaken a movement to abolish child labour from the Kanchipuram silk industry. Under this movement, committees have been formed to scrutinize saree-producing units. Some loom owners have been charged with making use of child labour in their loom area. To discourage the use of child labour, the government has developed gear that performs the job of a helper.

The Kanchipuram silk industry has accomplished to survive many highs and lows and has made its presence touched internationally. Nevertheless, the biggest challenges challenged by it today are undertaking amendments to suit changing customer preferences, use of modern technology and product diversification.

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