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Saree is a garment weaved with the threads of tradition and culture of India. Saree is common and uniformly worn attire by people of all strata. Originally, word saree is derived from Sanskrit word shati means strip of cloth. Saree is a female garment which embraces women, making her look elegant and graceful. Different regions have their own cultural representation of saree, in material, in draping and also in patterns. These sarees are obviously important and represent our culture but they are subject to change and have evolved significantly. Saree is one sector which is ever evolving. Change is inevitable and as generation is changing so are their tastes. Saree, we can see today is the combination of our traditional culture and western culture.
The Asavali sarees are popular Gujarati brocade saris. These are a true depiction of the rich cultural heritage of India. The distinguishing feature of this kind is the circular designs known as butis which are woven into the field in form of warp instead of the typical weft insertions. It makes the butis appear horizontal when the saree is worn. The Gujarati brocade is very thick and heavy thereby it is further enhanced with meenakari work. The rich patterns woven on the saree appear all the more incredible because of twill weave.
Asavali sarees are known for their resemblance towards dyes and vibrant colors, high absorbance, light weight and buoyancy. The aesthetic appeal of the sarees is enhanced with the use of floral designs in colored silk against gold zari. The motifs usually has leaves, flowers, stems, outlined by a fine dark line like inlay work and that is what makes the Gujarati brocade stand out amongst other brocades.
Baluchari sarees are made in Bankura District of Bengal. The sarees are woven in silk. These exquisite silk sarees contain mythological stories on their pallu. The pallu has square blocks on which motifs are made by using thread embroidery. Swarnachari is a variety of Baluchari sarees where the sarees are weaved in zari. It takes huge effort to weave this saree.
Banarasi sarees are one of those supreme sarees in India. It is originally from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. It is best known for its gold and silver zari. These sarees are heavily engraved and therefore are perfect for Indian bride's trousseau.
The patterns on this saree are usually leaves, gold weavings, figure with small details, metallic visual effects. This saree is the most preferred saree by brides in north India. Banarasi saree is known for their gold and silver brocade or zari embroidery. This saree is made of silk warp and silk weft on plain/satin ground base, brocaded with extra weft. Banarasi sarees come in many patterns namely pure silk (Katan), Shattir, Organza (Kora) designed beautifully with zari and silk, Georgette, Jangla and Tissue saree.
Bandhani sarees are found mainly in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. It is believed that wearing a bandhani saree brings good future to the bride. Red and black are the colours used in bandhani sarees bandhani. The patterns inscribed in this saree are usually dots, squares, waves and strips. The word Bandhani is derived from the Hindi word “Bandhan” which means tying. Making Bandhani saree is a skilled process involves dyeing a fabric which is tightly tied at several points. The saree is dyed and after that the threads are loosened to create patterns. It is sold folded and with knots tied.
These are the popular dotted saris; the process for making these dotted saris includes washing and degumming the saris followed by dipping them in a mordant for quick dye absorption. They are then folded into four folds first lengthwise and then widthwise. The patterns on the body are then indicated all over the surface with the use of blocks dipped in geru, a red mud color. The cloth is then pinched with the left hand; one knot follows another, using the same thread. After the section in which the background color is to be retained has been knotted, the dyeing is done. This process is repeated till the number of colors to be dyed has been applied.
Dyeing is always done from light to dark colors. The cost of the Bandhej is made according to the number of dots on the sari. An intricate design sari might have up to 7500 dots. The dots may often be in figurative forms of elephant, peacock, or geometric forms of flowers, squares etc.
Bandarulanka sarees are woven in the Machlipatnam in Krishna District. These are compactly woven in 80s count with superfine combed cotton yarn. These saris are characterized by Dobby “Petu” borders and cotton butas. Colors may vary from light pastel shades to earthy tones. They can be worn by women of all age group (urban and rural category). It is also very popular as daily wear.
Batik sarees hail from Shantiniketan regions of West Bengal. Batik refers to process of decorating a cloth by covering a part of it with a coat of wax and then dyeing it. The waxed areas keep the original colour of the cloth and when the wax is removed, the dyed and undyed contrast gives it a pattern. They are printed sarees. Initially the patterns are first drawn on plain silk sarees later they are block printed using wax.
