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5 Kolkata Stores With Authentic Chanderi Sarees

Updated on February 8, 2016

Chanderi is near Gwalior, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, India's biggest state. Home to one of the best-known handloom clusters in India, these sarees are a beautiful blend of silk and mercerized cotton Chanderi. Chanderi fabrics, be it silk, cotton or handloom are creations of master weavers from Chanderi, who use a centuries old weaving technique to produce excellent textured fabrics of silk and cotton embellished with zari woven work. Traditionally there are three broad types of authentic Chanderi sarees are pure silk, Chanderi cotton and a mix of silk cotton. Today a fourth variety has come into play, the tissue Chanderi; its silk warp is replaced by zari giving a lustrous look ideal for wedding wear.

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The heritage of the Chanderi saree goes back to the Vedic Period when the high quality weave was produced for the refined taste of royalty. Before the British arrived in India, Chanderi was always woven as fine as 300 count handspun cotton warps and wefts, but that changed later. Once the Chanderi weavers discovered Japanese silk in the twentieth century, it was incorporated into the cotton yarn along with silk on silk. Traditional weavers still use silk as warp and cotton as weft to make this magnificent traditional saree, but they are becoming increasingly rare. Chanderi sarees are characterized by gold checks and lotus motifs all over the 9 yarn saree, known as butis. There are many other motifs as well such as the traditional coin motifs, floral and peacocks motifs, and even geometrical designer motifs. Today, authentic Chanderi varieties are very hard to find as they've been replaced by look-a likes at lower prices, but these Kolkata stores stock the highest-quality, pure Chanderi sarees.

Kanishka's

The 45-year old store on Hindustan Road, Gariahat started out to make a name for itself with Tant saris used in earth-tone weaves and hand-block saris, but now they also specialize in hand-woven and hand-printed sarees and suits in vibrant natural dyes. Besides raw silk, and Tussar, Chanderi silk is great for designing a traditional Indian sari. Nandita Raja and her husband Dilip Raja together founded the store in Kolkata; they have expanded over a hundred and fifty looms across India with three in Bengal. Kanishka has built solid relationships with Bengal's weavers since the seventies. Now their daughter Priyanka is in charge of the brand Kora, which recently launched a winter wear collection. A unique warmer weave with linen and wefts in silk will be mixed for cooler weather.

Simaaya

Simaaya is one of Kolkata's fastest growing stores, stocking the right blend of established and emerging designers. Having created a niche in the bridal wear segment in the City of Joy, Simaaya has moved forward in leaps and bounds since its inception. Founded by the brother duo ten years ago, Rachit Agarwala and Mayank Agarwala say the turning point in the business was the launch of the bridal collection, and Simaaya's USP is to provide excellent clothing at reasonable prices. Besides a spacious store in Elgin Road, two new ones in Triangular park and Kankurgachi opened in 2015 in Kolkata. A new Hyderabad store in addition to an online presence, has made Simaaya a fashion lover's paradise in Kolkata, India and worldwide.

Simaaya strikes the perfect balance between prĂȘt and couture. If you love rich embroidery and heavily embellished Indian bridal lehengas and wedding sarees, with gorgeous accessories to complete a fashionable bride's ensemble, you'll find it here. Today, Simaaya prides itself on being a luxury retail brand in wedding wear as well as stylish casual wear, especially online. If party-wear is your cup of tea, there's a whole host of fancy gowns, long dresses, and anarkalis in vibrant colors to choose from.

Coloroso

This City of Joy is home to many new saree shops and Coloroso has become popular with Kolkata's fashionistas for their hand-woven sairs. Most of the saris are elegant weaves that are made in the heart of India. From Madhya Pradesh to the heart of Banaras and Kolkata, Coloroso has cotton and silk weavers from very remote parts of India. Their collection of delightful colors and unique motifs tell a story and draw admiration from Bollywood stars like Vidya Balan and Soha Ali Khan to don their drapes in front of the world on the red carpet. Located in the Silver Arcade on the EM Bypass, the store has a collection of some of the best Chanderi sarees and Benarasi sarees in Kolkata with pretty, light-weight and vibrant silk and cotton weaves.

Sutra Handicrafts

Kolkata is home to millions of saree lovers and Vibha Mitra decided some 30 years ago that she would do something driven by passion. She loves writing and telling tales, and what better way is there to storytelling than with every saree weave from India? She calls herself a sutradhar, or storyteller; sutra means thread and dhar means to weave, and it is appropriately named Sutra Handicrafts located in Sector III, Salt Lake City. Although Mitra's first collection was about saris from Bengal like Tangail and Kota saris, muslin Jamdanis, Matkas, Tussars and Garods, her boutique, Qissaa on Lansdowne Place now stocks it all; including authentic Chanderi silk sarees and a mix of silk and mercerised cotton sarees.

Bunkaari India

Nestled in Hindusthan Park, Bunkaari ethnic-wear store is a spacious, beautiful concept store. The store's focus is on hand-woven sarees from across India, from Chanderi, Sambalpur to the Patolas. Choose from almost all types of traditional handloom sarees here, from Matka silk, Kopara silk, Chanderi, to Tussar, Ghicha and Banarasi saris. Traditional prints and hand painted silk sarees also make up a big part of their collection. Besides saris, a variety of other weaved products are on sale, such as jackets, kurtis, khadi kurtas and bed covers. In an age when the handloom woven sari is facing extinction, this charming store judiciously promotes the hard work of weavers & artisans. From hand crafted beaded necklaces, antique jewelry and bags to traditional paintings by artisans are distributed.

Chanderi sarees are known for their sheer texture and transparent yarn in both cotton and silk threads. The unique sheen and transparency of the finished fabric comes from not degumming its raw yarn. This light weight, glossy transparency makes the sheer Chanderi yarn stand out. The delicate texture of Chanderi fabric comes from the fine hand weave, as well as its subtle colors and designs, not to forget peacock and floral motifs, all of which cater to the taste of the sophisticated taste of the elite in India.

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