ROOTS: SARI (Six Yards of Sheer Elegance)

How do you explain a Sari? By wordy description “A Sari is an unstitched and uncut, rectangular piece of cloth, ranging from four to nine yards in length, that is worn by women by draping it over the body in various different styles, which is native to the Indian Subcontinent. A sari comes in various lengths, colors, designs and fabrics and is usually worn over a petticoat (lehenga/long skirt), with a blouse (choli) forming the upper garment.” Sari is one of the most common outfits used by the women of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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Sari is said to be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished during the 2800 – 1800 BC around the western part of the Indian subcontinent. Even though there are a number of western wears available in the market, but sari is still one of the most favored outfits in India. A large variety of saris is available in the Indian market and the different saris differ from each other on the basis of design, fabric, drapes and colors. So, here are four different sari’s style:

Baluchari Sari (Eastern Style):

History:

Baluchari Sari is a type of sari worn by women across India and Bangladesh. This particular type of sari originated in Bengal. In the history of textile in Bengal, Baluchari came much after Maslin. Two hundred years ago Baluchari was used to be practised in a small village called Baluchar in Murshidabad district, from where it got the name Baluchari. In the eighteenth century, Murshidkuli Khan, Nawab of Bengal patronized its rich weaving tradition and brought the craft of making this sari from Dhaka to the Baluchar village in Murshidabad and encouraged the industry to flourish.

Facts:

  • Baluchari saris often had depictions from scenes of Mahabharat and Ramayana.
  • It would take two craftsmen to work for almost a week to produce one sari.
  • The main material used is silk and the sari is polished after weaving.
  • Baluchari Sari has been granted the status of Geographical indication in India.

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Jamdani Sari (Eastern Style):

History:

Jamdani is a fabric of fine cotton muslin of Bengali origin, with colored stripes and patterns. In the first half of the nineteenth century, James Taylor described the figured or flowered jamdani; in the late nineteenth century, T. N. Mukharji referred to this fabric as jamdani muslin. The historic production of jamdani was patronized by imperial warrants of the Mughal emperors. It adorned royalty and nobility across Asia and the Muslim world for centuries. It has been spoken of as the most artistic textile of the Bangladeshi weaver.

Facts:

  • Jamdani patterns are mostly of geometric, plant, and floral designs and are said to originate in Persian and Mughal fusion thousands of years ago.
  • It is undoubtedly one of the varieties of the finest muslin.
  • The traditional art of weaving jamdani has been declared by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • Jamdani saris becoming one of the most prestigious luxury fabrics of South Asia.

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Kanchipuram Sari (Southern Style):

History:

A Kanchipuram sari (also known as a Kanjivaram sari) is a type of sari traditionally made by weavers from Kanchipuram located in Tamil Nadu, India. According to legends in [Hindu mythology] Kanchi silk weavers are the descendants of Sage Markanda, the master weaver of Gods who is supposed to have woven tissue from lotus fiber. Also, while cotton is considered to the be the favorite fabric of Lord Shiva silk was preferred by Lord Vishnu.

Facts:

  • The Kanchipuram sari is distinguished by its wide contrast borders.
  • Kanchipuram saris woven with heavy silk and gold cloth are considered to be special and are worn on occasions and festivities only.
  • Suns, moons, chariots, peacocks, parrots, swans, lions, coins, mangoes, leaves and many such motifs are woven into Kanchipuram patterns.
  • A single Kanchipuram sari can cost anywhere between Rs.2500 to Rs.100,000 or more depending upon the intricacy of work, colors, pattern, material used like zari, gold thread etc.

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Paithani Sari (Western Style):

History:

Paithani is a variety of sari, named after the Paithan town in Aurangabad Maharashtra state where they are woven by hand. The art of weaving Paithani flourished in 200B.C., during Satvahana era. Since then Pathani is coveted in India as a precious heirloom passing on from generation to generation. Exquisite silk from Paithani was   exported to many countries and was traded in return for gold and precious stones. Shear dedication and the faith of the weavers have kept alive Paithani silk work for more than 2000years.

Facts:

  • Made from very fine silk, it is considered as one of the richest saris in Maharashtra.
  • Paithani Sarees can take between 2 months to years to manufacture, depending on border and pallu design.
  • Paithani Sarees costs from Rs.6000 to Rs.500, 000.
  • Motifs on pallu are generally peacock, lotus, mango and other designs taken form Ajanta Caves.

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Photo Credit : http://25.media.tumblr.com/2f5db573d19b6409fd8af472be940070/tumblr_mge4feKtK71ry4cywo1_500.jpg

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