Weavers of Kanchipuram

80% of the population of Kanchipuram depend on one ancient skill for their daily bread. It is hand weaving. They weave silk yarns in to beautiful sarees. Engage a power loom to do the same job and you can easily displace 1000 weavers and snatch their daily bread.

I saw many outlets there in Kanchipuram, most of the houses had a loom in their backyard. The weavers belong to different societies. Raw silk is obtained by the societies from the silkworm farms of Karnataka, they are then dyed and provided to the weavers. It takes almost 35 to 40 days to weave a single saree depending on the complexity of the design. If the same pattern, design is repeated, then the following sarees take just around 10 days. The completed sarees are given to the society back, which makes the sales.

The cost of the sarees depend on the size and complexity of the designs, and the zari used. Zaris are gold and silver threads which are sourced from Gujarat. The shelf life of these sarees are around 15 years, but these zaris can be melted and reused in a new one.

Walk in to any of the outlets of the societies there, you will find them willing to guide you to the looms where weaving is on.

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Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

33 Responses to “Weavers of Kanchipuram

  • Its beautiful handcraft (weaving):)
    Craftsmanship !!!
    When I see a woman wearing a saree I always think it will be camouflaged all unevenness !!
    (I hope you know what I mean 😉
    We wear clothes that shows everything exactly……

  • I found myself reaching out, wanting to put my fingers on this… the color is so vibrant, so vivid- it just begs to be touched.

  • Fantastic! I, too, felt myself wanting to touch it! Such vibrant color! Your photos are magnificent as always and your post is fascinating as always! So glad you share your beautiful world with us, Indrani! Have a lovely week!


  • I'm always amazed at woven silk like this — regardless of the method. the threads are so fine I don't know how anyone could do it by hand. But I suppose after you've done it all your life, it's second nature.

    They sure do make a beautiful product!

  • Sarees! Wow, it has been ages since I have worn one. My college classmate loaned me one outfit for one festival. The material is so soft and lots of shimmer.

    I might get one for myself here.

    Such fine craftsmanship!

  • Hello Indrani,
    I can imagine standing and watching the silken thread being woven into a beautiful sari. You explain the process well – very interesting.

  • Oh wow, what a special opportunity. I love seeing people wear saris. I've got a handful in the closet but don't have any chance to wear them out here.

  • What a wonderful look at the weaving. Beautiful fabrics they make.

  • It's truly amazing to see how evenly the woven work is! What skill!

  • Those colors are gorgeous, and the work is so very fine. Wow.

  • aloha,

    what a wonderful day today is visiting your corner of the world and seeing this beautiful technique, i'm surprised to see this still done by hand?….thanks for showing this to us!

  • Nice. Do we even consider the work and time that goes into the making of the sarees? Sometimes we don't even wear it the number of times it takes in days for it to be woven!

  • amazing indeed!

  • Its fascinating to watch weavers at work!

  • Beautiful post. I had been to Kanhipuram, but missed this. The Kanchi Saree are awesome.

  • Such lovely handiwork – beautiful rich colours!

  • Amazing that this is still done by hand – better quality than a power weaver, I bet, but more expensive.

    Wonderful photos, especially the close-ups.

  • such a lovely weave and such a soothing colour!! wish for more pictures!!

  • This is hard work but the result is wonderful.
    Wonderful photos and info.

  • Hard, skilled work by the weavers. it's hard not to admire such beautiful sarees. Better still wear them!

  • Is truly magnificent see as weave
    these wonders!!!
    Thanks for sharing and great pictures!

  • It's a wonderful kind of handicraft – hope it will last forever and never be forgotten 🙂

  • The color of the weave are so cool and bright…

    Grand Train Station World

  • Lovely pictures. I did visit Pochampally and see weaving done there. It is indeed so lovely. Such hard work resulting in beautiful designs. And we always look for discounts.

  • Somehow your pictures make me think that in a global energy crisis, India would be a lot less damaged than the rest of the world, and you would still be beautifully clothed.

  • Beautiful pictures..
    Amazing..I simply loved them

  • Beautiful colors and pictures — beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  • Very fascinating! Wonderful images, so attractive! Thanks for sharing, Indrani!

  • did you see the movie kancheepuram – about the lives of these weavers? if not, pls do – it will be an eye opener..

  • I have always found weavers to be amazing craftspeople and great artists in their own right.

  • A good photo-document 🙂

  • Nice that you went to a weaving centre..during deepavali, all the designs come from here and every big brand has its own group of weavers

  • I love your photograph with the old man weavering. He is the face of the real world.

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