Welcome to Naurah Chikan, the brand that celebrates the beauty of Lucknow Chikankari! Let’s dive into the fascinating world of this exquisite art form.
Lucknow Chikankari has a mysterious and legendary origin. The word ‘chikan’ is believed to have come from the Persian word ‘chikin’ or ‘chikeen,’ which refers to intricately embroidered fabric. Chikankari, more precisely, means white floral embroidery that was brought to India from Persia by Mehrunnissa. This ancient embroidery technique involves delicate work with threads and needles, enchanting both the royals and the majestic.
One popular story traces the roots of Chikankari back to the Mughal court of Jahangir, where his talented queen, Nur Jahan, impressed everyone with her skillful embroidery. This ethereal white embroidery gained recognition and royal patronage. Another tale takes us even further back to the 3rd century BC when Megasthenes, a Greek traveler, mentioned the use of flowered muslins by Indians. The art of embroidery can also be seen in the famous paintings of Bagh and Ajanta Caves.
The finest fabrics used for Chikankari were mulmuls or muslins, which were adorned with raw thread in a white-on-white embroidery style. This subtle technique created intricate stitches that stood out as beautiful contrasts, shadows, and traceries. The beauty of Chikankari is exemplified in Mughal miniatures that depict Emperor Jahangir wearing white embroidered Muslin garments. In a unique variation of this art called ‘anokhi chikan,’ the stitches are not visible on the backside.
Now, let’s talk about Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh and the heartland of Chikankari embroidery. While Chikankari work is practiced in various places, the traditional Lucknow Chikankari stands out with its exquisite use of floral motifs and creeper designs throughout the garments.
Lucknow Chikankari, also known as Lucknowi Chikan or Chikan Embroidery, has been thriving for over 200 years. It is the epicenter of producing aesthetic Chikan work. With the decline of the Mughal court, many artisans and the industry faced challenges, but later, the Nawabs patronized this art form. Most garments are first stitched and then embroidered, while items like suit materials, skirts, saris, and table linen are embroidered before finishing. The Chikankari embroidery industry involves more than 5000 families residing in and around the villages of Lucknow, with artisans mostly belonging to the local Muslim community. While around 90% of Chikankari work is done by women, men also contribute their skills to this craft.
Lucknow Chikankari is a unique form of hand embroidery that cannot be imitated. It involves a wide range of stitching styles, making it stand out from other embroidery techniques.
In the present scenario, Chikankari work extends beyond cotton fabrics and white threads. You can find it on materials like cotton, georgette, semi-georgette, net, and chiffon, with exceptional artisans in Lucknow creating beautiful pieces. The finished fabric with Chikankari work is a visual delight, but it requires a significant amount of labor and hard work to produce such masterpieces. At Naurah Chikan, you can explore our collection of Chikankari products on our website.
Over time, Chikankari has evolved with fashion trends. Today, you can find it on silk, viscose, organza, chanderi, kota, pure chiffon, muslin, and more. Artisans use silk and resham threads, in addition to the regular white cotton thread, to enhance the richness of the embroidery. They incorporate various embellishments like stones, aari, zari, pearls, gotapatti, mukeish, beads, mirrors, and more. The craft originally utilized around 75 to 100 stitches to create breathtaking floral “jaals” and “bail” designs. We invite you to explore our range of Chiffon and Cotton Kurtis.
Lucknowi Chikankari is not limited to women’s fabrics alone; it has also earned a place in men’s Kurtas, particularly in wedding attire. The uniqueness of Lucknowi Chikankari fabric catches everyone’s attention in the market. While there are various fabric options available, don’t overlook the traditional beauty of Chikankari on cotton. Cotton is not only cool and elegant but also enhances the richness of this embroidered art form.
At Naurah Chikan, we celebrate the tradition and craftsmanship of Lucknow Chikankari. Explore our collection and experience the timeless beauty of this exquisite art form.