The Indian saree is one of the most versatile garments. Available in a number of varieties, the saree can be tied in a number of styles. Different regions of India specialize in the production of different varieties of sarees. Similarly, people from different regions adopt different styles of tying the saree. Normally, a saree has a length of 5 to 6 yards; however, certain styles of draping a saree require that its length be 9 yards. Indian sarees are available in a number of materials such as cotton, silk and polyester or a mixture of these materials. This article aims at giving a brief account of the different types of Indian sarees and the different styles of draping the saree.
Types of sarees produced in India
The following are the major types of sarees that are produced in the different regions of India:
Pochampally sarees: The famous Pochampally sarees are woven in the small cluster of villages around Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. This cluster includes the villages of Pochampally, Koyalagudam, Puttapakka, Elanki and Chautupal. The tradition of weaving these sarees in these villages has been passed on from one generation to another. These sarees are usually woven from pure silk. The silk used in these sarees is brought from Bangalore while the jari or the golden thread is brought from Surat. Motifs such as elephants, flowers, parrots and diamonds are traditionally used in these sarees. The weavers are, however, developing new designs, keeping in view the changing trends and the preferences of the customers.
Ikat sarees: These sarees are woven in Orissa. They are very much similar to the Pochampally sarees of Andhra Pradesh.
Patola sarees: The famous Patola sarees are manufactured in Patan in Gujarat. They are also very much similar in design to the Pochampally sarees.
Garhwal sarees: The town of Garhwal near Hyderabad is famous for the production of Garhwal sarees. These sarees are known for their attractive borders, which are woven using silk threads. The sarees are usually woven from pure cotton, silk or a combination of cotton and silk. These sarees are also called ‘Kupadam’ and ‘Kumbam’ sarees.
Venkatagiri sarees: The Venkatagiri sarees woven in the state of Andhra Pradesh are quite popular. These sarees are usually made of cotton. Traditional motifs such as flowers, animals and birds are woven into these sarees using a combination of silk thread and cotton thread.
Chikan sarees: Chikan embroidered sarees produced in Lucknow are very famous all over India and even internationally. In this type of embroidery that is commonly known as Chikankari, different effects can be created using different types of thread and stitches. Initially, Chikan embroidery was done using white thread on muslin cloth that is opaque. However, in modern times, Chikankari is done using threads of different colors. Synthetic fabrics are also being used. Keeping in view the latest fashion trends, sequins and other decorative items are being used in Chikan sarees to give them a trendy look.
Paithani sarees: The Paithani saree is a saree woven in silk in the Paithan region in Maharashtra. These sarees usually have a plain or spotted body and a heavy golden border and pallu. Sometimes threads of two different colors are used in weaving the saree to create a special effect. Paithani sarees are generally available in traditional colors such as red, green, sky blue, magenta, purple, yellow and pink. The silk thread used in the production of these sarees is brought in from Bangalore.
Kota sarees: Kota sarees are sarees which are produced in Kota, Rajasthan. These sarees are also called ‘Kota Doria’. Initially, these sarees used to be produced in pure cotton, but now they are also prepared using synthetic yarn. The unique feature of a Kota saree is the checks formed in the saree while weaving. These checks are formed either using golden thread or ordinary thread. Usually, these sarees are manufactured in bright colors such as orange, yellow, red, blue, purple and green.
Calcutti sarees: Calcutta specializes in the production of pure cotton sarees. These sarees, popularly called Calcutti sarees, are famous all over India and even in other markets.
Bandhni sarees: Bandhni sarees are sarees that are produced mainly in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. They are also called ‘Bandhej’ sarees. These sarees are produced using the art of ‘tie and dye’. Bandhej work is generally undertaken on silk and cotton cloth. Mostly, natural and bright colors are used in these sarees. Tie and dye is carried out to form different patterns. The ‘Gharchola’ is a type of tie and dye saree produced in Gujarat and Rajasthan. This saree is traditionally used as a wedding saree.
