Chikankari – Not just an ordinary embroidery

In India there are many types of embroideries such as Chikankari of Lucknow, Phulkari of Punjab, Kantha of Bengal, Kutchi Embroidery of Gujarat and Kashidakari of Kashmir. Each embroidery is different from the other and has its own importance and beauty.


The city of Lucknow is renowned and has special value in the nation because of its artistic values, historical monuments and cultural heritage. Lucknow is famous for its hot weather and glorious past but apart from that lucknow is also known for its fine handicrafts. Some of them are Chikankari, Hand Block Textile Printing, Zari Zardozi, Ivory or Bone Carving, Terracotta and many others that are practiced by various artisans of Lucknow.

Chikankari is considered to be a fine art of embroidery and is famous all over the world. Lucknowi Chikan embroidery is made with untwisted thread with needle on the fine quality cloth like cotton, voil, silk, georgette, tussar, etc. At first, designs are printed on the cloth with washable colors then embroidery is done using different chikankari stitches. This is a home based industrial activity which is mainly performed by women artisans or workers.

History and Tradition

lucknowi chikan embroidery

The East India Company reveal that Dhaka produced the fine embroidery known as ‘Chikankari’. It is said that chikankari was brought to lucknow from East Bengal by the Nawabs of Awadh and Noorjahan, wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir introduced it in Lucknow. At that time chikankari was only practiced and designed by Noorjahan and other begums (wives) of Jahangir and was highly popular among them. Later on, the craftsmen were started working on topi-palla or angarkha for their masters. Then the women of that community started making chikankari works to earn money for their family and gradually it became the main source of income for them.