Lucknow's Chikankari Style of Hand Embroidery

Published On: 04-20-2013 12:33pm

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1197511974Lucknow, located at 27.95°N 80.77°E, is the capital city of modern day Uttar Pradesh. Known as the “The Constantinople of the East” earlier, the city effuses the culture of “Pehley Aap” (After You) the moment you step in it, a true City of Nawabs. With its glorious history and amazing arts, it tempts you to explore its jewels from the very first moment you hear about them We went there, to explore two its best finds – Chikankari and Kebabs.


Inspired from Persian culture, Chikankari or Chikan literally means embroidery. It rose to prominence in the Mughal period under the patronage of Noor Jehan, emperor Jehangir’s queen. Since then it has find many takers, from Madonna wearing it in the poster of ‘The Next Best Thing’  to famous Indian actress and former Miss World - Aishwarya in several public events and now, Naomi Campbell in her recent visit to India and popular Indian actress Kareena in the flick ‘Bodyguard’. Fashion changes every three months but Chikankari never ever goes out of style.

The process used in making the Chikankari tunics or kurtis available in my Artfire studio, in various designs and sizes – can be summarized in the following steps:

    The quality of the product depends on the type of stitching and the thickness of the threads used. As a thumb rule, the thinner the thread used for stitching, the better is the quality of the product.

    Though the above steps do give an illusion of the whole process being easy, the reality is far from it. One Lucknow Chikan Kurti can take upto 6 months to complete and no two pieces are 100% identical. Add to this wastage of 20-25% during this entire process and you have a very complex process to handle.

    But as they say, an elegant design Chikan Kurti is worth it!

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