Buy Kalamkari Silk Sarees Online

Panjavarnam Kalamkari Silk Saris follow the SriKalahasthi style of using organic dyes to paint on hand drawn patterns. We work... Panjavarnam Kalamkari Silk Saris follow the SriKalahasthi style of using organic dyes to paint on hand drawn patterns. We work with the best artisans who have inherited this skill from their forefathers. Several of our artists are national award winners. Panjavarnam Kalamkari Silk Sarees are fully hand drawn and hand painted using organic dyes on pure silk media ranging from Chennuri, Chanderi and Tussar Silks. Have you ever seen a saree that looks more like a piece of masterpiece? Discover the magic of Pen Kalamkari. Kalamkari Silk Sarees are what you should never miss when you look for beautiful and traditional handpainted saree choices. Kalamkari silk sarees are a luxurious mix of ancient art and everlasting beauty. These sarees have stunning designs, hand-painted or block-printed with natural dyes, on pure silk fabric.  Saree Care: Dry clean after the first use and subsequently ones too, if possible. Incase of hand wash, use cold water and mild detergent Change the saree fold once a month to avoid permanent creasing. Read More

All you need to know about Kalamkari Silk Sarees

History of Kalamkari Silk Sarees

Kalamkari, an ancient art form, is noted for its beautiful handpaintings on fabrics. Kalam means pen and Kari means art, the name Kalamkari has a Persian origin. This art form is being practiced in Srikalahasthi and Masulipattinam in Andhra Pradesh. This art of handpainting uses organic colours and dyes.

 The artisans in Masulipattinam, use the block print form, while the artisans from SriKalahasthi are known for their free hand drawing using the pen and painting pictures inspired from Hindu mythology.

The Kalamkari technique involves using natural dyes in a twenty-three-step process. The Machilipatnam and Srikalahasti are the two main styles of Kalamkari art in India. Pedana Kalamkari and Machilipatnam style of hand painting on cotton, called Kalamkari, involved the application of printing blocks dyed using vegetables. They manufacture it at Pedana, a town near Machilipatnam in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. 

 The Srikalahasti style is the only variant of this art where the "kalam" or the pen is used for freehand drawing of the subject and then filling in the colours, this technique involves handwork only. This category blossomed especially in temple settings where temples were concerned with the creation of their distinct religious identities.  

This style manifested in artworks on the scrolls, plain hangings, banners of chariots, faces of gods, and other scenes taken from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. 

From Earthy Tones to Bold Pigments: The Colours Favouring the Kalamkari 

The colours used in the Kalamkari artwork are lovely and earthy tones of reds, blues, greens, yellows, and browns. The colour scheme in the illustrations represents women in yellow, Gods in blue, and demons in red and green. The roots of the madder plants are used for the red colour, and the pomegranate and mango bark for the yellow and black comes from myrobalan roots.   


The first step of producing a Kalamkari involves mixing mordants and buffalo milk and drying it under the sun. Then the parts of the design, which are to be dyed red, black, brown, and violet, are outlined with the mordant, and the cloth is placed in a bath of alizarin. In the next step, wax is spread all over the cloth. The artists use a bamboo or date palm stick sharpened at one end to paint the contours and wrap the kalam with wool that contains the liquid and, squeezing it, release it during creation. The fine hair tied to this tip is the brush or the pen. This pen is dipped into a solution of jaggery and water, then natural dyes are applied.  

Discover the Different Styles of Kalamkari Silk Sarees 

Cotton Kalamkari Saree    

A graceful saree is created by block printing the Kalamkari pattern on cotton fabric. 

 Crepe Kalamkari Saree    

The Kalamkari Crepe saree is the best choice if you love wearing light sarees. The exquisite grace of a handloom worker's handblock printing Kalamkari sarees in crepe brings alive the motifs.  

 Printed Kalamkari Saree    

Printed Kalamkari sarees are in great demand these days. The younger generations are fascinated by the prints with the Kalamkari pattern is undeniable. Kalamkari saree will bring out your most radiant and beautiful self. 

 Kalamkari Silk Saree  

Kalamkari silk sarees are perfect for women looking for style and sophistication.    Kalamkari Pattu Sarees are perfect picks for women who want to stun with their beauty and grace. Kalamkari designs are a unique feature that enhances the look of these silk sarees. 

Styling Tips For Kalamkari Silk Sarees

Choose Your Blouse
Choose a blouse that goes well
with the color scheme and pattern of your kalamkari silk saree. Contrast blouses to offset the earthy tones of the kalamkari sari work very well. Go for full sleeve or blouses as they highlight the subtleness of the saree very well.. 

Antique jewellery and oxidised silver jewellery pair very well with pen kalamkari sarees. Large ear rings, nose pin and bangles complete the look. 

Footwear: Pick high heeled footwear so that the fall of the saree is enhanced and amplifies the ensemble. 

