Chikan which literally means embroidery is known to have been introduced by Nur Jehan, the wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir. Lucknow is the heart of the chikankari industry today. Chikankari is delicate and is artfully done on a variety of textile fabric like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net, etc. The fabric cannot be too thick or hard, else the embroidery needle won't pierce it. White thread is embroidered on cool, pastel shades of light muslin and cotton garments. Nowadays coloured and silk threads are also being used to do this embroidery.
The process of chikankari includes the following steps: