The Changing Forms of Saree in India

Saree is the go-to attire for the women of the sub-continent. It symbolizes the grace and dignity of Indian women. There are different types of sarees available in India like pure tussar silk sarees, printed pure silk sarees, etc. This saree in India is a quintessential attire of an Indian woman, which is nothing but a long rectangular unstitched piece of cloth customized to a length varying from 5 to 9 yards. Women generally wrap a saree around the waist over a petticoat with a long end draped over the shoulder and paired with a blouse.

History of Saree in India

The word saree is derived from ‘Sati’ in Sanskrit and Prakrit. It means a ‘strip of fabric’. Buddhist and Jain people, the Jatakas, referred to as Sattika, are similar to the Nivi draped saree worn by modern women. Researchers have found that the first mention of saree is present in Rig Veda. It is depicted there that the draped attire on Indian sculptures through six centuries. Chishti referred to the sarees as a magical unstitched garment. The pallu was known as pallav or aanchal traditionally.

It is argued that saree originated during the Indus Valley Civilization of 2800-1800 BC. Records show that priests and sages were wearing draped attires, similar to sarees, and thus, the garment is noted to have religious connotations as well. The mention of saree is present in Mahabharata. The incident of Vasta Haran of Draupadi proves that women were familiar with the garments and also wearing them. Also, when Lord Krishna came to help Draupadi, he released clothes that were nothing but sarees. So, you can understand the legacy of sarees in India. You may hear or read different anecdotes about the origin of sarees but you can’t ignore its presence in Mahabharata. 

To keep this tradition going forward, we at Ramdhanu have introduced a wide variety of sarees, including printed tussar silk sarees, black tussar silk sarees, block printed tussar silk sarees, printed pure silk sarees, pure soft silk sarees, etc. 

Significance & Symbolism of Saree in India

Though sarees are mostly worn across South Asia, women all across the globe have tried wearing sarees. Sarees in India are popular as a powerhouse in the culture of weaving, dyeing, and printing sarees in various methods in nearly 30 regional types of sarees. 

Rich Banarasi silk saree in India in shades of red, specially woven on beautiful looms with gold zari threads, is the traditional wedding attire for Indian brides. This type of saree originated from the city of Varanasi. On the other hand, in the tropical south, white mundu sarees have been popular since the 19th century. However, due to industrialization, there is a revamp in colors in the subcontinent. Saree weaving is a prominent business in India. Time-honed textile experts and craft advocates have opined that the handloom industry and embroidery sector have prospered because of the eternal demand for sarees. According to the Annual Report of the Textile Ministry, there are around 11 million artisans present in India. 

Sarees are popular for evoking a strong sentiment and nostalgia. Indian women get identified through the sarees that they wear on different occasions. This has made sarees an integral part of Indian festivities. Over the years, sarees have made their entry into Indian culture. People all across the world identify Indian women with the sarees they are wearing. Courtesy of Indian designers, sarees have become an attire of modern-day women. Due to their visionary ideas, this six-yard clothing has gained popularity across the world when partnered with functional concepts and glamorous design.

Our latest pure silk sarees are the right examples of this tradition. If you search on Google with the keywords pure silk sarees with price pure silk sarees online, you’ll find our sarees among the top three. It happens because our sarees carry the legacy of India in a simple but effective way. 

After reading the last paragraph, you might be thinking we only sell pure silk sarees or mulberry silks, which is not correct. If you search tussar silk saree price or tussar silk sarees online, you’ll get to see our sarees like hundreds of other sarees. 


Draping Techniques

You can wear a saree in a hundred different ways. However, the most common is the Nivi style, which originated from Andhra Pradesh. It is worn with long petals made at the waist center and tucked around to allow fuss-free movement.

Traditional Bengali and Odia women wear sarees without pleats, which is known as the ‘Atpoure’ style. On the other hand, Gujarati & Rajasthani women tuck the pleats at the waist by bringing the loose end or pallu across the right shoulder and tucking it at the right waist. This type of draping is known as the ‘Seedha Pallu Style.’ The ancient Maharashtrian and Konkani Kashta saree, which is not six yards but rather nine yards long, is draped like a classic Nivi style, but the pleats are tucked at the back, creating a dhoti style look. This style originated during historic times when Marathi women used to assist warriors in battles and the dhoti style allowed them free leg movement. Also, the quintessential Tamil style, known as ‘Madisar,’ primarily accommodates nine-yard-long sarees. In Madisar style, the draping requires an elaborate procedure, pleated from behind at the waist level. The fabric is taken from between the legs, and the pallu is tucked at the front. So, it covers the waist. Anciently, this style was only worn by married women of the Tamil community. In Karnataka, women follow the ‘Coorgi’ or ‘Kodagu’ style. Down further South, women of Kerala wear a two-piece saree known as ‘Mundu Neriyathum .’The Mundu is more like a skirt wrapped around the waist, while the Neriyathu is the upper part of the dress, which is draped around the left shoulder with the blouse. Last but not least, tribal women and women from other ethnic groups often wear a longer sarong, crossed around the shoulders and knotted around the nape of the neck.

Evolution of The Saree in India

During the British era, the saree was transformed to suit the morality of the rulers as Britishers found that the saree without a blouse was immodest. The blouse and petticoat were introduced to be tamed with the Indian saree. During the 1920s, women in India started experimenting with wearing shorter-length sarees with boots.

The Nivi style of wearing saree in India came into style during the 1930s and 50s. The women of Royal families patronized this style, and it later became the classic way of draping among common Indian women. Saree pins inspired by the brooches adorned by British women were used to accessorize and enhance the look.

Saree in India and Bollywood

After India’s independence, from the 50s to 70s, the rise of Bollywood films introduced the trend of wispy chiffon sarees. Many frontline heroines used to drape chiffon sarees to woo the audiences. Those sarees have their sensibilities as heroines used to drape them dramatically. Indian women were inspired by eclectic styles of saree draping and adapted them according to their styles. 

Later, in the 70’s and 80’s, the emergence of television and visual entertainment changed the scene for saree in India, too. They went through an influential metamorphosis. Actresses favored bold colors and prints, and the same became accessible to the larger groups.

Wispy chiffons and georgette sarees came into prominence with the cinemas of Yash Chopra. A quintessential Yash Raj film heroine was seen wearing sheer sarees and dancing on snow-clad mountains. Women all across India started following Bollywood-style fashion as soon as they started wearing bold, solid colors and fluid sheer drapes.

From the 90’s onwards, Indian sarees became a league of their own. Renowned fashion designers started introducing bedecked net sarees. These designers introduced sarees that were worn with open-back blouses for an attractive appeal. Even the supermodels started wearing sarees to represent India at various beauty pageants designed by designers like Ritu Kumar, Sandeep Khosla, and Abu Jani. The color palette ranged from jewel tones to eccentric neons.

Saree in India of Today

Over the years, globally savvy women started preferring sarees customized in couture concepts and started favoring the pre-pleated style. Designers introduced pre-draped hybrid sarees, saree gowns, and lehenga sarees. Couturiers replaced the pleats with masterful drapes and introduced a contemporary spin to the ensemble. With this classic six-yard saree draped in Nivi style remaining a mainstay, conceptual sarees have become popular.

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