Zari Zardozi

Zari Zardozi - An art that speaks richness


Art is something that speaks so much about an artist’s creativity and notion, whether it’s painstaking or elementary. If we talk of zari-zardozi, then this art has so much to celebrate and learn from. Considered quite popular amongst embroiders and designers, it survives in the narrow alleys of the old town of Bhopal. The art has revived a lot over the years all thanks to the contribution of local artists who showcase the best possible facet of the craft at the exhibitions, and fashion houses that are introducing it in their clothing and décor range.

Zardozi comes from the Persian term which means ‘embroidering with gold threads’. In this embroidery, gold coils and beads are tucked onto fabric using a needle and thread. Metals like gold and silver are transformed into a zari or taar that is used to adorn motifs onto rich fabrics like silk, velvet, organza, chiffon, etc.  It is broadly said that the Begums of Bhopal gave this ancient craft a huge push by educating and motivating employees about the intricate art. They themselves used the batuas to put currency, cloves and other personal belongings. The royal dresses were also made using the delicate work of zardozi on opulent fabrics.


Shops to buy zardozi batuas & purses in Bhopal

There are many shops in the old city of Bhopal that make and sell exquisite pieces made with zari embroidery.One is “National Zari House” in Lakherapura which is an exclusive store to shop forhandmade zari-zardozi items. The shop is famous for having a wide collection of authentic batuas, purses, mobile covers and thelas (tote bags) done in bright colours. “Our karigars work on addas to create exclusive articles. Depending upon the size of the bag and intricacies involved, two artists take around two days to complete six pieces of purses” says Akbar Khan, owner of the shop. Zardozi has been his family business for 60 years. He also mentioned that art lovers from Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Gujarat come to his shop to buy handcrafted zari-zardozi batuas and purses.

If you want to see zardozi bags and sarees in making then head to “Zari Centre” at Peer Gate, Moti Masjid road to meet the artisans and witness the live process of this intricate embroidery. You can visit the workshop between 12 noon to 6 pm and meet Farha Nadeem who runs the workshop. If you request her, she will explain to you every nuance of the craft and her experience in the industry.

The traditional zardozi pouches have become famous with the name of “Bhopali Batuas”. It’s considered the best souvenir that a tourist can take as a token of remembrance. You can find many shops in the old city market but in case you are in a hurry and can’t roam around the narrow streets of the old Bhopal then MP State owned Marignayni Emporiumsin New Market and Gauhar Mahal, Bhopal are the most convenient options to shop native souvenirs like Chanderi, Maheshwari, Silk and Zardozi items much quicker and all under one roof.

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