This textile that has stolen millions of hearts around the world originates in a small town at the very heart of the country. The town of Chanderi in Ashok Nagar District of Madhya Pradesh is known for its historical importance as well as the world-famous hand woven Chanderi saris.
While ancient texts speak of Madhya Pradesh as a famous center for weaving between the 7th century and the 2nd century BC, it rose to prominence in the 11th century AD, when it became one of the most important trade routes in India. Records show that hand looms wove Chanderi saris for royalty between the 12th and the 13th centuries AD.
Chanderi was the favored fabric of Indian royal women because of its soft, light texture and transparency. Though it is hard to put a date on the birth of Chanderi saris, it is clear that the fabric has always had the patronage of the ruling class of the country because of its unique, sheer texture and intricate embroidery with golden and silver threads.
Originally, Chanderi fabric was woven with handspun cotton yarn which was as fine as 300 counts, making the fabric as famous as the Muslins of Dhaka. The butis on Chanderi fabric were woven on the handloom using needles. Different kinds of needles were used to create various motifs. Weavers then coated these motifs with gold, silver or copper dust.