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What is 'Chikan'?

by Biznble Web Design on March 28, 2023

CHIKAN, in the literal sense means ’embroidery’. This traditional embroidery style is one of Lucknow’s most ancient and well-known art forms, believed to be introduced by the Mughals

Special Features 

One of the most prominent features of the Lucknow Chikankari work is the stitches. The delicate and artfully done hand embroidery gives the garment a look of richness and skillfulness, which is exactly what you pay for.

Current state of the art

Lucknow chikan embroidery enjoys popular public attention. Apart from being a traditional, go-to garment for most religious gatherings and festivals, the art also found its way to the Indian ramp and glamour world. 

Care guide

Lucknow Chikan embroidery should ideally be dry cleaned, although this also depends on the fabric. A silk garment needs to be dry cleaned while cotton can be hand washed at home

Chikankari Adakari

Indian Chikan work basically consists of a number of processes, namely cutting, stitching, printing, embroidery, washing and finishing

The stitches used in Chikan Kari work of Lucknow are basically of three categories, namely

Flat Stitches (Subtle stitches that remain close to the fabric)

Embossed Stitches (they give a grainy appearance)

Jali Work (Created by thread tension, it gives a delicate net effect)

Chikankari Trivia 

Lucknow Chikan embroidery is highly time consuming and skilled work for which artisans can be trained for up to 20 years.

Depending on the pattern intricacy and size of the piece, the embroidery process alone can take up to 10 days to complete.

The various other types of chikankari stitches are: Pechani, Bijli, Ghaspatti, Makra, Kauri, Hathkadi, Banjkali, Sazi, Karan, Kapkapi, Madrazi, Bulbul-chasm, Taj Mahal, Janjeera, Kangan, Dhania- patti, Rozan, Meharki, Chanapatti, Baalda, Jora, Keel kangan, bulbul, sidhaul etc.

Chikankari Origin and History

  • Indian chikan work goes as far back as the early 3rd century BC, with one tale mentioning the story of a traveler who taught chikan to a peasant in return for drinking water. However, the most popular, and factually checkable story is that Noor Jahan, the wife of Mughal emperor Jehangir, introduced the Persian art in India in the 17th century. She herself was a talented embroideress, and had a particular fondness for this art. Her husband is said to have loved chikan work too and has established several workshops to perfect this art form in India.
  • Started as a white-on-white embroidery form, back in the day, the favored fabric was muslin or mulmul as it was best suited to the warm, slightly humid climate. After the downfall of the Mughal Empire, Chikankari artisans spread all over India, but Lucknow remained the main center, with Awadh a close second.
  • Today, the 400-plus-year-old art form remains a global sensation.



CHIKAN, in the literal sense means ’embroidery’. This traditional embroidery style is one of Lucknow’s...