The Classic Kanjivarams

Weaving is one of the oldest art forms in India. Just like how we have different types of painting such as oil, nib, glass, there are different types of weaving styles in India. The weaving style is usually named after the place of origin. One of the oldest styles of weaving originates from a small town in South India and the style of weaving is called ‘Kanchi weaving’ and the saris woven are called ‘Kanjivarams’. Saris were the canvas on which art was expressed. It could either be a motif/pattern, the play of colors in the sari, different types of border etc. When you buy a ‘Kanjivaram’ you are buying ‘Art in a Sari’. Here, we have explained some of these unique concepts for Kanjivaram sarees.


Vanasingaram is the most popular type of Kanjivaram silk saree. This is the name given to a classic body pattern which consists of mythical creatures such as the yali, horses, and peacocks along with floral elements. Each of these motifs/patterns have a deeper significance and a story, which adds to the beauty of the sari. It is typical to find this pattern in bridal sarees. The body pattern is usually matched with borders filled with intricate zari work.

Half and half silk sarees

These sarees have 2 distinct body colours split exactly in the middle. It has to be dyed and woven with great care. Such saris usually do not have borders.The two halves are either left plain for an elegant effect or embellished with silver or gold motives for a slightly more grand effect. This is also one of the most preferred types of Kanjivarams

Vintage contrast sarees

The border is one colour and the body another! One of the oldest style of weaving, this contrast is called ‘korvai’ and it takes two weavers to create a sari. The contrast colour combinations make these saris look stunning. While some ‘korvais’ (contrasts) are woven without any zari, some have intricate design/pattern on them.

Checked Kanjivaram silk sarees

‘Checks’ are common in Kanjiavarams.They can be multi-coloured or tone to tone. A classic variant of this is where the checks are woven using gold or silver zari. Sometimes, zari motives in the shape of a peacock, elephant or chakra are woven inside the checks to give a grand look to the saree.

Temple border silk sarees

Saris with temple border look stunning. This is a classic concept that has been around for many decades. The saree usually has a plain body while the borders are woven with temple motives in either gold or silver zari. The labour involved is quite intensive since the borders on both sides are completely woven by hand.

Thread woven Jacquard Kanjivaram silk sarees

‘The thread woven Jacquard Kanjivaram’saree is an evolving concept. This is a much more recent concept in Kanjivaram but popular nonetheless. The body is given a grand pattern woven in silk threads while the borders are given a solid gold or silver zari fill. There are plenty of concepts and patterns unique to Kanjivaram silks. We have listed some of our favourite ones which are popular. You can find the concepts listed above in the “pure zari Kanjivaram” section on our online store Pure Zari Kanjivarams