Legend has it that the Kanchi silk weavers are descendants of the Sage Markanda, the master weaver of the Gods, who is said to have woven the tissue fabric from the lotus fibre*.
The Kanjivaram textile heritage is intertwined in mythology and religious significance. Silk is said to be the favoured fabric of Lord Vishnu and hence many of the looms were found around the Vishnu temples in the area. The weaving tradition of Kanjivaram is perhaps over two thousand years old. It flourished under royal patronage and some of the early motifs and patterns indicate a migration of weavers from areas as far as Gujarat or later on from closer by Andhra Pradesh. Burnt down by the French in 1757, the town of Kanchi and its weaving tradition was resurrected and has had a renewed innings since then.
Kanjivaram to this day is referred to the land of a thousand temples and the land of a thousand looms. Clearly, the legend of the Kanjivaram weavers lives on.
*’Masters of the Weave’ – By Sushila Ravindranath, The New Sunday Express, 20 July 2003
‘Kanchipuram – Land of Legends, Saints & Temples by P.V.L.Narasimha Rao.
Image Source Credit: http://www.ampersandtravel.com/all_images/450/Kanchipuram,-South-India.jpg
and reference source: http://explow.com/kanchipuram