Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Traditional sarees of India

The Tradition
What is a Saree

  • The saree / Sari is a traditional garment for women. Sari / Saree comprises a long single piece of fabric, approximately 5-6 metres in length and 1 metre in width, expertly wound around a woman's body, with the loose end thrown over the shoulder called pallu. Worn with a choli, or short, fitting blouse, the fabric itself can be very detailed.
  • In ancient Indian tradition the navel of the Supreme Being is considered to be the source of life and creativity, hence the midriff is to be left bare by the saree.
  • The oldest Indian draped garment and men wear dhoti. They say that until the 14th century, the dhoti was worn by both men and women.
Brocades of Banaras
  • Brocade weaving, especially with gold and silver, has been an age-old tradition in India.
  • There are two broad classes of brocades. Brocades of pure silk or silk and cotton blends and zari brocades with gold and silver threads.
  • Banaras is one of the rich weaving craft centre of India, famous for Brocade saris. (In UP)
  • As in the History of the India Banaras is known since regveda period of Ramayana and Mahabharat Banarasi Sharee and Fabrics as known Hiranya Vastra.
  • In the ancient time Banaras was famous for the weaving of cotton saree and dress materials, but slowly switched over to silk weaving, during the Mughal period weaving of brocades with intricate designs using gold & Silver threads was the speciality of Banaras.
  • Most brocades usually have strong Mughul influences in the design, such as intricate intertwining floral and foliate motifs.

Baluchari from Bengal
  • Baluchari saree is from Bengal.
  • Baluchari refers to the traditional weaving of silk saris using bengal silk.
  • The cloth is very fine and transparent with a soft drape
  • The sari has large flowing kalka motifs in the centre surrounded by narrow ornamental borders.
  • These are framed by a series of figural motifs worked in rows around the kalkas.
  • The four traditional colours are blue, yellow, red and green. The motifs are entirely in silver zari. 
  • It is usually five yards in length and 42" wide.
  • The body of the saree is covered with small butis and a beautiful floral design runs across the edges.
  • The pallu has the main decoration depicting narrative motifs.
  • Nowadays Baluchari style sarees are woven using highly mercerised cotton thread and silky threadwork ornament in bold colors.
  • The Baluchari saris are characterized by artistic motifs depicting scenes from Ramayana or sculptures made on historical temples weaved on the sari borders.

Chanderi from Madhya Pradesh

  • Chanderi refers to a shimmering cotton fabric which is famous for being light weight and having sheer texture and glossy transparency. Practiced exclusively in a town called Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh.
  •  Saris weaved out of chanderi are best for summer wear.
  • Motifs used in chanderi weaving are mostly inspired from nature (earth and sky) and chanderi tempels.
  • Few of them are Swans (hamsa), gold coins (asharfi), trees, fruits, flowers and heavenly bodies.
  • Another interesting feature of the Chanderi Saree which distinguishes it from other is its rich gold border and two gold bands on the pallu.
  • Soft pastel hues characterize chanderi fabrics.
  • bright colour borders on an off white base, or red on black, also exist now.

Tanchoi from Gujrat

  • The Tanchoi saree is one of most popular variety of the traditional silk sari from Gujarat.
  • The technique of weaving Tanchoi saris was brought to India form China.
  • The name came from the three Choi brothers who brought the technique to our country.
  • Some extra threads are added to give the saris an appearance embossed of being embroidered.
  • The technique is similar to that of brocade
  • Tanchoi saree resembles a fine miniature with vibrant colours.
  • The usual ground is bright blue, purple, green or red. Sometimes the pallu is done more solidly with peacocks, fowers.
  • In tanchoi sarees, the designs are alway floral and birds like flying birds, paired cocks
  • Tanchoi silk sarees are also in dazzling floral, geometrical and paisley designs.
  • The Tanchoi silks are one of the most favored varieties of wedding saris preferred by the women.
  • These are generally of the heavy silk type. Thus they appear gorgeous when worn during the weddings and on other festive occasions.
  • Tanchoi saris of Gujarat generally have a satin finish.

Kanjeevaram silk sarees from Tamil Nadu

  • Kanjeevaram silk sarees are the most well known of Indian silk sarees fromTamil Nadu. They famous for their royal look and rich feel.
  • The Kanjeevaram sari gets its name from the town - Kanchipuram, a little temple town in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Kanjeevaram sari is made of a heavy silk called Kanjivaram silk, it is almost thicker than other silk and expensive and durable that it can be washed in water at home.
  • They make this varity from Korean and Chinese silk but only mulberry silk produced in Karnataka and few parts of Tamil Nadu, is right silk for the classic Kanjeevaram sari.
  • The weaver creates the border, body and pallu separately and then interlocks them together in an impossible to detach joint.
  • Weaver takes about 10-12 days to weave a simple Kanjeevaram sari while decorative ones could take up to 20 days. Kanjeevarams are favoured for their durability.
  • The common motifs are Peacock and parrot are the most common motifs. with traditional patterns derived from the Pallava temples, palaces and paintings.
  • the 'zari' work in the border and the Pallu are generally woven in gold-dipped silver threads.


  1. Wow....all the Sarees collection is looking so nice i really like the color and designs specially the first one is looking awesome thanks for sharing such a beautiful collection with us


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  3. I love chanderi fabric...Not heavy as other sarees..Kareena you rocked in black...So simple..Black always make a uniqueness in any occasion...I shop my sarees from Cbazaar...I think there is ravishing collections..have alook on it,...http://www.cbazaar.in/saree/pt-sa.html

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  11. Awesome collection of India's traditional wear sarees of various states. Except most of the state also produces tradition sarees of local area which is famous world wide, such maheswari saree, bhagalpuri silk sarees etc


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