A saree is a long and graceful piece of cloth, usually ranging from 5 to 9 meters in length, draped around the body in various styles and worn by women in India and other South Asian countries. It is considered to be one of the most elegant and feminine traditional Indian attires and is often adorned with intricate embroidery, beading, or embellishments.
The saree has a deep-rooted significance in Indian culture and is a symbol of tradition, grace, and elegance. It is worn on various occasions such as weddings, festivals, and religious ceremonies, and represents the cultural diversity of India. It is a form of expression for women, and its versatility makes it a preferred choice of attire for women of all ages, regions, and social strata.
This comprehensive guide aims to explore the rich history, beauty, and importance of saree in Indian culture. We will delve into the different types of sarees, the various draping styles, how to choose the right saree for every occasion, and tips on maintaining and preserving this iconic garment. Whether you are a seasoned saree wearer or a curious newcomer, this guide will provide you with an in-depth understanding of saree sundari.
History of Saree
The origin of saree can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization, where women used to wear a piece of cloth called drape or sari, which covered their lower body. The word saree is derived from the Sanskrit word 'sattika' which means a strip of cloth.
Over the years, the saree has undergone many changes and has evolved into various styles and designs. It was during the Mughal period that the saree became a more refined garment with the use of rich fabrics such as silk and embellishments like zari and embroidery. In the 20th century, the saree became more accessible to the masses with the introduction of power loom sarees and printed sarees.
India is a land of diverse cultures, and each region has its unique style of saree. Some of the popular types of sarees are Banarasi saree from Varanasi, Chanderi saree from Madhya Pradesh, Kanjeevaram saree from Tamil Nadu, Paithani saree from Maharashtra, and Bandhani saree from Gujarat. Each of these sarees has its distinct fabric, design, and draping style, making them a popular choice among women across the country.
The Beauty of Saree
One of the most striking features of a saree is its graceful and elegant appearance. The way it drapes around the body, the fall of the fabric, and the intricate designs make it a stunning garment that enhances the natural beauty of a woman.
Sarees come in a wide variety of designs and styles, ranging from simple cotton sarees to heavily embellished silk sarees. There are sarees with intricate embroidery, beadwork, and sequins, as well as those with printed designs and patterns. The styles of saree draping are also diverse, with each region having its unique draping style.
Saree is a versatile garment that is flattering on all body types. The fabric drapes around the curves of the body, accentuating the feminine curves, and creating an illusion of a taller and slimmer figure. It is one of the few traditional garments that can be worn by women of all ages, shapes, and sizes, making it a popular choice for formal occasions and daily wear.
Importance of Saree
Saree is not just a piece of clothing; it is a symbol of tradition and culture in India. It represents the rich cultural heritage of the country and is a way to connect with one's roots. It is also a symbol of respect for elders and an appreciation of one's heritage.
Saree represents the identity of women in India. It is an expression of their personality, their taste, and their style. It is a way to showcase their individuality and to feel empowered. The way a woman drapes her saree can reflect her mood, her attitude, and her confidence.
Saree has had a significant impact on the fashion industry in India and around the world. Designers have experimented with various fabrics, designs, and styles to create modern and contemporary sarees that appeal to the younger generation. It has also become a popular choice for international fashion shows, with many designers incorporating Indian elements into their collections. Saree has become a symbol of Indian fashion, and its popularity is only growing with time.
Saree Draping Styles
The basic steps of saree draping include tucking the saree at the waist, pleating the fabric, and draping it over the shoulder. The blouse worn with the saree is an essential component, as it influences the overall look and style of the saree.
There are several popular saree draping styles, including the Nivi drape, which is the most common style and is worn across most parts of India. The Bengali drape is another popular style, where the pallu is draped around the waist, creating a distinctive look. The Gujarati drape, Maharashtrian drape, and the Dravidian drape are other popular styles that are specific to certain regions.
There are numerous regional variations in saree draping styles across India, reflecting the diverse cultures and traditions of the country. For example, the Nauvari saree is worn in Maharashtra, where it is draped in a unique style that allows for ease of movement. The Coorgi saree, worn in Karnataka, is draped in a distinctive manner that includes pleating at the back. The tribal saree worn by women in northeastern India is draped in a way that resembles a skirt, with the pallu covering the head. These regional variations add to the charm and diversity of the saree and are a testament to its versatility as a garment.
Choosing the Right Saree
Choosing the right saree depends on the occasion for which it will be worn. For formal occasions such as weddings and receptions, heavily embellished silk sarees or designer sarees are popular choices. For casual occasions or daily wear, lightweight cotton sarees or simple printed sarees are preferred.
The material and design of the saree also play a crucial role in choosing the right saree. Silk, chiffon, georgette, and cotton are some of the popular fabrics used to make sarees. The design of the saree can range from intricate embroidery and embellishments to printed designs and patterns. The color of the saree should also complement the skin tone of the person wearing it.
Accessorizing with saree is an essential aspect of completing the look. Jewelry, such as necklaces, earrings, and bangles, can add to the overall look of the saree. The choice of footwear is also crucial, with high heels or wedges being a popular choice. A clutch or a potli bag can be used to carry essentials while adding to the overall look of the saree. Hairstyling is also an essential aspect, with various styles such as a bun or a braid being popular choices.
Proper washing and cleaning of a saree are essential to maintain its beauty and longevity. Sarees should be washed separately, and the washing technique depends on the fabric. Dry cleaning is recommended for silk and heavily embroidered sarees, while cotton sarees can be washed at home using mild detergents.
Storing sarees properly is crucial to avoid any damage or discoloration. Sarees should be folded neatly and stored in a dry and cool place. Hanging sarees is not recommended as it can cause the fabric to stretch and lose its shape.
Preservation of saree is crucial to maintain its value and heritage. Sarees should be kept away from direct sunlight and exposure to moisture. Regular airing of the sarees is recommended to avoid any moisture build-up. It is also recommended to store sarees in muslin or cotton cloth to avoid any damage due to plastic covers or hangers.
Overall, maintaining sarees requires care and attention, but it is essential to preserve the beauty and heritage of this iconic garment.
The saree is a beautiful and iconic garment that holds significant cultural and traditional value in India. From its rich history to its versatility and elegance, the saree has remained a timeless favorite for women of all ages.
The saree has evolved over time, adapting to modern trends while still preserving its traditional roots. The future of saree in fashion looks bright, with designers experimenting with new fabrics, colors, and styles to create modern and contemporary sarees that appeal to a broader audience.
The saree is not just a piece of clothing but a symbol of India's rich heritage and culture. Its versatility and beauty have made it a favorite among women of all ages and backgrounds. As we move forward, it is essential to preserve and promote the beauty and tradition of the saree, ensuring that it remains an integral part of Indian fashion and culture for generations to come.