Kanchipuram sarees: The Kanchipuram saree is a pure silk saree produced in the temple town of Kanchipuram in South India. The silk used in these sarees is manufactured in Karnataka, while the golden thread or jari used is brought from Surat. The best known patterns in Kanchipuram sarees are ‘Mayilkann’ (peacock’s eye), ‘Kuyilkann’ (nightingale’s eye), ‘Rudraksham’ (Rudraksha beads) and ‘Gopuram’ (temples). The designs in these sarees are generally inspired by nature and by the temples in the region. In an original Kanchipuram saree, the saree and the pallu are woven separately and are then stitched together.
Maheshwari sarees: The Maheshwari sarees are one of the types of sarees that are popular all over India and even internationally. These sarees were originally designed for the family and friends of Queen Ahilyabai Holkar, who ruled Indore in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The designs in these sarees were originally inspired by the designs on the walls of the Fort of Maheshwar. However, the patterns and colors used in these sarees are changing nowadays, keeping in view the changing trends.
Chanderi sarees: Chanderi sarees are produced in a small town called Chanderi in the state of Madhya Pradesh. They are woven using a combination of silk and cotton threads. These sarees usually have a thick golden border. The designs used in these sarees are based on hunting scenes, trees, men, women, birds, fruits, flowers and heavenly bodies. Generally, subtle colors are used in these sarees. Sometimes these sarees have golden buttis or golden checks all over the body.
Baluchari saree: The famous Baluchari sarees are produced in Baluchar in West Bengal. These sarees are made of figured silk, with designs brocaded on them. Typically, motifs of large flowers and shrubs are used in these sarees. Sometimes Indian mythological scenes are also patterned on these sarees.
Tanchoi sarees: Tanchoi sarees are produced in Surat in the state of Gujarat. Figures of birds, trees and flowers are commonly used in these sarees. Sometimes, the pallu is richly decorated with large figures of peacocks, flower baskets and hunting scenes. These sarees are made from a special fabric called Tanchoi, which is woven using a distinctive technique. This technique is a combination of the Indian and Chinese styles of weaving.
Ilkal sarees: The Ilkal saree is woven in the town Ilkal in Karnataka. Kasuti embroidery is done on these sarees, which is a special form of embroidery done in Karnataka. This type of embroidery is highly intricate. The typical embroidery patterns used in Ilkal sarees are chariots, lotuses, elephants, lamps, conch shells, palanquins, etc. This type of embroidery is done without knots so that both the sides of the fabric look the same. Ilkal sarees measure 9 yards in length. The end regions of the pallu are cut in different shapes. The colors that are traditionally used in these sarees are pomegranate red, parrot green and peacock blue. Bridal wear Ilkal sarees are made in a special color which is called ‘Giri Kumkum’ in that region. The red-colored pallu is a distinguishing feature of Ilkal sarees.
Jamdani sarees: Jamdani sarees are woven in Bangladesh. These sarees are made from a special type of cloth called Jamdani. This cloth is woven using a special technique, which is a combination of Bengali and Middle Eastern weaving techniques. In these sarees, patterns are woven using the same colored thread as the base cloth. Sometimes, gold and silver threads are also used for weaving patterns.
Mysore silk sarees: Mysore silk sarees are sarees that are made from a special type of silk that is produced in Mysore, Karnataka. These sarees are very light in weight and have a unique shine to them. In spite of being delicate, these sarees are highly durable. Mysore silk is one of the purest forms of silk.
Banarasi silk sarees: The silk sarees produced in Banaras, popularly known as Banarasi silk sarees, are famous the world over. In the city of Banaras, four types of sarees are mainly produced, i.e. pure silk sarees, the Shattir saree, the georgette saree and the organza saree. The pure silk Banarasi saree is the most famous of these. Sometimes, pure gold and silver threads are made use of in these sarees.
Mangalgiri sarees: Mangalgiri is a town located near Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. This town is famous for its sarees, which are popularly known as Mangalgiri sarees. Usually, these sarees have a golden border and are made from pure cotton. Mangalgiri is also famous for its cotton dress materials.
India is a country of diversities. Different parts of India are rich in different aspects. Most of the regions have their own special type of saree. The saree has been widely accepted as corporate wear in India. It is now in demand even in international markets. Different styles of wearing the saree are accepted in different parts of India.
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