showcasing the beauty of chikankari embroidery stiches in a teal green chikankari kurta

An Exploration into the Types of Chikankari Embroidery Stitches

Posted by Hariharan Arumugam on

Nestled in the cultural heart of Lucknow, India, the art of Chikankari embroidery has been a symbol of delicate craftsmanship and intricate beauty. This centuries-old tradition is known for its vast array of unique stitches, each bringing its distinct charm and character to the fabric. 

While the universe of Chikankari stitches is vast, encompassing a myriad of different techniques and styles to be precise there are 32 stitches of chikankari, which are broadly classified into Raised stitch, Embossed and Flat stitch, Open Trellis and more. In this article, we focus on the ten most commonly used types. 

This detailed exploration of some of the Chikankari embroidery stitches will offer you an insight into the finesse and complexity of this heritage craft.

Tepchi Chikankari embroidery Stitch

Tepchi, a simple running stitch, serves as the backbone of the design framework in Chikankari embroidery. It lays down the base for other complex stitches and provides an outline to the motifs, shaping them and readying the canvas for the artisan's magic.

Bakhiya Chikankari embroidery Stitch (Shadow Work)

The Bakhiya stitch creates an illusion of a shadow, adding a three-dimensional effect to the designs. It involves the delicate art of reverse stitching on the underside of the fabric, creating a neat shadow on the front side of the pattern.

Bakhiya chikankari embroidery stitch
Image source: D'source

Hool Chikankari embroidery Stitch (Eyelet Stitch)

The Hool stitch creates a tiny hole in the fabric around which threads are woven to prevent it from fraying. It's often used for floral motifs and gives an illusion of depth, making flowers and leaves come alive on the fabric.

Zanzeera Chikankari embroidery Stitch

A small, compact chain stitch, the Zanzeera is the answer to intricate detailing. Primarily used to outline leaf or petal motifs, this stitch gives the design elements a defined edge and contour.

zanzeera stitch
Image Source: rzustylecom

Rahet Chikankari embroidery Stitch

The Rahet is a slanted darn stitch that is used in conjunction with other stitches to fill in the motifs. This stitch adds a dense texture to the design and is known for its visual prominence in the pattern.

Rahet chikankari embroidery stitch
Image source:

Banarsi Chikankari embroidery Stitch

A variant of the Zanzeera stitch, the Banarsi stitch is used to fill the motifs. It enhances the richness of the design, imparting an exquisite texture that elevates the visual appeal of the Chikankari embroidery.

banarasi stitch
Image Source: Pinterest

Khatau Chikankari embroidery Stitch

The Khatau stitch mirrors the shape of a paisley and is typically used for floral motifs. Applied from within the design, the motif's edges superimpose on the stitch, adding a unique layered effect to the patterns.

Phanda Chikankari embroidery Stitch (Knot Stitch)

Resembling a French knot, the Phanda stitch is used to create the center of flowers or other round motifs. It's a tiny embossed stitch that adds to the overall ornate look of the Chikankari embroidery.

Phanda chikankari embroidery stitch
Image Source: mytextilenotes

Murri Chikankari embroidery Stitch (French Knot)

Similar to a rice grain in its shape, the Murri stitch is often used in the center of flowers, enhancing the intricate detailing and depth of the floral motifs in the Chikankari artwork.

murri chikankari embroidery stitch
Image Source: mytextilenotes

Keel Kangan Chikankari embroidery Stitch (Fishbone Stitch)

Characterized by a central vein from which smaller stitches branch out, the Keel Kangan stitch fills in petals and leaves. This stitch adds an element of texture and depth to the design.

Fishbone chikankari embroidery stitch
Image Source:

These ten types of Chikankari embroidery stitches form the heart of many Chikankari masterpieces. Their application in designs varies, making every piece unique and a testament to the skill and creativity of the artisan. These stitches, with their distinct charm, weave a narrative of rich cultural heritage and finesse of Indian craftsmanship.

Now that you've gained a deeper appreciation for the intricate process of Chikankari embroidery, why not experience its charm for yourself? Nama:Stay offers an exquisite collection of Chikan Kurtas that beautifully showcases the detailed craftsmanship of these traditional stitches. Each piece is a testament to the skill and creativity of our artisans, making them not just a clothing items but a piece of art. 

Wearing a Nama:Stay Chikankari Kurta is more than just a fashion statement - it's a celebration of India's rich cultural heritage. Immerse yourself in the timeless elegance of Chikankari today. Let's carry this beautiful tradition together, one stitch at a time.

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