History Of Chikankari

Chikankari is said to be one of the most ancient and traditional art of embroidery, which find it’s roots in the City of Nawabs.

Chikankari is a very delicate and intricate shadow work type of embroidery. This art is believed to be introduced by the Mughals. The simple and precise handwork on the garment, gives it a very subtle, classy feel that modern embroidery techniques lack.

Chikankari is said to be one of the most favorable choice for summers.

Origin of Chikankari

Our studies find references to Lucknawi Chikankari work as early as the 3rd century BC. Megasthenes, a Greek traveler, has mentioned the use of flowered muslins by Indians. There are different versions as to the origin of Chikankari embroidery work in India.

It is said that a traveler, who was passing through a village in Lucknow, stopped and requested a poor peasant for water. Delighted at the hospitality of the peasant, the traveler taught him the art of Chikankari, which would ensure that he would never remain hungry in life. Lucknow city is the most renowned place for Chikankari work.

 However, the most popular, and factually checkable story is that Noor Jahan, the wife of Mughal emperor Jehangir, introduced the Persian art in India in the 17th century. She herself was said to be a talented embroideress, and had a particular fondness for this alluring art. Her husband is said to have loved chikan work too and has established several workshops to perfect this art form in India.

Noor Jahan

Started as a white-on-white embroidery form, back in the day, the favoured fabric was muslin or mulmul as it was best suited to the warm, slightly humid climate. After the downfall of the Mughal Empire, chikankari artisans spread all over India, but Lucknow remained the main center.

Today, the 400-plus-year-old art form remains a global sensation.