Bomkai State of Orissa is particularly known for making famous Indian sarees. They are produced by the Bhulia Community at Subarnpur district of Orissa. It is available in cotton and silk fabrics. Ancient belief is depicted through designs of fish in the saree as it is considered to be a sign of success and affluence. The saree is normally dyed to attain red, white and black backgrounds. The patterns and designs in saree include pestle, hour-glass shaped drum, bitter guard, small flowers, peacock, fish and many more. The designs are the weavers thought, choice and perception. The procedure used in Bomkai pattern in sari is known as Jala technique.
Chanderi sarees are originating from Chanderi, a place in Madhya Pradesh. They have unmatched sophistication and are popular among middle and upper class saree weavers. The Chanderi fabric is known for its sheer texture, light weight, and a glossy transparency.
It is made by fine cotton one and is one of the lightest saree ever in India. The typical patterns are inspired from nature like swans, gold coins, trees, fruits, flowers, peacocks, geometric patterns, and heavenly bodies. Chanderi saree produces three kinds of fabrics namely Chanderi cotton, silk and blend of silk and cotton. Chanderi saree occupies a special place because of its finely textured fabric of silk and cotton engraved with Zari work. They are also embroidered using jute threads which makes it hybrid.
Chikan embroidered sarees produced in Lucknow are very famous all over. This type of embroidery is commonly known as Chikankari, in which 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.
Dhakai one of the most exquisite cotton sarees in India originated in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They are also known as Jamdani sarees. The origin of Jamdani sarees is still uncertain. Some say it is a Bengali or Urdu word which means wine cup. The sarees are now weaved in West Bengal. It is among the most strenuous and time-consuming forms of weaving. The method of weaving is similar to the tapestry work. They are feather light and have transparent texture. The designs are very subtle. The patterns of Dhakai sarees are inspired from life itself. They consist of portrayals of plants, animals, nature, stars and so on. The designs also contain geometrical and symmetrical patterns. The designs are decorated by intricate floral and figured motifs.
These silk saris are woven and produced in the Dharmavaram town in the district of Anantpur in Tamil Nadu. These are generally woven in Tussar Silk. These saris have a striking resemblance to Kanjeevaram saris. The distinguishing feature of these saris in that it is woven in the two colors which give it a bright yet subdued dual shade effect. It is further emphasized by a solid color pallu and border. The pallu is further designed and woven exquisitely with Zari brocade. The saris may have broad borders ranging from 4 to7 inches with gold brocade patterns and butta designs. Dharmavaram saris in simple patterns are woven for daily wear. Maroon and Yellow was the most popular combination in saris initially, however with the changing tastes of the consumers the colours combinations have changed as well.
Eri silk is found majorly in Assam, north eastern India. It is also known as Errandi or Endi silk. This is the only tamed silk produced in India without killing the silkworm, thus, naming it as Ahimsa silk or fabric of peace. It is one of the finest and purest form of silk which is produced by Samia cynthia ricini worm. It is said to be father of all textured and cultured forms of silk. Eri silk needs delicate care and preservation as they are the most textured silk having shorter fibers. These short fibers make it less durable and the extracted silk is dull yellow or gold like gleam. Eri silk is sigil of sophistication with a touch of royalty which goes perfect for any occasion or festival.
Guntur saris are perfect dance sarees. They are generally woven in cotton. Their stable and compact weave structure makes them sturdy in nature. The Guntur sarees are defined by their fine thread work borders. The pallu comprises of simple stripes or scattered butis. They are very popular as daily wear sarees.
The Gadwal sarees are found in Gadwal, Mahbhunagar district of Andra Pradesh. The most unique feature of this saree is that it can be folded in such a way that it can fit into a matchbox as well. The saree is suitable for both warm and cold climate. They are generally worn on ceremonies and occasions.
The sarees are produced in beautiful mix of fabrics and designs. The style in which the saree is woven is interlocked weft borders wherein the designs are made in contrasting colors. The entire saree is weaved in cotton but the borders are weaved in silk. The pallu and the border represent south Indian culture. The designs also include architecture, temples, exotic shapes and patterns in the body and the border of the saree. Initially they were available in earth colours and silk designs but now gradually the colours become better and brighter. Now zari work is also done using gold and silver threads in weaving the saree.
