Chanderi is a town of historical importance, surrounded by hills, lakes and forests. Chanderi finds its mention right from the Mahabharata period. Shishupal was the king of Chanderi then. The historical data and archaeological evidences yield that the area was under the rule of various dynasties in succession, viz. Maurya, Sunga, Naga, Gupta, Pushyabhuti and Pratihara.
The documented history of Chanderi goes back to the early 11th century and is a kaleidoscope of movement and activity prompted by its strategic location. On the borders of Malwa and Bundelkhand, the town dominated the trade routes of Central India and was proximate to the arterial route to the ancient ports of Gujarat as well as to Malwa.Consequently, Chanderi became an important military outpost, prized by rulers with power or ambition, and repeatedly experienced the might of men who moulded the destiny of India.
Legend has it that at one point of time Chanderi was so thickly forested that Babur, the Mughal Emperor could trace the fort only after searching the depths of the jungle for six months. Though most of these dense forests are no more now, but there is still a tract of thick woods when you approach it from Shivpuri.
At a distance of 19 km from present Chanderi town is situated the Buddhi (old) Chanderi. Buddhi Chanderi is situated on the banks of Urvashi river. It is believed that the Chaidnagar mentioned in Puranas is same as Buddhi Chanderi. There is a myth that when Raja Nala left Damayanti asleep in the forests of Narwar she moved through dense forests and reached Chaidnagar protecting herself from wild animals. A number of 9th and 10th century Jain temples are there in Buddhi Chanderi attracting thousands of Jain pilgrims from all over the country.
Chanderi is also famous for its brocades and muslins, especially for its hand-woven Chanderi sarees. Here, master weavers use silk and cotton to create dazzling weaves, distinguished by beautiful borders. Usually in subtle hues, Chanderi sarees have a sophistication, hard to match. The Chanderi saree is a common name in middle & rich societies and is in high demand everywhere.
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