Traditional Phulkari tales from Punjab

Phulkari is one of the excellent traditional artwork originated from Punjab in the 15th century that is now scattered all over the world. The meaning of the artwork hidden in its name Phulkari where Phul refers to flower and kari means craft, which means the floral craft.

The phulkari embroidery was done by the women of small towns in Punjab. The colorful and amazing hand stitched phulkari dupatta, shawls, bagh design lehenga and salwar kameez are very popular among the ladies during auspicious occasions and weddings.

The Phulkari Fabric

The various variety of fabric is used for weaving depending on a garment it can be cotton, georgette, khadi, crepe and chiffon. But in the past days women prefer tough fabric as the right choice for phulkari embroidery because it makes the stitch easy to count and can be done without using embroidery frame.

Stitch & Color of Phulkari

The traditional artwork is done using long and short darn stitch starting from the wrong side with colorful silk thread on the tough khadi fabric, however, the various sides stitching (vertical, diagonal, and horizontal) is done nowadays. The shorter the darn stitch, the exquisite the cloth looks. The silk thread used for embroidery in early time was bought from the Afghanistan, Kashmir, Bengal, and China.

The phulkari embroidery refers to the vibrant colors. Motifs inspired from nature such as garden, flowers, peacock and various geometrical patterns created on the cloth. Mostly used colors for phulkari are red, yellow, orange, pink, blue and green. The shades of red color are mainly used for the weddings and auspicious occasions by the ladies. The dark shade of color such as blue, black, brown and even white is used in bagh embroidery which is worn by the aged ladies.

Phulkari Items

Phulkari embroidery is done on clothes like lehenga, sherwani, salwar kameez to the turban, shawl, and dupatta. But nowadays you get the wide range of phulkari items in the market or you can buy online.

Today you get the traditional phulkari art not only in sarees, choli, clutches, handbags, women & kids footwear (juttis), but also as a home décor item like the wall hanging, curtains, cushion covers, table mat, pillow covers and Bed sheets.

Phulkari Saree and Dupatta

The Types of Phulkari

Bawan Bagh:

One of the unique designs of phulkari art which is handcrafted mosaic in 52 different patterns on single cloth.

Til Patra

The sesame seeds style embroidery, which is known from its name “til patra” the spreading of seeds on the cloth.


The chamaas phulkari is famous in Delhi, Gurgaon, Rohtak and Hisar. This style of phulkari is done by incorporating tiny different style mirrors into the cloth and stitched with threads of blue, yellow, red and grey color.

Senchi Phulkari

The design famous in Ferozepur and nearby places. In senchi phulkari, you get the embroidery of birds and ornaments like necklace, rings, bracelets, and earrings.

Darshan Dawar

The cloth decorated specially for the temple and gurudwara as an offering to God.


The surajmukhi phulkari design is the most popular sunflower pattern embroidery.

Panchranga and Satranga

The most popular embroidery in bagh done in the V-shaped pattern (Chevron) using the 5 to 7 different colors thread.

Wari da bagh

The embroidery symbolizing happiness did on the red cloth using golden yellow color.

Chope and subhar

The two popular patterns mostly used in weddings for brides. The chope embroidery is done on the border of both sides of the red color cloth. Suber is decorated with 5 motifs, one in the center and other four on each corner of the cloth.

Ghungat Bagh

Gunghat bagh is the dupatta covering head usually worn by the brides. The heavy embroidery motifs’ designing is done in all 4 corners of the fabric.


The neelak embroidery is done with the vibrant red and yellow color thread on the black or red cloth background. It is a mix and match of phulkari embroidery with metals.


The thirma embroidery refers to the symbol of purity. In early times it was worn by the widow and elder ladies.

Maintenance of Phulkari

The phulkari garments need extra care. The entire needlework using silk thread is done on the cloth which should be hand washed with mild detergent otherwise it might discolor your cloth. Iron it on the reverse side and getting it dry cleaned will keep your cloth alive and attractive.

Current Status of Phulkari Embroidery

A few years back the heritage of India phulkari art was diminishing that was saved due to the step is taken forward by the NGO’s and another government craft center for traditional phulkari work is now growing in the Indian and in an international market. The known faces of the fashion industry are also promoting phulkari embroidery by including the phulkari to their collections. It also awarded as geographical indication status in India.

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