Lucknowi Chikankari : A Legacy of Art & Culture

Lucknowi Chikankari : A Legacy of Art & Culture


Lucknowi Chikankari, with its intricate hand embroidery and timeless elegance, has captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts worldwide. This exquisite art form, originating from the vibrant city of Lucknow in India, holds a profound historical significance that adds to its allure.

Historical Background of Chikankari in LucknowBara Imambara and Asfi Mosque in Lucknow , India Lucknow, India - December 2021 : Bara Imambara and Asfi Mosque in Lucknow , India imambara lucknow stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh in India, has been a melting pot of cultures, art, and craft for centuries. Chikankari embroidery found its roots in this culturally rich city during the reign of the Mughal era.

Origins of Chikankari in Lucknow

Lucknow's association with Chikankari can be traced back to the influence of the Mughal dynasty. The Mughal emperors greatly appreciated and patronized Chikankari, leading to its development and refinement over time. The city's Nawabs and royal families also played a significant role in promoting and preserving this art form.

The Art of Chikankari

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Chikankari is an intricate and labor-intensive form of hand embroidery that requires exceptional skill and artistry. It involves the usage of a variety of stitches, each lending a unique texture and pattern to the fabric.

Intricate Hand Embroidery Techniques

  1. Different Stitches involved in Chikankari:

    • "Tepchi" stitch: a fine running stitch used for outlines and filling spaces.

    • "Bakhiya" stitch: resembles the backstitch and is commonly used to create shadows and textures.

    • "Hool" stitch: a zigzag stitch that adds a delicate floral touch.

    • "Phanda" stitch: small, dot-like stitches that form floral patterns and enhance the overall design.

  2. Skill and Artistry Required by Artisans:

    Chikankari artisans are highly skilled craftsmen who dedicate years to master this art form. Their expertise lies in creating intricate patterns with precision and finesse, breathing life into plain fabrics.

Traditional Motifs and Designs

  1. Floral Patterns in Chikankari:

    Chikankari is renowned for its delicate and elaborate floral patterns. These motifs often include roses, jasmine, lotus, and various other flowers, which symbolize beauty, love, and nature in Indian culture.

  2. Geometric and Paisley Motifs:

    Besides floral patterns, Chikankari also incorporates geometric shapes and paisley motifs. These designs add a touch of abstract artistry to the embroidery, making each piece visually captivating.

Chikankari : A Labor of Love

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While Chikankari garments exude elegance and sophistication, the process behind their creation is not without its challenges. Artisans often face difficulties in sourcing high-quality materials, finding skilled manpower, and adhering to strict deadlines.

Preserving traditional techniques is also a constant struggle, as the demand for Chikankari evolves with changing fashion trends. However, artisans remain dedicated to their craft, passing it down through generations and adapting to contemporary demands while retaining their unique artistry.

Economic and Social Impacts of Chikankari

Chikankari plays a vital role in the local economy, providing employment opportunities for numerous artisans, weavers, and support industries. It has become a source of livelihood for many families, especially women artisans who contribute significantly to the craft.

The art of Chikankari empowers women artisans by providing them with financial independence and opportunities for skill development. It not only preserves cultural heritage but also serves as a means of socio-economic empowerment.


The timeless elegance of Lucknowi Chikankari continues to enchant fashion connoisseurs across the globe. Its historical significance, intricate craftsmanship, and fusion with contemporary fashion make it a true masterpiece of artistry. Preserving and promoting Chikankari is not only essential for supporting artisans but also for nurturing the rich heritage and cultural legacy of India.