Chikankari is a delicate and artfully done
hand embroidery on a variety of textile fabric like muslin, silk, chiffon,
organza, net etc. Though it originated as a court craft, today it is a
practiced tradition and an important commercial activity. White thread is
embroidered on cool, pastel shades of light muslin and cotton garments.
Lucknow is the heart of the Chikankari industry today (Lucknawi chikan).
The design is decided upon on the chosen
fabric. The stitches are decided according to the design to be used in the
The pattern is then engraved on a wooden
block or at times sketching it manually.
Once the block is ready then the printing is done on
the fabric. Printing is carried out by the use of wooden blocks dipped in
dyes like neel and safeda to make a pattern.
The printed fabric then reaches the craftsmen who get
to work with the cloth stretched by a wooden frame or Karchop. They do the
enriching embroidery using a variety of stitches.
Washing & finishing
After the embroidery, the fabric reaches the laundry
and is thoroughly washed and given the finishing touches. This includes
bleaching, acid treatment, stiffening or starching and ironing.
The art of chikankari, today is flourishing and enriches both the domestic
and export market.