Nowadays, modern clothes have flooded the Indian market, and people often shy away from traditional garments. Though traditional clothes differ from state to state, one of the clothes remains almost synonymous with Indian culture and tradition, the handloom sari. Despite the machine-made garments that are easy and cheap, the traditional sari is still favoured and worn on festivals and special occasions.
Handloom weavers take months of hard work to manufacture a single sari. The processes include spinning, warping, piecing, weaving, and finishing. In older days, colours or dyes used were sourced naturally. Though artificial dyes have taken much of their place, there is still the existence of natural dyes that are suddenly increasing in popularity today. Saris are made of natural fabrics like cotton, silk or linen, though modern Georgette, chiffon and crepe saris are both famous and aesthetic. Festival saris are usually 9 yards in length and 4 feet in width. Saris are accompanied by a fitted blouse called choli. Cholis are traditionally made from the same material as the sari and may also be of matching designs.
Weaving was also seen as a medium of freedom struggle against the British. It is said that the British would discourage any form of weaving in the country as their machine-made garments were unable to compete with the handloom ones from India. Thus weaving and handlooms gradually became a symbol of Swadeshi in the freedom movement of India. After independence, handloom tradition and sari weaving became much prosperous and attracted attention worldwide, particularly in the Americas, Europe, Britain, and east and south-east Asia.
It is important to note that like Indian culture and traditions, weaving techniques, designs, and patterns also undergo various changes across the subcontinent. Due to the length of the article, only the most authenticated saris widely available in India are mentioned. It is strongly encouraged to have regional designs that are wisely developed, keeping aesthetic viewpoint in mind, and discouraged to get attracted to cheap, user-friendly, and ultra-modern garments that are only designed like a sari. If you do not know how to wear a sari, don’t worry. See videos available online and have a try. You can indeed become an expert after a few repeated trials.
1)Benarasi Sari :
As the name suggests, Benarasi sari originated from the ancient city of Benaras, now called Varanasi. The designs primarily composed of floral and foliate motifs with the use of gold threads. These are one of the most expensive and most beautiful saris worn on special occasions like wedding.
2)Chanderi Sari :
It originated from the Chanderi town of Madhya Pradesh in the ancient India. Chanderi saris primarily use chanderi pattern of coins, small florets, peacocks and geometric designs. The material may be silk or cotton.
3)Muga Silk Sari :
Muga silk is wild silk found in the Brahmaputra valley of Assam. They have natural yellowish-golden colour with a shimmering, glossy texture. Sari made of muga silk is produced only in Assam but revered worldwide for its durability and quality.
4)Baluchari Sari :
This sari originated from a place called Baluchar in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, but is more famous in Bishnupur of Bankura district. It depicts scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata and historically from courts of the Nawabs.
5)Bandhani Sari :
This sari is famous in the western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Bandhan in Sanskrit means to tie, and this refers to the unique decorative style of tie and dye in making this sari. This is one of the oldest techniques of weaving prevalent during the Indus Valley Civilization 4000 years ago.
6)Sambalpuri Sari :
Originating from Sambalpur region of Odisha, Sambalpuri saris are very famous for their designs of sankha (shell), chakra (wheel) and phula (flower). The threads are first tie-dyed and then woven into fabrics, the entire process taking many weeks.
7)Pochampally Sari :
One of the best sari handloom from Telengana and adjoining Andhra Pradesh, Pochampally sari is the uniform of Air India women crew. Their traditional geometric designs in ikat style of weaving set them apart.
8)Paithani Sari :
Paithani Sari originated in ancient Aurangabad near today’s Paithani town. It is woven with the best quality of silk and gold threads and thus is very expensive. The influence of Ajanta cave paintings can be seen in Paithani motifs.
9)Kanchipuram Silk Sari : se1
This sari is famous not only in Kanchipuram and Tamil Nadu but also throughout the world. It is woven from purely mulberry silk thread. It is worn on bridal and special occasions by Indian women. Its unique weaving technique and designs inspired by temples and nature make it one of the most beautiful, durable and long-lasting saris.
So which sari do you like the most. Do mention in the comment section below.
Written by – Himadri Paul