Madhya Pradesh, as a centre for weaving, finds a mention in texts dating as far back as the 7th
and 12th century. This legacy of the loom continues.
In 1350, Koshti weavers from Jhansi migrated to Chanderi and settled down here. However, it
was during the Mughal period, the cloth business of Chanderi reached its peak. It is recorded
that the cloth woven in Chanderi was even sent to Mughal Emperor Akbar. Many royal families
including those of Gwalior, Indore, Kolhapur, Baroda and Nagpur wore clothes woven in
Chanderi during important ceremonies like childbirth and marriage. Chanderi produced a range
of saris that matched the tastes of its clients, the royalty and nobility of Gwalior, Baroda, Nagpur
and beyond.
The weavers who are presently involved in this business are either descendants of the legacy or
are completely new to this school of weaving. Among the new generation is Dilsaad Shah, who is
20 years old and is the first one from the family to join the Chanderi weavers’ workforce.
However, weavers like Jitendra Kohli and others have been weaving for generations.
Weaving Chanderi saris is tedious. Jagdish Pal has been doing the weaving for the last 10 years
tenaciously. Sharing his experience, he says ‘Some pieces take 3-4 days to complete, but some
with heavy work take around 15-16 days.’

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The tradition of Chanderi sari goes back to the 13th century
Vaibhav Bharadwaj
The intricate weaving of a Chanderi sari needs mathematical precision
Vaibhav Bharadwaj
Shishupal Aharwar’s family has been weaving Chanderi saris for the last 65 years.
Vaibhav Bharadwaj
Twenty-two-year-old Jitendra Kohli’s father and grandfather were also weavers like him
Vaibhav Bharadwaj
Jagdish Pal usually works on saris which take 15-16 days to finish due to heavy work.
Vaibhav Bharadwaj
Thirty-two-year-old Mohammad Shamim comes from a family of weavers
Vaibhav Bharadwaj
A weaver weaving Chanderi sari on a loom
Vaibhav Bharadwaj
Dilsaad Shah is the first one from his family to join the Chanderi weavers’ workforce
Vaibhav Bharadwaj
Gossamer-like Chanderi sari is a work of art
Often referred to as ‘woven air’ owing to the lightness and finesse of the fabric
Chanderi sari owes its quality to the superior and extra fine yarns that are used in weaving the fabric
The charm of Chanderi fabric lies in its softness along with transparency and rich glossy texture