Tanchoi and the Chinese Connection #AtoZChallenge 2017

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Is 80:20 worth it?

Today  I really want to  abandon the challenge. It has been quite tough finding time to post, read, comment and share. What is most disappointing is the fact that this effort has proved to be another 80:20 exercise where 80% effort produces 20% results.

And worse still,  this morning, the news of the loss of a dear friend put things in their right perspective. For the past three weeks, I’ve been so caught up in this virtual world that I have let many things in my real world slide by. Like calling up friends I haven’t been in touch with.

For the past few months visiting R and meeting her grandson has been upper most on my mind. And that’s where it remained till I finally called her. We made two plans that had to be abandoned because neither of us could find a mutually suitable time in our busy schedules.  Finally during our last call  we decided to meet soon.

Little did I realise that I would meet her a week later .

At her funeral.


Tanchoi and the Chinese Connection

But while doing the research for this post on Tanchoi, I found out that the Tanchoi like the Gara  was actually a Parsi import to India in the 19th Century. The word Tanchoi, is derived from the words Tan ( three) and Choi ( the Chinese master). It seems that so enamoured were the Parsis of the brocade fabric imported by the Chinese traders that three brothers from Surat actually went to China to learn the art of weaving the tanchoi from master weaver Choi. And back they came with this fabulous satiny fabric that was called Tanchoi.

Now isn’t that a great story?

My own Tanchoi

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The orange and peach Tanchoi given to me by my mother in law to replace my zari tanchoi is hardier and has lasted for 36 years

My first tanchoi was presented to me at my wedding by my mother in law. It was a creamy satin with flowers and creepers in dull brocade. To describe it as stunning is pure understatment. And I was devastated when it ripped. So she gave me her own tanchoi bought at the same time. But since this was without any zari, it has stood the test of time.

Today Tanchoi is woven in Benares which has adopted it as its own tradition. It is woven in a single or double warp with 2-5 colours on the weft which are often of a similar shade on silk. The fabric has a rich satin finish with  nature inspired motifs of flowers and birds.


My friend R was a Parsi. So I felt that even though I am in no mood to write, I thought I should tell you about yet another Parsi tradition that is part of the Indian Textile Tradition.

If you want to know more about this fascinating community of happy people, do have a look at this brief history.

There are several books too like :

  1. The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination

             edited by Sarah Stewart, Firoza Punthakey Mistree, Ursula Sims-Williams

2. Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY by  Sooni Taraporevala

3. A Zoroastrian Tapestry:Art, Religion and Culture by Pheroza J. Godrej and Firoza Punthakey Mistree compares Zoroastrianism to Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.

Join me and hundreds of other bloggers participating in the #AtoZ Challenge 2017. Linking with #BlogBoost and #Blogchatter

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Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. I am sorry for your loss. I can understand what you are going through. Last year I attempted the challenge and my father was hospitalized. I couldnt have managed it if i hadnt pre-scheduled them. I hope the Almighty gives you strength to face this difficult time.

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