Close to four centuries ago, under the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire, the art of weaving kanjeevaram sarees rose to popularity. The then famous weaving communities called Saligars and Devangas settled in the district of Kanchipuram and began weaving this wondrous weave.
According to Hindi folklore, the Kanchi silk weavers were actually descendants of Sage Markanda, the master weaver of Gods who is supposed to have woven tissue from lotus fiber. With their lustre, exquisite craftsmanship, and rich texture, they are now possibly the most popular sarees in the country.
A genuine kanjeevaram saree is made of pure mulberry silk, delicately woven with silver and gold zari threads. While the silk belongs to South India, the pure gold and silver zari comes from Gujarat. The silk threads are dipped in rice water and sun-dried before they are used, in order to increase both, its thickness and stiffness.
They are usually distinguished by their wide contrast borders, and traditionally designed motifs such as peacocks, birds, animals, and more. On the pallu there are often paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana in gold zari.
Today, Kanjeevaram sarees are passed on lovingly from mothers to daughters. They're more than just sarees. They're heirlooms.