The divine swan otherwise known as "Annapakshi" in Sanskrit, is a mythical bird that has been revered for its grace and beauty for centuries. Legend says that this bird flew down to Earth from heaven. Its elegant feathers and crest resemble the peacock while its body and beak bear semblance to a swan. In the ancient scriptures of the Rigveda, the bird is believed to have had the ability to separate milk from water and was the 'vaahanam' (vehicle) of Goddess Saraswathi. Our country's literature also states that Lake Mansarovar situated near the Himalayas was the summer abode of the swans. Also called as Hamsa, it plays an important role in the mythical love story of Nala and Damayanti, where it carries messages and historical information between the two of them.
Captivating Characters in Culture
A symbol of morality, the Annapakshi is widely renowned in culture and Indian folklore. In Hinduism, these birds represent the connection between the spiritual and material world in perfect harmony. Its elegance is personified and engraved into temple architecture and is also depicted in the brass lamps of Tamil Nadu, commonly called as 'kuthu villakus'. These lamps are used for auspicious occasions to dispel the darkness in the physical and spiritual realm.
As a true representative of all things pure, the Annapakshi is also believed to have wisdom and knowledge to choose truth over falsehood, real over make-believe and virtue over sin.
Firmly fixed in knowledge, his Self is content and well-established within. He is called the true Yogin. He is a knower.”
— Paramahamsa Upanishad, Chapter 4
Tales to Threads
Manifested in history and mythology since time immemorial, these exquisite birds have a special place in our lives and our wardrobes. A beautiful blend of elaborate elegance, they are showcased in myriad stylized forms as magnificent motifs in fabric. In Kanchipuram silks, a row of strutting Annapakshis can be seen as a rich, captivating gold brocade. Magnificent to look at, they are also hand-woven into gold zari motifs on the saree's pallu, swaying their gracious presence into the warps and wefts.
The weavers from Kanchipuram saw the Annapakshi motif as a holy representation of a divine being that could distinguish between good and evil. It was also considered to be an auspicious symbol that brought with it wealth and prosperity to the weaver and the wearer.
A recurring imagery, a musical medley, a laudable language - motifs carry the heart and soul of the many elements inspired by nature, culture and life itself. At Sundari Silks, we present to you the graceful Annapakshi, the Queen of Motifs, and its narration of tales as old as time, interspersed in our signature silk sarees from the temple town of Kanchipuram.