From Needle to Artistry: Exploring The Enchanting Chikankari Stitches

Delicate stitches and intricate designs weave the story of Chikankari, an ancient embroidery art form from Lucknow. The intricacies of the Chikankari stitches by skilled Chikankari artisans have been mesmerizing the fashion world for centuries. Chikankari stitching art with its fine stitches and elaborate motifs embodies elegance and grace and is an example of timeless beauty. There are various stitches in this craft that are synonymous with beauty and sophistication. In this blog, let us explore the different types of Chikankari stitches. You can read along to check the types of Chikankari stitches with images.

A Glimpse into Chikankari's Rich History

Chikankari was popularised by Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal Empire, Jehangir in and around 1611 AD.  Despite having its roots in Persia, the art form truly sprang to life in the royal courts of Lucknow. Noor Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir, was thought to have contributed significantly to the acceptance of Chikankari. Chikankari has developed over the years and changed to reflect many cultural influences, giving rise to a wide variety of forms and themes.

The Art of Chikankari: Intricate Stitches and Techniques

Chikankari is a labor-intensive and meticulous process where a fine needle and thread are used by skilled Chikankari artisans, who are also known as karigars, to sew exquisite patterns on fabric. Have you wondered how many types of Chikankari are there? The answer could be surprising!

There are 32 complex stitches of Chikankari that weave elegance and royalty into fabric. The art of Chikankari stitching involves master craftsmanship and delicate hands so that the Chikankari stitches can weave poetry on fabric.

Different Types of Chikankari Stitches

Let us explore some of the different stitches of Chikankari.

Darhi Phanda 

The Chikankari stitch called darhi phanda is used to embroider the centres of the flowers in a typical chikan work motif. Murri and phanda are millet- and rice-shaped French knots, respectively that look beautiful in floral designs.

Gol Murri

It is a delicate 2-leaf pattern stitch that is used to fill the centre of flowers. These knotted stitches are one of the most popular Chikankari embroideries you can find. 

Chana Patti

In this intricate Chikankari embroidery, you can find leafy designs coming out of a stack, giving it an impression of foliage in the embroidery. The tiny leaves often look like the leaves of a pea plant earning it the name. 


The hathkathi stitch is done on the right side of the fabric and can be used to make various floral and running designs. This intricate stitch involves making a circular design after every straight stitch. 


This unique stitch is a vertical stitch and is similar as those required to complete buttonholes. They are typically embroidered on the edges of the fabric as scalloping. 


The Jaali stitch ensures that the back of the fabric has the same flawless appearance as the front by never drawing the thread through the fabric. After carefully separating the warp and weft threads, the material is stitched with tiny buttonholes.


This is one of the Chikankari stitches where six strands are used to create a long-running stitch called Tepchi. Four threads are crossed over one, and one is picked up creating a queue. It is mostly used as a foundation for additional stitches. This can also be used alone to create a simple shape.


Pechni stitch is used for creating the branches of floral and foliage designs. This stitch is made by entwining the thread and creating a running stitch. 

Seedhi & Ulti Bakhiya

In Chikankari stitching art, the double back or shadow stitch carried out from the wrong side of the fabric is called Bakhiya.  This stitch produces a herringbone-style design. On the right side, the shadow of the thread can be seen through the fabric giving it an ethereal look.


This Chikankari stitch is a detachable aperture stitch. This method involves punching a hole in the fabric and teasing the threads apart. Then, it is secured in place all over using tiny, straight stitches that are stitched with a single thread on the fabric's right side. It typically has six strands and creates the centre of a flower.


This stitch is done on the right side of the fabric. Zanzeera is a tiny chain stitch that is done with just one thread. It is used to finalise the outline of the leaf or petal forms after one or more outlines have previously been done. It is incredibly fine and adds elegance to any Chikankari design.


It is a stem stitch that is applied to the fabric's backside. It creates a solid line of back stitch on the right side of the fabric.

Some of the other Chikankari stitches made popular by the CHikankari artisans are Banarsi, Turpai, Kangan, Dhaniya-patti and many more.

Preserving Chikankari: A Labor of Love

The art of Chikankari stitching must be preserved in light of modernization and shifting fashion tastes. Chikankari and its environmentally friendly creations are actively being enjoyed and promoted by our favourite Bollywood celebs. At House of Chikankari we can help sustain the livelihood of talented and skilled Chikankari artisans and preserve the survival of this entrancing craft for future generations. We honour the tradition of Chikankari stitching art and ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy the captivating Chikankari stitches.

FAQs on Chikankari Stitches

What art form is Chikankari?

Chikankari is a handicraft form in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Different types of Chikankari stitches are used to create various fashion garments like kurtas, sarees, palazzos, and handbags.

What is Chikankari embroidery called?

Chikankari embroidery is often called shadow work because this craft involves complex Chikankari stitches sometimes even on the wrong side of the fabric.

What is the inspiration for Chikankari embroidery?

Flourishing under the Mughals, Chikankari stitching art drew its inspiration from Persian designs of nature and landscapes.

Which city is famous for Chikankari embroidery?

Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh is famous for Chikankari embroidery.