Lucknow Chikan Work

Chikan kari, was strongly rekindled by Moghul patronization and attained perfection as the exquisite needlework and hand work underwent further honing and refinement.The name chikanhas been derived from the Persian word Chakin or Chikeen meaning a kind of cloth wrought with needle work. Chikan is said to have originated as a court craft, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jehangir, by his wife Noor Jahan.

Traditionally, the chikan embroidery was exclusive white items, decorations similar to the cottonjamdani, and woven traditions. The Nawab Shujaudaula of Avadh was greatly attracted by this craft. It was his keen initiative and interest, which promoted this craft in present day Lucknow. Another record of the travelers of the sixteenth century describes that during the sixteenth century, white work from Bengal, was influenced by the Portuguese traders, the residents of the port Hugli, north of Calcutta of that time. The Bengali migrants who came from Dacca in eighteenth century to settle in Lucknow brought this art of surface ornamentation to Lucknow. Chikan work came into production by the nineteenth century. During this period similar work was also produced at Calcutta and Madras. It is reported that earlier brass, bone, copper or iron needles were used, now only steel needles are used.

Originally embroidery was done on white tanjeb; the muslin from Dacca, using only white untwisted cotton or some times tussar silk for embroidery. A large number of men were practising this art of embroidery since nineteenth century. Trade is now predominantly practiced by woman in Lucknow and adjoining villages. Some of the popular motifs are: Kairi (mango motif, generally made using taipchi stitch ); dhaniya patti (corriander leaf); phanda is made and a straight stitch is done to make the base of the stem; dhum patti (leaf pattern made of cross-stitch); ghas patti (grass leaves V-shaped line of stitches worked in a graduated series); murri (grain motif – diagonal stitches are worked several times on a basic stitch to form a grain shape); kangan (bracelet-made by combination ofkeel, murri andjali stitch);joda murri (pair of grains);maharaki (close button hole is done around a hole, and finished with murri); sadi-maharaki (no hole is made, the part made in the centre is finishedwith tapichi and murri); daraz/katub (two fabrics are overlapped, stitched and extra fabric is cut, the cutting is called katub); pechani (taipchi stitch is covered by entwining the thread over it in a regular manner to provide the effect of a lever spring); tanjire (for lining the motif, looks like a chain); gitti (circle is formed with minute hole in centre); phanda (single chain is made, then on its top 3-4 similar chains); keel (first phanda is formed then the needle is inserted over and over the chain stitch to form a keel); kangira (seam allowance of fabric is folded such that triangles are formed on the wrong side of the fabric).

Below is program on Sakshi TV , a regional channel which featured Anubha explaining the Lucknow Chikan work.

Deccan Chronicle also featured Anushree Chikan Art in their Sunday Edition.If you are interested to know more about Lucknow Chikankari please post a comment and we will get back to you.

47 comments on “Lucknow Chikan Work

  1. Anonymous says:

    recently i was duped by a shop posing as an outlet of sewa .it also uses a logo similar to that of sewa.
    beware of Sewa Chikan Mfg pvt. Ltd. Their address is 44 B Cantt. Road, Murli Nagar , Lucknow 226001. i later found that they charge 2 to three times of the mkt rate

    • krsna says:

      dear friend,
      being born and brought up in Lucknow itself and in this trade from 1986, i have come across many such stories.
      these are persons who operate from far outside the market places where a customer cannot compare the rates.
      a transport network (such as autos, rickshaws, vans, car rentals and bus services) along with hotel network works hand in glove with these stores.
      there are dozens of such stores in Lucknow, in our local Chikan industry they are known as dh-a-jee line of this industry. here the transport network gets 30 to 40 percent on the billed amount and the hotel network 10 percent.
      so it must also be taken in consideration that suppose an item costs Rs.100 and is priced at Rs.300, commission of transport will be 90/- and hotel’s 30/-, not to exclude the commission of the salesman’s 6/- which equals to 126/-. the profit therefore to the owner will be 74/- with which he has to handle the concerned police chowki, incurred expenses on the running of the shop, his house hold expenses and dead stock.
      the only advantage to open a dh-a-jee shop is that one has to put up less investment in property which is almost 30 times less than the posh market rates.

  2. Shobha says:

    can i get these in Delhi?

    • krsna says:

      delhi is filled up with chikan embroidered garments and unstitched fabrics. you can find these in sarojini nagar, chandni chowk and some shops in c.p.
      upscale bridal and trousseau collection can be seen at the designers in southern areas as well as rajouri and mehrauli road. these designers don’t sell under the name of Chikan, they mix it with other hand works such as zardozi and other expensive works.
      Chikan still has to top in the minds of the general public who regard chikan as a summer wear and something that cannot be worn in parties.
      Shabana Azmiji and Manish Mehrotraji were present in Lucknow to bring up the MIZWAN show, showcasing chikan, in Mumbai. many dresses worn by movie stars were of chikan, and let me add here that they were not at all cheap or inexpensive.
      Designer Abu Jani has a deep love for this art form.

  3. Kumar says:

    pls let me know where i can get lucknowis at wholesale prices in mumbai..thnx…

  4. Dipti says:

    Dear One

    Could u pls.. guide me in finding some good NGOs working for craft and chikankari work in Lucknow and near area.


    aranasi Weavers Foundation

    • aahang says:

      There is one called SEWA or self employed women’s association that I know of.If you can tell me why you ask then I will check with friends and get you to the right organization.

  5. For buying Chikan suits in Banaglore Please get in touch with :

    anushree Chikan

    we are located behind Big bazaar on Old Madras Road near to Indira Nagar and Old airport road.

  6. navrit says:

    are you selling lucknavi products in bangalore?? i’m intrested in picking up saree’s and kurta’s… let me know pl….

    • aahang says:

      we would be happy to show you our products. please call 22981944.looking forward to doing business with you.thanx

  7. Jyothi says:

    Thank you for posting about all the stitches used in chicken kari…can you please explain the way to do the murri stich a little more in detail.

  8. Purnima Sabnis says:


    Need your help in locating Lucknowi Chikan Manufacturers
    in Lucknow.


    Purnima Sabnis

    • aahang says:

      Just go to google and search for Lucknow Chikan – Some of the good ones are Lucknow chikan House,ada Chikan and Sewa Chikan.If you are in Bangalore I can get you here itself.

  9. Hi, just visited your blog first time, and found it quite interesting. Nice post indeed. Thanks for sharing it to all
    Pravin singh
    Lucknow Chikan

  10. Explore Ada Designer Chikan Studio for Chikan Embroidery,Lucknow Chikan,Lucknawi Chikan,Chikan Embroidery Work,Lucknow Chikan Work,Lucknawi Chikan Embroidery,Lucknawi Chikan Garments,Chikan Embroidery Suits,Chikan Handicrafts in India,Indian Traditional Garments,Chikan Embriodery

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