The Kanchipuram pattu saree
Published On : November 26 2020 | Author : Shri.Vyshnavi Annush
The Kanchipuram pattu saree has always had a special meaning in my life. My first memory of a pattu saree is of my grandmother wearing it through the day and also changing into a simple washed version of it for the night. It makes me nostalgic whenever I wear a Kanchipuram pattu.
The Kanchipuram pattu is a staple in every South Indian woman’s collection regardless of where she lives in the world. It’s very likely that she would have worn one as a bride.
If you believe in legend, it says that the first weavers of the Kanchi pattu are descendants of Markandeya Muni, the master weaver for the Gods. He wove tissue from lotus fibre. I for one believe this legend. You would too if you witnessed the magic that today’s weavers create with their handlooms.
The weaving of a pattu saree is an arduous process. Pure mulberry silk is used to weave the sarees. For a pure zari saree, today silver is used. A few decades back pure gold was used to weave the zari into the saree. The body, the border and the pallu are all woven separately and then attached together.
The design of these Kanchipuram pattu sarees are clearly inspired by the city that they are woven in and of course by nature. It’s a city that is dominated by temple scapes in every corner. The minute you drive into Kanchipuram you’re rewarded with myriad temple gopurams, each of them so unique and grand.
Photo: house of ayana
The temple borders and the paalum pazhamum designs in the pattu saree celebrate the symmetry of life. You’ll find beautiful pallus depicting the scenes from the Ramayanam and the Mahabharatam, the two epics that are woven into the fabric of our culture.
Photo: house of ayana
Every South Indian bride wears an exquisite Kanchipuram pattu saree for her wedding. The prices of these sarees vary depending on your budget. A bridal pure zari handwoven Kanchipuram pattu saree would cost you about one lakh rupees. It’s a special investment that you make once in your lifetime and it’s a heirloom that you can gift your daughters and granddaughters. I’m sure they’ll cherish it forever just like I do my grandmother’s pattu sarees. I still reserve them only for special occasions like weddings and poojas.
I personally prefer to pick my Kanchipuram sarees from Tharakaram and Mahaveers in our very own Coimbatore. My wedding sarees were from these stores. It was very sentimental for me to shop in these stores because my grandmother used to shop from them. Rangachari is another quaint old store in Ramnagar that has a lovely collection of light weight Kanchipuram pattus. A few other out of town stores that have a fabulous collection of Kanchipuram pattu sarees are of course Prakash collections and AS Babu Shah. Both are in Gandhi road in Kanchipuram if my memory serves right. During these pandemic times it’s difficult to travel to shop for our family weddings. But sundari silks, angadi and kankatala are all online and they are all authentic stores to shop from. However an important thing to keep in mind while shopping for Kanchipuram pattu sarees is the authenticity. A quick and sure way to do this is to look for the silkmark that is provided for pure Kanchipuram silk sarees.
There are a few ways of wearing a Kanchipuram pattu. You don’t always only wear a heavy pattu saree. You can mix it up by wearing a simple and yet traditional kanchi pattu saree with a very modern heavily embroidered blouse. Another way for young girls to wear the kanchi pattu is to wear a dupatta with your salwar for a festival. A bride could also wear a lehenga with a heavy kanchi pattu dupatta for her mehndi. The important thing is to own a few kanchi pattu sarees or dupattas that are versatile allowing you to repeat them as often as you want by mixing and matching. I feel that if we try to buy more of the handwoven pattus they’ll be an investment in our wardrobes and also greatly help the weaving community. The pandemic has been especially brutal on the weavers and artisans of our country. We owe the weavers the dignity that they deserve for the beauty that they create everyday inspite of all the hardships that they endure.