Chikankari is a well-known and loved form of embroidery across India Chikankari isn't only beautiful to look at but also light-weight and comfortable to wear. The origin of Chikankari dates back to more than 15 centuries. All of us adorn wearing Chikan dresses and suit-sets, but how many of us know this magical crafts origin. Here are some interesting facts about Chikankari that you were probably unaware of.

1) Origination of the Word 'Chikankari'

Image:  Chikankari and Mulmul (Unstitched 3 piece set)

The word 'Chikan' is assumed to have originated from a Persian word 'Chikeen' which translates to 'creating a delicate pattern.' Some also claim that Chikankari is derived from the word 'Chikan' which translates to 'fine' in a regional language from East Bengal. The first-ever recognized reference to chikankari was by Meghasthenes, a Greek explorer around the 4th Century who described Chikankari as 'floral work'. 

2) Ever wondered how Chikankari made it to India?

Image credit: The Economist

There are different versions of how Chikankari became a part of our rich culture and heritage. However, to date, the most popular belief is that Nur Jahan had a major role to play in the existence of this craft in our country. Nur Jahan was Emperor Jehangir's Persian wife. It is believed that several Persian Chikankari artisans traveled from Persia to India for a better life. Nur Jahan largely contributed to promote and support this extraordinary craft in India brought in by the Persians, and since then this craft continues to thrive.

3) Ever heard about a famous Folk-fare around Chikankari? We'll tell you one. 

According to a folk fare, a thirsty traveler was crossing a small village somewhere in North-India. To quench his thirst he stopped in front of a house that belonged to a  peasant. The traveler seemed mighty impressed with the peasant after he happened to offer him water and food. To reward the peasant's hospitality, the traveler taught him the craft of Chikankari.

4) Making of Chikankari

Image: Chikankari and Hand-block (unstitched 3 piece suit set)

Chikankari displays a range of floral and paisley embroidery on fabrics. However, creepers continue to be the most commonly used design in this craft. Chikankari was referred to as a white-on-white craft as it earlier involved an embroidery with a white thread on white cotton or muslin fabric. Today we can spot Chikankari on Chiffons and Georgettes. The making of Chikankari is an arduous process. It involves several steps from cutting the fabric, engraving block of woods, using blocks to imprint the desired designs, washing it, and drying it after the embroidery process. Centuries ago, Chikankari meant a way of decorating pieces of clothing, but today we can say it exists all around us from cushion covers, bed covers to table linen.

5) In popular Culture

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It is quite common to spot Bollywood celebrities in Chikankari dresses and suit-sets. However, Chikankari isn't only limited to India, Hollywood celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Judi Dench were also seen wearing Chikan while they appeared for their respective interviews and red carpet appearances. 

Essence and Ethos's take on Chikankari

We love Chikankari as much as you do. We have incorporated Chikankari in most of our collections in form of long dresses, kurti's,  tops, tunics, co-ordinated sets, and even unstitched suit sets. We have encapsulated the craft of Chikankari from casual wear to festive wear. No matter what the occasion is we have a Chikankari outfit to match your every need. We love how Chikankari is a versatile fabric and be used in several different ways in our designs. Check out some of our designs from our collections featuring this beautiful craft.

Left image: Sequin Chikankari Kurta with Palazzo - Suit set 

Right image: Sequin Chikankari Peplum Kurta and Palazzo - Suit set


4 images below clockwise

Lucknowi and Gota-patti Kurta and Pant - Suit set

Sequin Chikankari Kurta with Pant - Suit set

Sequin Chikankari Jacket, Top, and Pant - 3 piece set

Sequin Chikankari Short Kurta with Palazzo - Suit set 

Left image: Sequin Chikankari Kurta with Pant - Suit set

Right image: Sequin Chikankari Short Kurta and Sharara - Suit set

4 images below clockwise:

Signature Noor Lucknowi Dress with Belt - Blue

Signature Noor Lucknowi Dress with Belt - Green

Signature Lucknowi Noor Dress with Dupatta Suit set - Pink

Signature Lucknowi Noor Dress with Dupatta Suit set - Orange

  • Oct 12, 2020
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