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Get to know about Chikankari/ Chikan. Lucknow Chikankari is very famous for its quality and design.

Lucknow Chikankari

Chikankari is synonymous to Lucknow. Chikankari is to Lucknow what Coal is to Liverpool. A substantial part of the population in the old Lucknow area earns their livelihood engaging in some or other activity of related to Chikankari. Chikankari is actually a very complex and delicate form of embroidery that primarily uses muslin clothes. This kind of embroidery is only confined to the city of Lucknow. The term 'Chikankari' has originated from the Persian word Chikan that means muslin wrought with needlework. Nevertheless, this art has nothing to do with Persia. It developed in the courts of Nawabs and Masabdars. As Persian was the court language then, the art borrowed its name from that.

The Chikankari started in the courts of Awadh Nawabs and was patronized by them for many years. The Nawabs were the setter of fashion in those eras. The art remained confined to Nawabs and nobles for a long time but with the advent of British, the scenario changed. Due to the fall of Nawab system, the artisans started searching for newer avenues and then this art came to the masses.

Chikan has very light, gossamer like quality that makes it fit for the extreme climate that the considerable parts of North India face. In fact, light Chikan Sarees and white Chikan Kurtas are considered to be the best wear for women and men respectively in summers.

The design motifs in Chikankari are predominantly influenced by Mughal art. These motifs are similar to the one seen in Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Another important constituent of this art form is stitch. There are various stitches used in Chikankari. They vary according to the kind of designs and materials used. The most frequently used stitch is the satin stitch. Apart from that there are others like stem stitch and chain stitch etc.