Kalamkari is the art of hand painting and/or block printing on fabrics with the help of natural dyes, produced in parts of India and Iran.
The word was derived from Persian, and literally means ‘crafting with a pen’. In India two styles of kalamkari designs have flourished, one is the Machilipatnam style and the other is Sri kalahasti style. The Machilipatnam style comes from a village called pedana near machilipatnam in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. This region has had a major Mughal influence and hence the style of printing here has Islamic aesthetics. The Srikalahasti style is from the village of Srikalahasti 80 km from the city of Tirupathi. Srikalahasti has been a prominent religious and spiritual centre since time immemorial and hence the art work here naturally has a Hindu religious and mythological influence.
Kalamkari painting is a very intricate and delicate form of ‘resist-dyeing’ and hand painting. The painting requires a lot of treatment before and after the painting is completed on the fabric. Traditionally, this work is done on cotton and silk fabrics.
Articles like cow-dung, fermented jaggery, natural colours obtained from fruits, vegetables, roots and leaves, with mineral salts of tin, copper, iron and others help to bind the colour to the cloth.
Kalamkari has evolved tremendously and is now being used on almost any outfit, the hot favourite being a cotton or silk saree with prints on them. It is quite frequently seen on tops, dupattas and dresses too.
Let us have a look at a few mesmerizing kalamkari designs on sarees.
This beautiful, simple blue Tussar silk saree with a tricolour border and the kalamkari design with rich pallu with beautiful mythological motifs is a feature of the srikalahasti style.
This grand piece is a silk yellow saree, with beautiful embroidery done over the kalamkari design work. Best worn for a casual day-out or a visit to the temple.
This is a mehendi coloured saree, the border and pallu are rich with kalamkari art work. Looks very light and easy on the body. Works for casual occasions and work too!
Here’s a contemporary twist given to the age-old art of red kalamkari silk saree with light embroidery done on the kalamkari designs work. The blouse is the real winner as far as this look goes. This is a wonderful choice for weddings.
Simple tussar silk saree with kalamkari border work. Additions like zari, stone and katdana add even more glory to it.
Related: Kalamkari Prints for Ethnic Elegance
A wedding saree, white Bhagalpur silk with a heavily embroidered border and a designer kalamkari printed blouse in a diametrically contrasting shade.
Here, let’s take a look at some more kalamkari prints:-
A gorgeous print from Andhra Pradesh- Radha-Krishna- The divine lovers!
Kalamkari painting of Lord Shiva and Parvathi dancing in all their glory!
Kalamkari painting of lord Krishna with his most loved pet!
Kalamkari painting of a very cute and adorable deity, the remover of all obstacles, lord Ganesha!
Kalamkari Print of the fiery, earthy goddess durga or chamundi, as she is known down south -the destroyer of evil.