The traditional Garad or Korial sarees are the symbol of culture in Bengal. The word Garad means white or silk which is not been dyed. The silk fibers are woven extremely close together. The saree contains red border on a white or off-white background. They are also weaved using golden and silver silk threads intricately to make it look heavier. Spaced motifs or paisleys are used in pallu of the saree. The saree has a papery texture and are generally worn on occasions.
The sari hails from West India – Gujarat. Gharchola is a prime wedding sari also called the Zari Chowkda (gold checks) in Kutch. This traditional sari is a “must have” in wardrobe of Marwaris & Jains. It is generally presented by the in-laws of the bride. The sari is intricately and meticulously tied and dyed in red cotton or gajji silk. The beauty of the sari is further enhanced with gotas (golden threads) being woven into the pallu and the border.
The distinguishing variations of this bandhani are number of square variations it carries with various motifs. It may have five, seven or nine depending on the intricacy of the bandhej. The main motifs are “phool” (floral) “pachak” (five circular forms) motifs with center spot “keri” (mango),”chulful” (four-petalled) and “laduda” (circular form with spotted center).The most expensive variety of the Gharchola is “Bavan bagh” (52 gardens) in red and green color bandhej and is generally further enriched with gota and zari bands/borders and embroideries.
Ikkal sarees are found in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. The uniqueness of the sari stems from weaving the warp (lengthwise threads) in cotton and those in the pallu and the border area in art silk or pure silk. This means that the warp of each and every sari has to be prepared specially. The warp threads of the body and warp threads of the pallu and borders are linked together by loops locally addressed as “Topa Teni” Technique. The length of the pallu varies between 17 to 27 inches. These saris are produced in three different lengths 6, 8 and 9 meters. Reds, Maroons, and bright colors dominate the Ikkal Saris. These saris were initially used as daily wear saris by the women in Bellary making them glow in the sun while working in the fields. The body of these saris generally has checks, stripes or rectangles and the pallu has length wise color bands known locally as “Paras” or “Gaadi” running across them.
Kalamkari is done on soft cotton voiles or mangalgiri cotton saris in Andra Pradesh. These are made in villages which are mostly associated with the coast Machlipatnam. The art of Kalamkari also flourishes in Kalahasti a town near Chennai.
Kalamkari literally means “Kalam” pen and “kari” work that is art work done using a pen. The craftsmen use a bamboo or date palm stick pointed at one end with a bundle of fine hair attached to this pointed end to serve as the brush or pen. Vegetable dyes are used to apply color to the cloth. These may be extracted from parts of plants like roots, leaves along with mineral salts of iron, tin, copper, alum etc. which are used as mordant. Each sari takes 90 to 120 days and 17 painstaking steps to get ready. At times a gold border may be woven into the sari.
Kalamkari for apparel may have floral, tendril or figurative motifs at times. Colors are generally dark like deep maroon, deep bluish black, rustic red, deep olive. Kalamkari saris are mostly sold with matching blouses. The beauty of this art is that it gets better with every wash.
Kanjeevaram sarees are the most famous saree when it comes to special events like wedding. Kanjeevaram sarees originally come from Tamil Nadu from district Thiruvannamalai. The sarees are known for its royal and glossy temperament. The common material for saree is Silk which is prominent in this saree. These sarees have typical theme of moon, chariots, peacocks, parrots, swans, lions, coins, mangoes, leaves, jasmine buds etc. The themes used are correlated with nature creating a beautiful design and appealing.
The silk thread used for weaving Kanjeevaram is made up of three single threads twisted together. It is later tinted as silk which are amenable to dyes and maintain the luster. The making of kanjeevaram sarees take 10 to 12 days but for more decorative one’s it may take up to 20 days because of multiple attachments of warps and wefts of different colours. Mulbary silk is used for weaving of kanjeevaram, giving the saree astounding texture, luster, sturdiness and finish. The other materials used for this saree is Cotton, Chiffon, Organza and Georgettes.
