Phulkari: The Silken Hues


Phulkari, which actually equates into ‘flower work’, has actually a history engraved in the culture of Punjab. Spun from the charkha this spectacular design of embroidery is patterned on odinis, shawals, kurtis and chunris. The primary qualities of Phulkari embroidery are making use of darn stitch on the wrong side of cloth with colored silken thread. The phulkari is an art of embriodery in addition to the creation itself is likewise called the phulkari. Primarily duppattas (substantial stoles) are embroidered with the phulkari stitch. However anything from bags to cushion covers can bring a trigger of colour with this unique craft. A face of style that discovers its very first points out in Punjabi folklore of the romantic lead characters Heer and Ranjha, Phulkari is a dream weaver for every single Punjabi girl.


Phulkari, creation of flowers, is among the most vibrant and lively embroideries of India. Practiced in the state of Punjab, it has its origins in the fifteenth century. Its history and origin differs from person to person due to lack of evidences and documentation. The origin of this beautiful art can be traced back to the 15th century AD. Some individuals stated that phulkari was made in the popular romance of Heer-Ranjha composed by Waris Shah (1725 -1790), Heer has numerous outfit consisted of phulkari short articles too from this it is rather apparent that, phulkari a post usually provided to the woman throughout her wedding event. Some have opinon that this craft migrated from Persian art, where an embroidery from ‘Gulkari’ having similar literal meaning, ‘gul’ implies flower and ‘kari’ suggests work, which did resemble phulkari dupatta, there is another theory which did look like phulkari.

One more theory which divulges that the jat tribes of east Punjab, generally peasants moved from central Asia, are the leaders of this craft this was the strongest theory to which I happened during my research these jat also carried these craft in other states of India like Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujrat.

Lots of ancient articals of phulkari were rumal, kerchief embroidered someplace during fifteenth century by sis of sikh expert, Expert Nanak Dev Ji. At the end of the 15th century, the creator of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak, wrote: “Thou art not a worthwhile woman up until thou hast embroidered thy own blouse”. Town ladies still practice the craft, also stitching bed and cushion covers and a variety of other fabrics, however the art most likely reached its zenith in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Designs and Patterns

There is a comprehensive pattern of designs utilized in phulkari. Every possible representation of life and nature discover expression therein. Though it started with geometrical patterns, flowers and leaves, today, the designs have been bigger to encompass birds, animals, human figures, the sun, moon, the objects of everyday use and whatever discovered on the earth. Then, there is an unique bagh style called dhoop-chhaon (sun-shade), which is very popular in the state. Nevertheless, no spiritual topics or darbar scenes are embroidered. Some of the most well-known ranges of phulkaris and baghs have actually been listed below.

1. Chope: This range is normally provided to the bride-to-be by her grandma, throughout an event prior to the wedding event. It has directly, two-sided line stitch and appears the very same on the reverse. However, only the border is embroidered and the center is left plain. It is generally red in color and used as a veil.

2. Vari-da-bagh: This is also done on a red cloth. It is covered with lozenge golden yellow embroidery, with smaller sized ones within the border.

3. Darshan dwar: This is generally used for presentation in temples or for embellishing the walls of house, when the Granth Sahib is brought therein. It is likewise done on a red fabric with the themes of arched gates dealing with style of human beings, animals, birds, flowers etc.

4. Chamba: This includes a series of wavy climbers, elegant leaves and flowers and is highly in vogue recently.

5. Ghunghat bagh or sari-pallau: It is usually the pallu and the part that covers the head. The pallu and the head portion contain a triangular embroidered part and rest of the cloth is embroidered on borders just.

6. Bawan Bagh: Bawan indicates fifty two, it is a design that consists of numerous geometrical styles embroidered on one single piece of fabric.

7. Suber: Suber is a piece of fabric that is used by the bride in the wedding while taking the feras around the Expert Granth Sahib or the spiritual fire. The cloth has five concepts embroidered one in center and the other four on each of the corners.

8. Satrangi: A 7 color phulkari.

9. Thirma: The identifying function of thirma is its white khaddar that is a symbol of purity. Because of its white color, it was frequently used by senior ladies and widows. The color of threads utilized for embroidery variety from red to pink.

10. Sainchi Phulkari: Town life of Punjab was illustrated in sainchi phulkari and this design was restricted to few areas of Punjab such as Firozpur and Bhatinda districts. The pattern used to vary from local animals, farmers, wrestlers, weaver to trains and other methods of transport.

The Stitch:

It is a type of standard art where it is performed in basic designs with long and short darn stitches. The much shorter the stitch is the finer it looks. The art of Phulkari lies in the adjustment of patterns, colors and the length of stitches. Phulkari is done by making creative small-darn stitch over the cloth. The stitches are made on the reverse side of a coarse cotton fabric, with colored silk threads. Smaller stitches are finer, delicate and have an incredible appearance. Only one single hair is used at one time. The stitches are done vertically, horizontally and even diagonally, to create unique result of light and shade.

The Thread:

In early days the silk thread used in embroidery was brought from Afghanistan, China and other parts of India like Kashmir and Bengal. The thread is made from silk which is called “patt” in Punjabi.

The Colors:

The bright colors are constantly preferred when it comes to Phulkari because it refers to flowers and garden. The main colors utilized are Yellow, red, green, orange, pink and blue. The most intriguing part of phulkari is that, no various shades are utilized for shading purpose; rather it’s finished with the horizontal, diagonal and vertical stitches. The glossy thread shows different shades in various instructions.

The fabric:

In early days the cloth utilized for phulkari was essentially cotton and khadi which was home-spun and colored. The hard fabric was appropriate to work without frame and was easy to keep. The base fabric is homespun, in your area woven and colored khadi. Such a base is strong, long-term and inexpensive and at the same time, assists in much needed counting of threads while stitching. Besides, it can be quickly worked on without a frame and the cloth does not tightens or pulls. Colors like white, dark blue, black and brown are typically used for the base cloth, but the most preferred color is red. The fabric itself is utilized as an inner decor so that the pattern sewn on it ends up being more unique and attractive. The finished portion of the embroidery is rolled and covered with a muslin cloth, to keep the embroidered part tidy while working.


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