Tamil Nadu is known for its rich cultural heritage and the exquisite arts and crafts which are world renowned and truly unique. The most famous thing to shop for in Tamil Nadu would be a rich Kanjeevaram Saree.
The sari gets its name from small temple town in Tamil Nadu known as Kanchipuram, where the art originated. These sarees are known for their design and workmanship. Back in the time, silk was a priced possession and often adorned by the royalty. The Kanjeevaram saree is the bridal outfit of the region. These sarees are of premium quality and are crafted using the finest silk and hence can be passed down several generations. The silk from the region is thicker that most other silks and therefore more expensive; the heavier the silk, the better the quality.
Weaving silk, is the most popular family business in Kanchipuram. Almost every family in this town possesses a handloom used to spin threads of silk. A weaver takes about 10-12 days to weave a simple Kanjeevaram saree where as a fancier one could take up to 20 days. The threads used for the zari border are dipped in real gold and then woven. These lovely sarees are available in contrasting colours with bold borders and must be a part of every bride’s trousseau.
Another type of saree which originated from this region is a Konrad saree. This saree is also known as the Temple Saree as these were originally woven for the deities in the temple. These sarees have wide borders and are characterized by motifs such as elephants and peacocks and are available in muted tones of browns and grays. This craft is dying as it is not popular and may soon become extinct.
Temple jewellery is also unique to this region. Inspired by the jewellery adorned by Hindu gods, goddesses and royalty, these have become quite popular. The designs have motifs drawn from the various designs of the temples of the region.
This is worn on all auspicious occasions and is crafted using pure gold, studded with emerald, rubies and uncut diamonds. The stones used are called Kemp stones and the designs are very typical. The most famous earring style of the region is the jhumkis. These are very popular and are always worn by South Indian brides.
Tanjore paintings are an important form of classical South Indian paintings which originated in the small town of Tanjore. The art form dates back to about 1600 AD and essentially involves paintings of Hindu gods using precious stones and real gold sheets. This is a very unique and time consuming craft, but truly amazing. This would make a great gift idea at your wedding or even use on a wedding invite? Make sure you pick at least one of these for your new home.
The Coimbatore Nagamu sarees are known for their opulence and affordable prices. The floral designs feature the most wonderful weaves on crisp cotton fabrics. Madhurai is another region, known for its readymade silk and cotton garments. It is known as the textile hub of South India.
Some of the other things you may find in this region are the fiber craft baskets woven out of the local Palmyra leaves, the exquisite stone sculptures from Mahabalipuram and the Pattamara floor mats which you will find in every house of the region!
Image Credits : Image 1 : weekendramblings.com / Image 2 : kanjivaram.org / Image 3 : jewelsinindia.com / Image 4 : surat.olx.in / Image 5 : sarishop.com / Image 6 : swiss-cooperation.admin.ch