Makeup: Allow for a soft and natural makeup to align with the beauty and
harmony of your kalamkari. A bold lipstick and bold bindi enhance the earthy and classy appeak of kalamkari silk sarees. 

Picking the right footwear  

Kalamkari Sarees are so majestic in appearance, and it is most evident while worn with heels. Choose between platform heels or the classic heeled sandals, both appear stylish.  

Accessorizing a Kalamkari  

South Indian jewellery is perfect for your Kalamkari saree ensemble! It is all about making visual designs. The Kalamkari motifs and prints are mainly linked with the southern part of the country, so the style of jewellery will blend very well with the prints.  

The best blouse styles  

Choose a simple, solid-coloured blouse or a printed one that complements your Kalamkari saree. 

Draping a Kalamkari  

Use a traditional Kalamkari saree to showcase this impressive print. Pleat the pallu for a finished look or leave it on your arms to make a statement. Sleeves will show off the handwork.  

Though the process is challenging and demanding, the time and effort are indeed more than rewarding since the colours are vivid and pleasing, and the images are extraordinarily appealing due to their depth and complexity. Kalamkari stands out for the love the artists have for art, tradition, and culture, and this pervades every painting.  

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to identify a genuine pen kalamkari saree? 

Geography: Handpainted kalamkari art is practicsed in the SriKalahasti
town of Andhra Pradesh, where many women self help groups are trained in this art form. Painting is done on various fabrics like mulberry silk, chennuri silk, tussar silk and cottons. Block printed kalamkari sarees are not handpainted and these are from Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

Colours: Handpainted pen kalamkari sarees are painted using
natural organic vegetable dyes and are therefore muted and earthy in appearance. They will not be vibrant or bright in tones as these shades are possible only with chemical dyes

Drawing:  Handpainted
pen kalamkari sarees are characterised by irregular shapes, crooked lines and some colour run off bleed all over the saree. These imperfections are typical of a genuine handpainted kalamkari saree and they add character to the sari endowing it with a natural charm.

Odour: The process of handpainting involves substrate
preparation where the fabric is washed with buffalo milk to help the dyes to adhere to the fabric. Authentic handpainted kalamkari sarees have a milky odour as a result, and this is an important identifier of the genuinity of the handpainted pen kalamkari saree.

How to remove the smell from a pen kalamkari saree?

Open your kalamkari saree and air
it in a room lit with incense sticks for a coupe of days

Store your kalamkari saree in a
cupboard with an activated charcoal deodoriser

Dry clean the saree and the smell
will gradually go away with a few washes

What are Kalamkari silk sarees?  

 Kalamkari silk sarees are luxurious garments made from pure silk, featuring breathtaking designs hand-painted or block-printed with natural dyes. They are a unique blend of ancient art and timeless beauty.  

What is the origin of Kalamkari silk sarees?  

Kalamkari is a traditional art form from Andhra Pradesh, India.  Their roots go back 3,000 years, initially used for religious textiles. There are two main styles: Machilipatnam and Srikalahasti. Srikalahasti focused on hand-painting, while Machilipatnam embraced block printing for faster production.  

What are the different styles of Kalamkari silk sarees?  

 Styles differ in various designs such as cotton, crepe, printed, silk and Kalamkari Pattu. The design is specific to each style. 

How are Kalamkari silk sarees made?  

The journey begins with pure silk fabric, meticulously washed and treated with a natural solution (often involving myrobalan) to prepare it for the dyes. Kalamkari uses vibrant colours derived from nature. Red comes from madder roots, yellow from pomegranate seeds or mango bark, and black from myrobalan roots. The artist uses a special pen (kalam) filled with natural dye to create intricate designs freehand on the silk.  

What are some tips for styling Kalamkari silk sarees?  

Style it with heels for elegance, pair it with South Indian temple jewellery to complement the regional roots and choose a simple blouse to not compete with the artwork. Wear the saree in a typical way to exhibit the glorious hand-painted or block-printed designs. 

What are the benefits of wearing Kalamkari silk sarees?  

 Kalamkari silk sarees are   

  • Elegant and luxurious look  
  • The rich cultural heritage you wear  
  • Unique conversation piece you adorn  
  • Stunning hand-painted/block-printed designs  

How can I care for my Kalamkari silk saree?  

For the best results, take special care of Kalamkari silk saree by either hand washing or dry cleaning it. 

Are Kalamkari silk sarees sustainable?  

Kalamkari silk sarees are sustainable and eco-friendly as they use natural dyes and handloom processes to get attractive designs. 

How do I buy Kalamkari silk sarees online from Panjavarnam?  

Browse Panjavarnam's website, choose and review the product details of your favourite Kalamkari silk sarees, and click "Buy It Now" to purchase online. You can request a video of the saree or fix an appointment for a video call to view the saree on +91 9840758137 before the purchase. If you are in Chennai, do drop in to the Panjavarnam Store in Mylapore, where you can see these sarees in person and purchase.