Kantha stitch sarees are a particular kind of embroidery. They are found in Shantiniketan regions of West Bengal. The thread embroidery is very alluring and takes ample of hours to do. They can be stitched in cotton as well as silk. This art of Kantha is practiced by rural women in West Bengal in spare time and each Kantha sari is a result of hard work and labor. Any saree embroidered with Kantha embroidery is a Kantha saree. The typical Kantha embroidery is the decorative motifs with running stitch. The cloth is entirely covered with running stitches and has beautiful folk, floral, animal and bird motifs.
Kathua sarees are signature of culture and tradition in Varanasi. It is a hand woven saree which takes around 3 to 4 months to be weaved. This saree can be weaved only by classic and trained weavers. It is said that this handloom kathua saree is on the verge of extinction. It is weaved in silk thread by doing zari work. The design on the saree generally includes tree branches, animals, birds, different floral patterns.
Kasavu saree or Kerala traditional saree has a typical look of off-white or cream coloured shade accompanied by a thick and glossy gold border. They are usually worn on very important occasions such as for religious ceremonies, during Onam festivities and of course, by Hindu brides for weddings as well. The common pattern on this sarees is of birds and flowers. The specialty of this saree is one can wear this saree with any bright blouse. This saree gives that simple and traditional look.
The typical kavasu saree is hand woven and is 100 % unbleached cotton. It is known for its fineness of count in weaving. The basic fabric for this saree is cotton but as it evolved today this saree is also available in cotton mixed with silk. Kasavu sarees include large variety of designs, embellished with thread work, stones or sequins, fabric painting and golden with contrasting colors as borders.
Kasuti is a distinguished embroidery work originated in Karnataka. This embroidery resembles the cross-stitch embroidery and has motifs like palanquins, elephants, lotus, parrots, and small birds. The pallu of the saree consist of designs like temple borders which are embellished with motifs which are generally embroidered in geometric shapes and it ends with patterns like comb, forts, or mountain ranges. The body of the saree comprises of small butas of embroidery. The traditional pallu colors are red, maroon, ochre but with changing trends orange, bright peacock or parrot green are also found in the pallu.
The Konrad or the temple saree is also a specialty item from Tamil Nadu. These sarees were originally woven for temple deities. Konrad are wide bordered sarees and are characterized by wedding related motifs such as peacocks and elephants symbolizing water, fertility and creativity. Browns, gray and off-whites are the traditional colors of these sarees.
The desert state is abode of Kota sarees. They are created at Kota a small village in Rajasthan. Kota sarees are called ‘Kota Doria ‘. They are super transparent even when weaved using cotton and silk yarn. Where the silk provides the shine and cotton gives strength to the fabric. They are casual sarees which are generally worn at home. Onion and water paste is used as one of the raw materials to strengthen the fabric.
Kota sarees display individuality with a bit of embroidery and border patches, making them totally exclusive. The pattern mostly used in these sarees is Khats which means square checks. The look of this saree is simple and is covered with thematic patterns. Often the sarees are embellished with zari. In Kota sarees it is first weaved on plain white cloth and then dyed in vibrant colours. For some designs pre-dyed cotton and silk yarn is used for weaving.
Kotki sarees also hail from Cuttack, Orissa. The designs are mostly jagged temple patterns in the saree. They are traditional and rare.
Lehariya or Mothura is another variation of tie and dye sarees which is a specialty of Rajasthan. In lehariya and mothra the opposite ends of the length of the cloth are pulled and rolled together. They are tied and dyed in different colors producing diagonal multi-colored lines. To create contrasting borders the body is tied in plastic bags and the sari is dipped in a darker dye bath. Other techniques like concentric rings and fan folding are also used to create dramatic effects.
Originated in the town Mangalgiri in Andra Pradesh, mangalgiri sarees are one of the durable cotton sarees. They are woven using combed yarn that is 80s cotton which are densely woven giving it an elegant appeal when draped. The body of the saree is designed in minute checks or stripes with a zari in the border while the pallu has mono-striped with solid lines of zari in a tribal style. These sarees are available in earthy and bright colors.
