Kalamkari: The Craft of Storytelling

Kalamkari Art

Once Pablo Picasso said, "Painting is just another way of keeping a diary".

You paint to express yourself. You paint to relive a precious moment or belief. We all have heard that a painting can convey in a way that words can only imagine. The most beautiful thing about painting is that it reveals the stories in a universal manner. In this blog, we are going to look at a craft that is 3000 yrs old and yet amazes us with its intricacy and beauty. The art of storytelling through painting, a craft that takes enormous time and almost involves 23 steps to reach its final form, Kalamkari.

 Kalamkari is an ancient art of painting on cloth, and this art dates way back in time. Archaeologists have discovered the pieces of cloth, replicating kalamkari artistry from archeological sites of Mohenjo-Daro. But the Mughal period was the era when the kalamkari art flourished the most. The portraits in kalamkari were often used as embellishing scenes in temples, portraying the stories of gods. Today, with the constantly changing contemporary fashion world, this scene still has reflections on Kalamkari, but it is adapting to new changes and giving it new meanings and symbols.

types of kalamkari painting

Kalamkari is a very exquisite craft that involves up to 23 detailed steps. Kalamkari art mainly uses earthy colors like indigo, mustard, rust, black and green. Natural paints used to paint colors in Kalamkari art are extracted from natural sources without chemicals or artificial matter. 

There are two types of Kalamkari paintings, Srikalahasti of Chittoor district and Machilipatnam of Krishna district. Srikalahasti style is a freehand drawing technique, while Machilipatnam is a block-printing technique. Both the styles are unique in their own way and curate gorgeous patterns on the saree. 

Machilipatnam Kalamkari

The fun fact about the Machilipatnam Kalamkari is that Srikalahasti Kalamkari originated for religious purposes, while Masulipatnam Kalamkari developed from the necessity to trade with other nations. 

The Machilipatnam Kalamkari is recognized as adorned with motifs, hand-printed using blocks. These blocks are hand-carved with intricate designs in wood, and the carved woods were filled in with vegetable dyes. The Machilipatnam kalamkari sarees are now world-renowned for their block-printed patterns, displaying their flawless prints and intricate patterns.

Srikalahasti Kalamkari

Srikalahasti kalamkari sarees are one of Singhania's specialties. We are in love with Srikalahasti kalamkari sarees, the hand-painted sceneries and patterns with eye-catching details seize everyone's attention. 

As we all know, the name 'Kalamkari' originates from the Persian words Qalam (pen) and Kari (craftsmanship). The Kalam used in kalamkari painting is a pen made of bamboo reed, with a piece of cloth rolled over it and secured with cotton thread. Typically, there are 2 types of kalams, one for drawing outlines and the other for filling colors.

A handpainted kalamkari saree carries stunningly intricate and breathtaking scenery on it. It is believed that Kalamkari was first used to depict scenes from holy books such as the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Bhagavatam. With earthy colors of natural dyes, an artisan can display all his imagination in a 6-yard long canvas which we all know as kalamkari saree. And we are going to show you some of our Singhania’s kalamkari online sarees with stunning paintwork and scenery.

srikalahasti kalamkari

In this beautiful kalamkari saree, the hand-painted scenery portraying the beauty of Femina is inspired by the Ajanta Ellora caves. The earthy colors and elaborate artwork bring life to this painting. These kalamkari hand-painted motifs and patterns depict the life of the Gautam Buddha period. 

machilipatnam style

Exquisitely hand-painted beautiful earthy yellow Kalamkari saree with an ornately painted earthy grey pallu. The intricate floral jaal pattern across this kalamkari beauty enriches and defines the Srikalahasti kalamkari artistry.

srikalahasti kalamkari painting

A hand-painted scenery of a rural livelihood, this online kalamkari saree displays the daily chores of village life. How people with interlinked interests come together and create a wholesome community. This saree is on the pinnacle of hand-painted kalamkari sarees. 


machilipatnam style

An elaborate earthy blue kalamkari hand-painted saree with intricate painted floral patterns with animal motifs.

In Singhania's, we offer you multiple combinations of kalamkari sarees. with different hues, patterns, and paintings, we also offer you kalamkari sarees in varieties of fabrics. From raw silk to Banarasi and Kanjivaram

An elaborate earthy blue kalamkari hand-painted saree with intricate painted floral patterns with animal motifs., we have a lot of unique kalamkari drapes for you. 

know the types of kalamkari painting

Singhania's is the household name for authentic hand-painted kalamkari sarees. With each day passing by, our artisans and we are working hard to keep the legacy of Kalamkari sarees alive. We believe, Kalamkari painting is a generational art that is unique in its ability to bind us with our humanity and antiquity. Join us on this voyage of elegance and rich heritage to explore the glorious tales of the handpainted online kalamkari sarees. 



Questions and Answers

  • Srikalahasti Kalamkari and Machilipatnam Kalamkari are traditional Indian textile art forms, involving hand-painted or block-printed designs on fabric. Srikalahasti Kalamkari uses freehand drawing and penwork, often depicting mythological themes, while Machilipatnam Kalamkari uses vibrant colors and floral, geometric, or narrative motifs.