Zardozi work is a metal thread embroidery that is a speciality of the city of Agra. It was once used to embellish the ensemble of the kings and royals. Moreover, walls of royal tents, wall hangings, scabbards and paraphernalia of regal horses and elephants were also done in zardozi. This beautiful embroidery involves making elaborate designs with gold and silver threads. Precious stones and pearls add to its beauty. Zardozi has existed in India from the times of the Rig Veda and there are numerous mentions of zari in the attires of gods. However, at that time, the embroidery was done with real gold leaves and silver wires. Today, copper wires with a golden or silver polish are used along with a silk thread. Two Persian words 'zar' meaning gold and 'dozi' meaning embroidery make up the word 'zardozi'. This Persian embroidery form gained significance in the 17th century under the rule of Mughal emperor Akbar. The process of doing zardozi embroidery is an intricate one. Firstly, the craftsmen trace the design on fabrics of silk, velvet or satin. It is then stretched over a wooden frame and needles are used to weave in zardozi. Today it is done on lehengas, sarees, salwaar kameez and even shoes.

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