Chikankari: An Ethnic Indian craft


India as a country is rich in culture and heritage and one such art form which is predominantly practiced and originated in India is Chikankari. It is said to have been introduced by Noor Jahan , wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Since then, this fine artistry has won admirers all around the globe. Today this majestic art has found various expressions – from lucknowi kurtis, chikankari sarees, chikankari suits to chikankari lehangas.

Highly rich in its form, it is one of the most intricate form of art practiced mainly in the city of Lucknow and is also referred to as Lucknawi.

Chikan gets its name from the Persian word chikan which means running thread through cloth. It is said that the art form incorporated 36 different stitching techniques combined with embellishments such as Mirrors Mukesh and Pearls.

The 1986 Indian film Anjuman starring Shabana Azmi and Farook Sheik is set in Lucknow and deals with issues of chikan workers.

Chikankari has been adorned by many celebrities all over the world. Be it the fashion icon Sonam Kapoor who wore the beautiful chikankari lehanga for her mehendi function or Asha Bhonsle who was seen recently promoting the art in a fashion show with utmost grace. Recently Priyanka Chopra was seen wearing a chikankari suit for her engagement with Nick Jonas. The Bachchan family has always been seen wearing this beautiful form of art. Amitabh bachchan has an undying love for chikan and is widely seen adorning the chikankari kurtas.

Designers such as Manish Malhotra has been endorsing and promoting chikankari through the Mijwan welfare society. He has been organising fashion shows for the mijwan society and has been seen promoting the chikankari art through his clothes.

Abujani and Sandeep Khosla helped in the revival of the chikan industry almost three decades ago. They began using original lucknowi articians to make intricate embroideries in their clotting line. Chikankari has come to known as their signature.

Recently Deepika Padukone adorned a beautiful chikankari saree by Abujani and Sandeep Khosla for her wedding reception in Mumbai. She looked like a fairy goddess in those outfits.

Anushka Sharma wearing a chikankari suit for the promotions of Sui dhaga

Because of the efforts of these designers and celebrities the chikankari art has seen a huge demand in the recent says. People in India are inspired by what the celebrities wear and it has been a boost to the chikankari industry.

In a very recent show, Sonam Kapoor graced Abujanisandeepkhosla outfit in a ramp. She looked ravishing in a ultra glam anarkali and dupatta.

Despite the global appeal of this handicraft, the carriers of the Lucknawi legacy, the skillful artisans need a lot of support. To preserve the art of indigenous needlework, it is necessary to increase its visibility in the markets.


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