The main feature of Kanjeevaram sarees is the high durability of the yarns. There are 60 holes in 1.2 inches of the warp frame. Around 240 threads are present in the warp, while 250 to 300 threads are used in the weft, lending a high degree of strength to the structure. The silk used is of the finest quality, usually brought in from Bangalore, Dharmavaram, Hosur and Coimbatore.
Weft insertion for weaving of Kanjeevaram sarees
Zari thread used is either gold, or silver coated with gold. The silk is initially rolled with silver, and then dipped in gold. This gold is brought in from Surat. A very limited number of communities are equipped for the art of producing authentic zari, making it even more exquisite.
Zari for weaving Kanjeevaram sarees
The process starts with the twisting of silk yarns to make them sturdy. These yarns are then dyed in the required colour and air dried under the sun. The dyed and dried yarn is then converted into thread. It is then loaded as the warp threads, otherwise known as pavvu.
Weaving of Kanjeevaram sarees
Three shuttles are used on the loom where Kanjeevaram sarees are woven. The principle weaver works on the right shuttle and a helper works on the left one. Together, with synchronisation, the warp and weft are interlaced and the weaves are completed.
Warping of threads for weaving
The design and colour of the borders varies hugely from the rest of the garment. The pallu of the saree, which is the hanging end of the saree, may be separately woven and then joined at a later stage. Similarly, the border of the saree might be much heavier. A zig zag line usually demarcates the meeting point of the saree and the pallu.
Loom for weaving Kanjeevaram sarees
These Kanjeevaram sarees are loaded in pavvu and one pavvu weaves three sarees in 45 days on an average. Korvai is a lesser expensive take on the Kanjeevaram sarees which involve exorbitant costs.
A finished Kanjeevaram saree
Images: The Hindu, Daily Indianroots, Wikipedia, Red Scarab Travel and Media, Flickriver, Parisera