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Derived from an ancient world “Kalam”, meaning pen, and “kari” meaning craftsmanship, kalamkari sarees depict the craftsmanship done with a tamarind pen. These layers are done one over the other and involve around twenty-three steps of dyeing. You can buy our elegant Kalamkari sarees here and show off your tradition with poise.
With a culture loaded with stories orally recited for large audiences, over time, this art was taken to canvas and took form as the kalamkari. Historians also say that these were found in the Mohenjo Daro, a famous archaeological site.
The sarees got recognition with the Mughals who promoted it in the Golconda and Coromandel provinces. This garnered more artisans employing in style and, hence, the style evolved. Under the Golconda rule, it flourished in Machilipatnam in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh and further was promoted during the 18th century where it took the form of clothing.
Families in Andhra still practice this art form and is now a popular saree style in the entire country. Due to its unique depictions of the ethics, it also adds a cultural and ethnic touch to the clothing almost like one is wearing her culture with the pride of being an Indian and upholding the culture.
The art is also time-consuming and requires a meticulous procedure involving twenty-three steps from bleaching the fabric, softening it to the drying and washing.
Types of kalamkari Sarees
There are two known styles of kalamkari being Srikalahaati style and Machilipatinam style. In the former, a painting of the Hindu mythology with scenes of epics and folklore are depicted. The latter, however, employs the use of hand-carved traditional blocks that have intricate detailing.
The tradition in Andhra borrows inspiration from temples, art, statues and murals in forts and palaces. Even motifs of animals and birds are valued the same way. However, Kalamkari in Gujarat sticks to the traditional style of using mythological characters and important characters from folktales as well. These variations keep the style lively and artistic, evolving with the times.
As Kalamkari involves printing with a tamarind pen from the very beginning, it came as a surprise that it had begun to lose its shine. However, due to the industrial revolution and increasing improvements in machinery and advancements in the printing arena, the style has a new face and is as popular as it has always been.
Check our beautiful vibrant collections of the various printed sarees and embroidered sarees and wear your tradition as you go.