By Malavika Shivaprasad
A sense of wonder and awe is never amiss when a Chanderi fabric is on display. But if you happen to take one step ahead and dig into the story behind such a beautiful fabric, you will soon get caught up with the rich history, heritage, craftsmanship and the process of weaving, all intertwined to find expression in the saree. A Chanderi saree refuses to just be a piece of exquisite clothing and invites one to indulge in the interesting stories behind it.
With changing times, Chanderi is now better recognized for the popular fabric that the town has been weaving for years, while originally it was the other way around. With the rising sun that reflects its warm rays on at least half a dozen lakes distributed resourcefully across town, one of the numerous signs of prevailed prosperity, the sight of milking of cows that graze the lush hills surrounding Chanderi from which many women procure firewood on a daily basis to provide meals for their families cannot be missed. On one hand, everyday trips to the jungle have become a permanent part of the routine of house makers, and on the other hand, the farmers choose to go over people to collect chemical fertilisers from occasional distributions instead of going to the jungle where natural fertilisers are in abundance. Overlooking this irony are the various historical symbols that have taken different forms of stories among the residents over the years. Heaps of old clothes are seen on new moon nights with people shaving their heads at a much visited Shani temple, Digambaras are seen frequently walking out of the Jain temples, masjids dating between 11th century to present are commonly noticed and the beautiful stone carved royal establishments originating under the patronage of over seven ruling dynasties are a treat for the eyes which has continued to inspire designers of Chanderi who have borrowed around two hundred patterns so far into their fabric.