If you wander around
Chandni Chowk, particularly Kinari Bazaar, you will see delicate
nimble-fingered embroiders at work. It is an old art: embroidering
with gold and silver threads goes back to Mughal times. This craft
is still practiced in Delhi. It is amazing how skillfully these
workers produce on plain cloth exquisite floral and geometrical
The fascinating craft of
embroidery has its origins in by-gone days. Its existence in the
Mohenjodaro period has been proved with the discovery of bronze
needles at the excavation site. Through the succeeding years till
today this craft appears on garments and decorative pieces
clothes, upholstery, table linen, cushions, bed-covers etc.
A variety of embroidered
goods can be bought at Kinari Bazaar where you can also see the craft
in progress in the by-lanes of the speciality street.
Kinari Bazar is also the
centre for shopping for the wedding ceremony. It is full of gold
lame, grooms turbans, currency-note garlands and huge rosettes.
The shops carry large stocks as they sell to wholesalers and to the
p assign retail trade. Brides and their families come here to by the
wedding finery and add to it as much general sparkle as parental
pockets permit. In October the whole street is magical as the shops
stock Ramlila bows and arrows, extra heads for Ravana and enough
cardboard swords for hundreds of school armies. You can find all the
embroidered pagdis (turbans), plumes and tinsel a man needs
for his wedding day. At the junction, the glittering shops sell gold
threaded saris for the bride.
The dying art of
extremely skilled and delicate white embroidery on fine white muslin
is still practiced by women and children in their mud-floor homes.
Some may be seen at work on the outskirts of Chandni Chowk and in the
densely populated bazaars. Merchants supply the cloth; men cut, make
up the article and block print the design; women and children work
it; the merchant has it washed and ironed and sells it. The
spiders-web fine work, favoured by the Nawabs who attracted
master craftsmen, can be bought as saris, clothes or table linen.
Alternatively, you can choose a design in the shop, decide what to
make and where to work the embroidery wide borders or dotted
flowers, depending on preference. One marvels at the exquisite
products created by these workers with their simple tools: sharp
needles, brilliantly coloured skeins and assorted materials.