Saree-The Traditional Indian Attire

      The Indian popular wear called as ‘saree’ or ‘sari’ has been in existence for more than 5000 years which is mentioned in the Vedas. This garment is in style for over so many years for the simple reason of its simplicity and practical usage. According to few historical records of India during Shunga period of 200 – 50 B.C, north Indian terracotta depicts a woman wearing a saree covering the entire body. In Maharashtras, Murals and demi-gods of total gods of the Ajanta caves are two representations of women wearing sarees draping around the entire body. According to the costume historians, dhoti was worn by both men and women till 14th century. 1st-6th century CE sculptures show goddesses and dancers wear dhoti of fishtail version. Some versions of the history of Indian clothing trace the sari back to the Indus valley civilization, which flourished in 2800-1800 BC.

      It is the basic wear of rural people of India. The name ‘saree’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Chira’ which means cloth. To suit the local conditions, it is designed by the Indian people in the earlier days. Ancient western historians thought

about this saree that there were cloth growing trees in India. The length of it varies from 5 to 9.5 yards and it is draped around the entire body. With the simple trial, we can turn it either as a working dress or party-wear.

      Middle class women wear 5-6 yard saree which is comfortable to them to do their household work. Rural women at the time of their work, tuck the same length above the ankles. If they need to work in fields, they tuck the front pleats between the legs to the back, and tie the upper portion round the waist.

      In ancient days, a nine yard saree used to be worn by the Indian woman with embroidery, embellishments and gold designing. It was worn in the way of working saree. A gold silver or cloth was fixed firmly to keep pallu, upper part of pleats and folds intact. This type of dress was worn by the famous female historians especially at the time of war like Jhansi’s queen Laxmi bai, Kittur Chennamma, Belawadi Mallamma etc. Tight tucking of the front pleats in the back was called ‘Soldier’s tuck’ or ‘Veeragacche’.

      Generally the Indian climate is warm. So, Saree is more suitable for this subcontinent. One ancient statue shows a man in a draped robe which some sari researchers believe to be a precursor of the sari. In olden days, men also wear a dress like saree called ’dhoti’. In those days, there was hardly any difference between Saree and dhoti. Men also liked to wear colorful Sarees with brocaded borders that could perhaps be interchanged in needy times. The upper portion of the saree-length which covers the chest is only missing.

      Saree is made of fabrics like cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers. There are large variety of sarees found in India which differs in their motif design, texture, substance and in many other aspects. Saree is nothing but a long drape dyed and painted with fascinating colors and pigments to attract the viewers. However it is the essence of women's fashion in India which gives perfect beauty and looks to each and every pretty women. It comes in the Hindu mythology one of the epic of Mahabharat where Draupadi Vastraharan where he queen of Pandavs wearing a never ending long drape that Dusasan could not part it entirely from her body. However, one could imagine how old the history of Indian drapes or saree is. Since it has been recorded that spinning yarns and weaving fabrics was known to the ancient people of Sindhu civilization who had discovered cotton and also learned to grow and spin and weave silk from the Chinese people. A single drape was worn by both the man and women in those day but in course of time the drapes for men became comparatively shorter and they used to cover only their lower parts from waist at work and home as well. On the other hand, drapes for the women became longer as they have to cover their body from foot to neck all the times. By passage of time painting and dyeing fabrics with many colors and pigments derived from the vegetable and other sources were put in use by the weaver which was intensely liked by the womenfolk. The traditional 6 yard sari allows for generous pleating and draping around the body and over the shoulders giving much comfort that you can even run a marathon in this without any problem.

Different Varieties of Sarees

      The sarees have some common features even if they differ entirely in design motif and other aspects. The shared texture is meant to guard against the evil eye, misfortune, infertility, marital dispute and others. Sarees are available in all varieties such as cotton, silk and synthetic. These can also be classified into many categories according to the work done i.e. embroidery, zari etc. and purpose of the saree i.e. daily wear, party wear, bridal wear and so on Starting from the northern India we can say that it is the center of saree export from India .

      Varanasi is well known as the giant saree production center of India. Khinchabs and Amru brocades are made here. The Zari in the Khinchabs almost overshadow the original silk. The Amru brocades are woven in silk, not in zari thread where typical Amru brocade is the Tanchoi. These are woven in all shades of red, orange and yellow. Similarly, south India has Kanjeevaram sarees are hand-woven silks, with unique practice in Tamil Nadu. Kornad sarees are also famous here. Karnataka is known for llkul Sarees which is made in e earth colors of rust, mustard, green and ochre, and woven with zari besides this Mysore crepe, Mysore silk or the Chamundi silk are also known far and wide. Muslin sarees made in Kerala for bridal wear are also very chic.

      Eastern India has very famous sarees like Baluchari sarees of Murshidabad, the dhoop- chhaon sarees of Bishnupur West Bengal and other wedding sarees. Baavanbuti sarees of Bihar with 52 motifs and Vichitrapuri sarees of Orissa is a wedding saree with ikkat; works are renowned. Pasapalli or the Saktapar are the other sarees from Orissa. Equally the western India has sarees like Paithani or shallu with gold zari work and Astapuri saree of Maharashtra is well known. The Gharchola and Bhandhini or the tie-and-dye motifs of Gujarat and Rajasthan are the finest sarees of India. Panetar Saree is also made in the region with gold zari work.