New Delhi: While the unique sheer texture and intricate excellence of designs with gold and silver sets Chanderi fabric apart from the rest, their habitats and the way they are designed are also unique.
When 17 students from School of Architecture at the World University of Design travelled to this small town in Madhya Pradesh to study the lifestyle and living conditions of the craftsmen across settlements their findings and research report with recommendations got them an invitation from INTACH to participate a conservation Exhibition on Handloom Sari Weavers of Chanderi held in Delhi on March 28th, 2019
Spread over an area of 18 kilometers, the town of Chanderi is divided into two broad sections- Andar shahar & Bahar shahar each consisting of labyrinth of weaver’s settlements. The students worked on the weaver’s cluster in Bahar Shahar for their study. The village itself is composed of labyrinth of lanes full of archaeological remains where weaving is a livelihood of 60% of the population. With the help of plans and sections they derived that how the loom becomes the guiding principle for designing of any space in Chanderi. The Urban Morphology study was shared in the form of eight sheets showing the layouts and details of traditional Weaver’s houses in Chanderi.
Explaining about the project Gourisha Bajaj , 3rd Year student of School of Architecture said “ Our research involved detailed analysis and study of the challenges faced by weavers and situations that they overcome to create exquisite creations. What is unique about these houses is the way they are clustered together forming an exact pattern that can be seen on the saris, which is very interesting. Every house in Chanderi had loom room which will have the maximum sunlight. There are over 3500 handlooms working in Chanderi today, often with multiple looms operating out of the same room, creating a very interesting morphology.”
Further she said “However we feel that there needs to be better awareness and regulation as we feel that even today merchants/corporations and middlemen get the better part of the deal and a weaver in many cases just gets INR 1000-2000 per design”.
Once a favourite of the royalty this fabric has become an object of desire for the fashion conscious today. Chanderi saris are protected under the geographical indication of goods (registration and protection) act, 1999 and they cannot be copied because of their exclusive design and silk yarns that goes in its weaving. The government if India has also filed petition to the World Trade Organization for the recognition of this textile on the international level.