One of the rarest silk in world is muga silk from Assam. The saree is different from all other silk sarees because of its colour. In Assamese muga means yellow and is carved out of fine silk which is natural and h2est fiber. The other fact is muga silk can be used for very long period of time because of its natural silk. The saree can be worn at any formal function giving out crisp and tidy look. The silk used in this saree is the rarest one. The silk is known for its sophistication and timeliness. The silk is made from the silkworm called Antheraea assamensis. Muga silk is organic, natural, resilient and h2est fiber. Muga silk is a luxurious fabric known for luster and is in demand for international trade.
Mysore silk saree from Karnataka is the trademark for the silk sarees. Grandeur Mysore silk saree is one of the famous Indian feminine wear and the distinguishing feature of this saree is the usage of pure silk, quality of the saree and its everlasting luster.
The zari work done on border is usually thick and on pallu attractive designs are engraved. The designs include intricate but subtle patterns highlighting motifs of birds or fruits. The silk used is pure and dyed using natural pigments. The saree is butter-soft and has non-crush quality. The yarn used to weave this silk saree is usually gold and silver. The intricate work in the border and the pallu makes it unique. The colours used are vibrant and the golden threads are interwoven which enhances its beauty.
Narayanpet sarees are found in the district of Mahabubnagar District of Telengana region. The artisans in this area are dominantly Maharashtrians and hence an influence of their culture can be seen in the designs. These saris are similar to Maharashtrians saris of Ikkal and Sholapur. They are very popular as summer wear as they are very light in nature and are available in classic earthy colors. These saris are produced in cotton or cotton-silk mix. The distinguishing feature of these saris is the unique pattern of red and white bands. They have a flat Patti border and basket weave and a broad pallu known as “top-tennipallou”. They were originally made in red and white color however now the pallu is woven in contrasting colors and matching border; the “top-tennipallou” stripes are woven in golden color lending the saris a rich effect. With changing times the border may now be in maroon, reddish brown or red color separated by white or colored lines.
Paithani saree originally emanates from Paithan, Maharashtra. This saree is has inscribed motifs like Lotus, Hans, Flowers, Peacock, Bangdimor, Narali Print. Paithani sarees are expensive are mostly worn during weddings and festivals. The saree is crafted out of fine silk making it bright and charming. Paithani sarees come in all colours but the most proffered is Green or Red.
Mainly Paithani is made up of Silk yarn. In Paithani, Filiature silk is used for warp and sidlaghatta or charakha silk used for weft. There are two types of weaving that goes in to the making of Paithani. Kadiyal border saree means interlocking the weft and warp of the border with same colour while the body has different colour. The second type of weaving is kad/ekdhoti wherein the colour of warp and weft is of different colours. The zari border used in Paithani is gold as well as silver. Three types of zari are mostly used for border, butti and pallu.
Pat saris are woven by the weavers of Assam. The weavers of Assam originally used to make “Mekhla Chaddar” (2 piece sari) out of the pat fabrics but now saris are also woven (1 piece) and sold as is. This silk is regionally called the pat silk and this is considered as one of the best quality silks in India. Variants of the Muga silk are generally used as the base material of the saris. The natural sheen of the Muga silk in white and cream color lends an air of elegance to these saris The Pat silk may be dyed into various vibrant colors.
The Pat saris are intricately designed with different traditional motifs of butis, animals, creepers, human figures, flowers, birds, channel and other ornamental designs. The wedding sari of Assamese women is created with traditional intricate gold and silver embroidery on the Pat silk sari and the entire body of the silk sari is with muga silk. The saris give a three dimensional aura.
Pochampally sarees are simple sarees originating from the state of Telengana. These sarees look simple but still elegant. Women do select pochampally sarees to wear in social events like weddings. The material used to make these sarees is silk and cotton. Pochampally sarees are recognized as luxury sarees in India. The sarees are carved with Geometric patterns and designs. The fabric used for pochampally sarees is cotton, silk and blend of cotton and silk. The intricate design and coloring of warp and weft before dye is the unique feature of the process. The main fabric used in this saree is cotton.
