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When it comes to saris, Indian women are truly spoilt for choice. Every region has its own version of the sari which is unique in its own way.  The difference may lie in the way it is worn, the craftsmanship, the material of the sari or the designs. The flavour of the south when it comes to saris is the Kanchipuram Sari. Made in the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, the kanchipuram sari is adored by the local women. And why not! According to legend, the Kanchi weavers are the descendants of sage Markanda who used to weave for the gods. That’s reason enough to have one in your wardrobe right now I guess.

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Kanchipuram saris are made from pure mulberry silk imported from the neighbouring state of Karnataka and the zari is imported from Surat which boasts of producing the highest quality zari. Zari is made by dipping the silk thread in liquid gold and silver which gives the kanchipuram sari its rich appeal. One more unique thing about these saris is that the design of the border and the body are usually quite different but are in contrast. In case, the shade of the pallu is different from the border and the body, it is woven separately and then carefully attached to the sari.

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It is worn only for special occasions as it is quite heavy and costly. A kanchipuram sari can take from a week to a couple of months to be ready depending upon the work. For every young girl dreaming of her perfect wedding in south India, the D day is incomplete without a kanchipuram sari made from the finest mulberry silk worn even by the gods.

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But as with every other major sari making town, Kanchipuram too has had to face the brunt of industrialization and the number of original kanchi weavers shifting to other occupations is increasing by the day. But art has always stood the test of time and the kanchipuram sari will make Indian women feel and look beautiful for years to come, as it has for generations.

Rishikesh Agarwal

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