Lucknow city, famous for its Chikankari—the exclusive and intricate form of hand embroidery native to the city and very close to the hearts of Lucknowites—is a shopping haven in the truest sense. Admired the world over, the art that has adorned every section of the fashion world is freely available here in all shapes and forms.The exquisite Chikankari is available at inexpensive rates making the offering all the more desirable.
Made popular all over India and abroad mostly through fashion shows and films, the sellers of the craft enjoy an undivided patronage all the year round. What originated as the court craft is now a widely practised tradition and an important commercial activity in Lucknow.
For tourists and visitors visiting the city, Chikan can be found at every nook and corner with numerous options to choose from. Be it in the dilapidated bylanes of the old city area, or the state of the art showrooms in the various swanky malls of Lucknow, Chikankari has secured a place everywhere in the market and in the hearts of the people as well. However, true Lakhnawis will vouch that nothing less than made to order chikankari work on a hand-sewn malmal kurta, is something to be talked about. Yes! That’s the degree of opulence that Lakhnawis are accustomed to in their everyday lives.
Talking of Chikankaari, you don’t really need a tourist guide to take you to places to see the art form being made. The craft is so ingrained in the city that you can easily spot the various spots where people are engaged in the various steps that lead to the final chikan adorned clothes and draperies.
While some stores can be seen selling cloth suitable for Chikankaari, others engage in “chapaayi” or imprinting the cloth with the motifs to be embroidered. Still others engage in employing ladies who actually do the embroidery, while washing and ironing involves another set of workers who have expertise in their work.
Walking through the different market places of the city, you can spot various exclusive Chikankaari shops as well as other showrooms that sell assorted craft forms. Right from Alambagh and Krishna Nagar, through Janpath in Hazratganj, Nazirabaad in Aminabaad, to Bhootnath in Indira Nagar and Patrakarpuram in Gomti Nagar, you can grab hold of various outlets specializing in the art.
Chowk, one of the most renowned areas of old Lucknow and replete with the true Lucknawi culture,enjoys a clear monopoly when it comes to the supply of Chikankari items. From small shops to lavish showrooms to retailers and wholesalers, you can find a huge variety of Chikankari on virtually everything. Right from bedsheets to table covers to Gharara and Sharara, you name it and you have the beautiful art form embroidered on the cloth. Lucknow Chikan Emporium, Chhangamal, Sararwati, and Paridhaan are a few places where you can get some very beautiful Chikankari stuff.
At Sewa Chikan outlets that can be found in Aminabad, Hazratganj and Indira Nagar, you can also find Chikankaari blended with other hand works such as croashia and kaamdaani etc. The stuff can also be seen at other outlets such as Nazrana and Ada in Hazratganj and PC Chikan at Chowk. Janpath in Hazratganj and Sarrafa Bazar in Chowk, are two such places in Lucknow where you can find hoards of shops selling Chikankaari on everything one can think of, ranging from kurtas to tops, shalwars, chudidaars to full suits, bed sheets, bed spreads, pillow covers, Diwan sets, table mats, table covers, curtains, cushion covers men’s kurtas, name it and you have it here.
The lovely living craft, Chikan, has seen vicissitudes but remains rooted in the city of its origin, Lucknow. The art has witnessed various transformations over time, with designers having Chikankari and its designs transformed so much that this typically summer art form has become winter couture as well.In spite of the transformation, the elegant Chikan still rules the roost, with the transformed version appealing the masses all the more. So if you happen to visit the culturally rich city of Nawabs, do adorn yourself with the beautiful and artistic art form, Lucknawi Chikankari.
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