Patola sarees from Patan, Gujarat are recognized for its royalty. These sarees have a niche market because as they are very expensive. Patola sarees are double Ikat saree with design and pattern of parrots, flowers, elephants, dancing and zigzag figure. Patola sarees include pure silk with hand dyed in natural dyes. In Patola double ikat saree involves tie-dye method of both warp as well as weft in silk fibers. The completion of this saree takes 6 to 7 months to bring out a unique creation of saree.
Sambalpuri There both silk and cotton sarees that are made in the Sambalpuri style. This style of embroidery comes from a small place called Sambalpur in Orissa. Sambalpuri Sarees are ranked in some of the most beautiful saris in India and it’s the pride of Orissa. The pure hand loom sarees made from Taussor, Silk and soft cotton, also known as Ikat and Sambalpuri saree locally named as shadhi. Sambalpuri Sarees has a strip of unstitched fabric from 4 to 9 meter in length, which helps to wrapped over the body in various style. It was first time produced in the Sambalpur district of Indian state Orissa therefore called sambalpuri sarees.
The Madurai town is famous for Sungudi sarees. The peculiarity of Sungudi sari is their border and the tie and dye art which is imparted on these saris. This ethnic art of Saurashtra is seen in south India on these saris. The 48 inch saris are tie and dyed to create beautiful patterns of sunbursts effects, marbling, bindis etc along with the woven border. Sungudi as the name says is the best wear in summers the saris are dyed with vibrant colours and have the ability to reflect the hot Tamil Nadu sun. Saris from the south are known for their cotton and Sungudi sari too is constructed in a way that it is light in weight and soft to touch.
Tanchoi sarees are found in Surat, Gujarat. The sarees were originally made from brocades which were bought from China. The Tanchoi brothers started the weaving of this saree, thus came its name. These sarees are generally worn on formal occasions, wedding ceremonies or any festivals and are ideally worn in the cooler months of autumn and winter.
Tanchoi involves weaving techniques with single or double wrap and 2 to 5 colours on the weft which are often of the same shade in silk fabric. They have intricate and small weaving patterns over the fabric. The designs and patterns found in the sarees are of small birds in flight, parrot motifs, peacock, and flowers. They have spots all over the surface and are weaved using dual colour wrap. Another uniqueness of Tanchoi sarees is that fabric texture background has satin finish and some extra threads give it a embroidered effect.
Tant saree is a Bengali saree and are meant for daily use. Tant sarees are woven from cotton threads and are distinguished by its lightness and transparency. It is considered to be the most comfortable saree. These sarees are not limited to only daily wear but also for occasion. It has thick borders and a decorated pallu. The patterns used in such sarees are usually floral elements, solar elements and modern art. Hazar bhutti is a type of tant saree which means thousand dots. They are cotton sarees.
The traditional Bengali variety of cotton has a short fiber that is more crimped than most longer-fibred cottons cultivated for mechanical spinning. This gives a distinct crepe-like appearance to the woven cloth. Many of the expensive jamdani muslins of the nineteenth century were famous creations of the artisans of Bengal. White, unbleached cotton muslins and silks are used.
Upada silk is named after the small beach town upada in east Godavari district in Andra Pradesh. They are made from age old jamdani method. Upada silk is the first to trace weaving technique of jamdani. They are considered highly and they hugely contribute to the Indian textile industry. Upada sarees are said to be translucent.
Upada sarees are usually made from cotton wrap. These sarees are defined only by length and breadth count of threads using only non-mechanical techniques. The designs are quite unique and are floral patterns, geometric shapes, and different patterns. Upada sarees are grandiose and light-weight.
Venkatgiri sarees are weaved in the historic town of Venkatgiri, Andra Pradesh. They are handwoven zari cotton sarees and are popular for their jamdani style of weaving. The sarees are woven in silk. These silk sarees were worn by royal family of Nellore in 1700s. The sarees are usually six yard and is suitable for any climate. The saree is very soft, light-weight, and durable.
This is the only saree that mostly uses pit looms, that is the looms are placed on the ground level and the pedals are placed in a pit. The designs of the sarees are very unique and distinct. The offbeat feature of this saree is the big jamdani motif of peacock, parrot, swan, mango, or a leaf in the pallu. The fine designs and the zari work make them a perfect choice for the royalty. The designs can be personalized and ordered to be made.