Saree- Indian Ethnic Wear
Indian saree is one of the oldest form of attire on globe holding a very great significance. Indian saree consist of consists of a drape varying from 4.5 to 8 meters (5 to 9 yards) in length and 60 to 120 centimeters (2 to 4 feet) in breadth. Any wedding, any function, any event- saree is the most desired cloth Indian women look up to. Not even women but men too finds saree the most beautiful women attire. In fact saree was the sole outfit wore by the women just few decades back. Goddesses in Indian culture are too adorned by sarees!
History of sari-like drapery is traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished during 2800–1800 BC around the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. You must have heard about the folk tale- “Mahabharata”, on the story it was said that the Pandavas brothers lost Draupadi to Kauravas in a dice game. In order to humiliate the lady the eldest broke of Kauravas orders to unwrap her. It was then when the miracle happened and an unending stream of cloth continues to cover & protect the dignity of Draupadi. That cloth piece is what we refer to saree today. The word ‘sari’ evolved from ‘sattika’ mentioned in earliest Jain and Buddhist literature as women’s attire. The Sari or Sattika evolved from a three-piece ensemble comprising the Antriya, the lower garment; the Uttariya; a veil worn over the shoulder or the head; and the Stanapatta, a chestband. Saree has been most prominent part of Indian ethnic wear of all time. But as the time evolved so did the attire- saree. Before saree was worn to hide the body and most importantly, but today if the waist isn’t big enough- it won’t look good enough. So with time evolution is taking place, however the attire saree remains same as the basic. Even the advent of modern clothes in the country is still not able to take the place of saree in the hearts of the people and its importance is just matchless. The latest trends are making their way in towards modernizing saree. The fashion statement of style icon such as ‘Sonam Kapoor’ clearing depicts the varieties of sarees we have today.
A soft sensuous note with a heavy elegant bearing, a grace filled adornment and a little touch of the ethnic roots, sarees come in different material types, silk, cotton and much more. And India being the most diverse country makes saree trend differently in each region of the country. Which means that you won’t find the same style of saree in any part of the country- each have their own USP. For example, Assam is famous for its silk sarees whereas Rajasthan or Gujrat is famous for its Bandhani sarees. Madya Pradesh is famous for producing these elegant pieces of Chanderi sarees. Or of course the Kanchipuram silk Saree from Tamil Nadu is irreplaceable. So you see, India has a wide range of sarees mainly because we hold the richest history of saree. From slightly revealing to covering head to toe- you can carry this attire in any way you want. It offers flexibility to be held in any way possible. It is recorded that there are more than 80 ways of draping a saree. Take for instance, Nivi – styles originally worn in Andhra Pradesh; besides the modern nivi, there is also the kaccha nivi, where the pleats are passed through the legs and tucked into the waist at the back. This allows free movement while covering the legs. Or the Himalayan style- Kulluvi Pattu is traditional form of woolen sari worn in Himachal Pradesh, similar variation is also worn in Uttarakhand and other neighboring places. But more specifically, the smallest part of saree which is of course the ‘blouse’ is a master creation on which the whole style of saree depends upon. Depending on the blouse one can wear it in million other ways.
The attire is widely appreciated not only in India but overall the globe. Whether it be Sri Lanka or Nepal or Bangladesh- saree has made its prominence quite wide spread. These are the things which makes India the most culturally diverse country in the world, not only in the women attires but in all the aspects. Saree has however become a trademark which depicts the true Indianness.