Chanderi sarees are fine, luxurious looking saris from Madhya Pradesh, India. They are named after the town in which they are traditionally produced. This is a weaving town (i.e., one where weaving is the primary occupation of a large segment of the population) which has produced beautiful and distinctive woven textiles for many years. Though the Chanderi fabric is used to create many different clothes, the Chanderi sari in particular is an extremely popular product which is highly in demand across India and the world. It is known for its fine and light weight feel and delicate look.
In traditional Chanderi sarees, there are two main distinguishing characteristics. The material will always be sheer and translucent in its look, while the designs and motifs displayed always show a strong influence of Chanderi temple art. Commonly seen motifs or buttis include peacocks, lotuses, coins, celestial figures, geometric patterns, artistic intertwining lines and figures of animals.
There are three main types of Chanderi sarees in India: silk, cotton silk and cotton. Traditionally, both cotton and silk were combined using a complicated and intricate weaving process to produce a light, beautiful fabric that combined the best of both the raw materials. This type of fabric is style popular to this day. Pure Chanderi silk sarees are also known for their gorgeous sheen and luxurious beauty while saris made of Chanderi cotton fabric are loved for their comfortable, airy feel and gauzy look. The purest Chanderi silk and Chanderi cotton is always hand spun using the traditional warps and wefts which give them the unique look for which they are famous. Whatever the raw material used, the intricate weaving process ensures the fabric has a very fine and shimmering look. This shimmering effect is achieved by using gold threads in the weaving process. They also come with zari (metallic thread) borders and subtly shining designs of various Indian motifs. The thread used may be gold, silver or copper, though gold thread is the most popular option amongst the weavers.
Of all the different varieties, Chanderi pattu sarees are the most popular and highly coveted ones in the market. The Chanderi silk fabric beautifully highlights the delicate and exquisite woven designs made with gold thread. This type of woven silk also has a lovely drape and fall which creates a very elegant look for the sari. Silk is also the most commonly used material in designer Chanderi sarees. Unlike the traditional sarees from Madhya Pradesh these are created by high fashion designers who adapt the unique Chanderi weave and design into more innovative, modern patterns. These have a very exclusive, artistic look and may come with more unconventional patterns made with beads, crystals or sequins work. The color scheme of these saris also tends to be bold and unconventional. A black chanderi saree would be extremely uncommon in a traditional collection as the traditional weavers prefer lighter hues such as white, beige, tan or gold over more dramatic, edgy shades such as black or red. However, designers love experimenting with colors and designs and hence those who want bolder colors in their Chanderi sarees should opt for the designer variations.
These gorgeous handloom sarees can also come with heavier, more shining embellishments such as zari or zardosi, inspired by the techniques used in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh (in Banarasi sarees). These fancy Chanderi sarees have a very glamorous look and are often worn for parties and weddings. However, most women prefer light and delicately embroidered or woven Chanderi sarees which offer the perfect combination of comfort, elegance and beauty.
Styling Chanderi Sarees
Chanderi sarees were, at one point, the favored garments of royalty and noble women, because of their tremendous elegance and chic yet understated beauty. Today the situation is not very different as Chanderi sarees are popular are continue to be popular with modern royalty: Bollywood actresses and society ladies. Chanderi sarees have made frequent red carpet appearances, both in their traditional and designer avatar, and continue to be highly in demand for special occasions not just in Madhya Pradesh but across India and the world.
It is important when wearing a Chanderi sari to get the styling just right. This allows the beauty of this fine, delicate garment to be properly highlighted. Women should avoid heavy, overwhelming jewelry and stick to intricate but elegant pieces such as a filigree gold necklace set or a pearl jewelry set. The lustrous and shimmering beauty of Chanderi silk sarees is best matched with gold necklaces, bangles and earrings, while the cotton sarees (which can also be worn for every day wear) can be matched up with silver jewelry and Meenakari necklaces. In terms of footwear, women should opt for sandals with at least a little bit of heel to them. This is because heel sandals enhance the drape and fall of this light weight sari and really add to the glamour quotient of the outfit.