A Tana Bana Of Madhya Pradesh: Chanderi Fabric

A Tana Bana Of Madhya Pradesh: Chanderi Fabric

Chanderi suits and sarees are magnificent, isn’t it! Chanderi fabric is renowned for its beauty and elegance. Yet we know so little about it! So, here is a tribute to this enthrall hand knit.


  • Origin and Antiquity
  • Weaving Procedure
  • Blooming of Fabrication
  • Notable Features
  • Colors and Motifs
  • Diversification
  • Prices and Demand
  • Care Manual

Origin and Antiquity:

This textile has a broad female fandom around the world. It is a conventional fabric that originated from the small town of Chanderi in Ashok Nagar District, Madhya Pradesh. MP has emerged as a chronicled flag bearer of Chanderi since the 7th century and 2nd century. It became prominent art during the 11th century when trade routes began in India from the arterial modes of Gujarat ports, Malwa, Mewar, Central India, and Deccan regions. Numerous scriptures have affirmed Chanderi handloom sarees royalty in the 12th and 13th Centuries.

Some Vedic period Hindu mythology states that this art was introduced by Lord Krishna’s cousin Shishupal.

As stated in Maasir-i-Alamgir Aurangzeb ordered this gold and silver embroidered cloth for khilat (a ceremonial robe or a symbol of honor). It was expensive due to its softness, transparency, and gold & silver embellishment.

As per records, Jesuit priests visited Marwar between the 1740s and 60s Chanderi fabric was regal and exported overseas.

These records and statements assert that Chanderi was owned by Maharajas and wealthy people of that era. However, Chanderi’s sarees emergence is ascertained, but we know the birth of Chanderi fabric.

Weaving Procedure:

It is a skilled art associated with generations of Chanderi artisan. These experts are irreplaceable by power loom versions. Chanderi is a shining jewel and pride of the Indian handloom industry that has an utter scope in our hearts.

Originally, Chanderi was handspun with a cotton yarn of 300 counts making fine Muslins of Dhaka cloth. These fine counts are retracted from a specific root known as Koli Kanda. This appended shine and luster to the product. Superior Chanderi is patronized by Mughals and Rajput emperors.

The fabric is woven with a tana (a warp), these stretched threads cross through bana (wefts). When processed steadily they created the finest fabrics. Till the 1920s, white cloth was woven and decked with gold and silver zari. It was handspun cotton that could not bear high tension. Hence this warp varied anywhere between 4000 to 17000 threads depending upon the design. The fabric is later embellished with zari borders, motifs, gota Patti, and silver, copper dust.

Nowadays, raw silk is trending. It is strong and lustrous. Presently Chanderi is available in bulk due to its demand. This process is modified with technology. This is how it is made:

The designs sketched on plain sheets or graph papers are known as Naksha or Talim. These designs are made by professional workers as per customer demands. Silk or cotton yarns are purchased from Bangalore, Kashmir, Madurai, and Ahmedabad.

Imported silk is acquired from Japan, China, Brazil, and Korea. Gold and silver zari were purchased from Agra and Surat. After material gatherings dyeing and sizing of yarns are done. Later it is traditionally handwoven through the Tana Bana process. Later calendaring process is finished with kundi, knocking down the woodblock for shine.

Blooming of Fabrication:

Hindu and Muslim Rulers Encouragement: The Scindia family patronized Chanderi sarees. They helped workers to stay in Chanderi and work efficiently. In 1922 His Highness Madhavrao Scindia visited and helped Chanderi craftsmen. During the 2nd world war, the prince took the charge of this art.

A Ready Market: Emperor Jehangir described the fineness of Chanderi by donning a 15 Yard 900gram Chanderi Muslin with 1-yard width. It was intricately designed that took five months for weavers to complete this artistic piece. Royal families were gratified to own such pieces, as they had class and copiousness.

No Custom Duty: There was no customs duty charged in making this fabric. It is so that this industry and art could prosper.

Easy Marketing and Free Raw Materials: They were merchandized in Gwalior. Raw materials like Koli Kanda (wild onion) used for sizing were free to procure.

Notable Features:

Chanderi is referred to as woven air because it is weightless and transparent. They are twine from fine-quality yarns. The yarn does not go through the degumming process, this is why your Chanderi saree and suit are so shiny. Motifs like peacocks, coins, lotuses, geometric patterns, and animal figures make it deserving.

Colors and Motifs:

Chanderi is famous for pastel hues. With changing the period, they are available in vibrant colors too.

Chanderi sarees are inspired by Banarasi sarees. Hence you will see motifs like Ashrafi (gold coin), Churi (bangle), Keri (mango), Bundi( dot), Phul (flower), Patti (leaves), Paan (betel leaf), Akhrot (walnut), Eent (brick), Suraj(sun), Meena, Buta and many more. A big motif is referred to as Butas.

Some exclusive Chanderi woven motifs include Nalfrema, Dandidar, Chatai, Jangla, and Mehndi wale hath. These intricate works make Chanderi expensive and regal.


Chanderi sarees are 5 1/2 meter long and 40inch to 50inch wide. Chanderi sarees are diversified into many segments depending upon work and fabric:

ASAVALI: Chanderi has been famous for many years due to its fine cotton and goldwork known as Asavalis. These sarees are embellished with gold zari pallu, borders, and sometimes the entire saree. It portrays Mughal architecture marbled jeweled inlay work.

DOUBLE CHASHMEE: This is a gone-by saree art. It has colorful borders known as Ganga Jamna. It has a cotton body with silk borders. These sarees are an impossible art.

PLAIN POT: This is a solid saree and the cheapest one. It does not include any motifs or zaris.

PATAL: It is a 54in width saree exclusively made for bridal collection for brides taking long ghunghats.

JAMDANI: It is the most costly one all over jaal. It generally starts from 4000INR.

DANIDAAR: It contains golden pillars on pallu.

GOLPATTI: It has a narrow golden board.

NAL PHORVA: It is intricately woven borders on silk fabric.

KATHAN: It is an entirely different saree made with highly twisted yarns and has fluffiness. It is a Maharashtrian woman 9-yard thing.

Prices and Demand:

An original Chanderi begins from 5000INR and above. You will get Chanderi kurtas, Chanderi suits, and dupattas in the range of 1500INR to 5000INR depend on the work.

We do not have to elaborate on how popular Chanderi fabric is. From the local market to the online platform, you will get tons of options. With increased market bids, Chanderi dresses are exported and sold in-house.

Care Manual:

  1. Use mild detergent and hand wash with cold water.
  2. Do not dry in direct sunlight. Dry sarees reverse side.
  3. Do not iron Chanderi dupattas and sarees in the fold. Iron the opposite side with low temperature.
  4. Do not spray perfume or deodorant on zardozi work.
  5. Fold them properly and hang them on hangers.

Signing Off:

Chanderi fabric is versatile and has a great fanbase around the world. Adorned Bollywood celebrities, it is the first choice of many when coming to royal look. Fashion designers appraise this art and are keen to modify Chanderi with a contemporary feel.

You should have at least one Chanderi saree and suit in your closet. Experience it yourself!


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