Sustain Traditional Crafts in Lucknow

The fine needlecraft of chikankari was introduced to India from Persia during the Mughal Empire in the 18th century. Now centered in Uttar Pradesh’s capital of Lucknow, 200 miles east of Agra, this exquisite textile art consists of tiny ivory swirls of hand-stitched flowers and leaves, usually spread over pure white khadi (cotton).

Qilasaaz is considered one of the most skilled embroidery collectives, founded by Maharani Vijaya Khan of Mahmudabad as an empowerment project for rural women lacking other employment opportunities. India Beat arranges private appointments with her for serious collectors on a two-day Awadhi culture immersion in the City of Nawabs.

Stay at the stately Taj Mahal Lucknow, tour the Bara Imambara mosque, explore local markets, and join an evening street food walk—the city is famous for a warm-spiced, slow-roasted stew called Khaas Nihari, prepared in large pots and sealed with a veil of dough.

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Photography credit: Stitching chikankari in the palace at Mahmudabad. DITTE ISAGER/EDGE REPS

In the Press: Crafts in Lucknow, Bloomberg

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