A prominent characteristic of Kanjeevaram sarees is the use of bold colours and a high degree of contrast. The use of decorative zari woven into the silk is also prevalent for a spectacle of opulence and grandeur.
Kanjeevaram with zari border
The most common motifs used on the Kanjeevaram sarees are those of peacocks and parrots. Apart from these, the use of several tribal motifs and patterns lends a distinctive style to the sarees. Pallava temples, palaces and paintings have long served as a source of inspiration for these magnificent pieces of art. Scenes depicting important events of epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana have also been incorporated in these sarees on countless occasions.
L: Floral and paisley motifs
R: Bridal trousseau Kanjeevaram saree
With the changing times, the design focus has shifted from traditional to more contemporary patterns. The appeal of the saree, however, remains that of the old world. These sarees can even be plain, devoid of any patterns or motifs, deriving an elegant look from the use of fine quality silk.
A horse and leaf motif
Suns, moons, chariots, peacocks, swans, lions, coins, mangoes, leaves and such other motifs are also integrated into Kanjeevaram sarees through the process of weaving. A jasmine bud within a simple frame, also known as mallinaggu, is another prized motif of the Kanjeevaram sarees.
Bird motif with heavy border
Small buti prints made out of gold are also used to lend extravagance to the attire. Gold squares and checks are also used, especially on the pallu of the saree and its borders. Parallel lines running across the body of the saree are referred to as Thandavalam by the locals of the region. The use of gold-dipped silver zari is another element that makes these sarees a prized possession for several generations.
Kanjeevaram in contrasting colours
The process of hand weaving makes each of these sarees one of a kind.
A bird buti motif
Images: Gopixpic, Indian Wedding Blog, Daily Indianroots, Alayam Inspiration, Parisera, Devids