Sarees are said to be the most graceful and sensuous attire one can possess. Although Indian women can carry any attire from any country, the six yard wonder looks the best on them. A saree enhances the beauty of every woman. Modern women have fallen in love with the six yards as well!
Different types of sarees are weaved in different regions of the country. The wardrobe of a saree enthusiast has at least one saree from the different regions of the country. Let’s throw some light on the sarees from various regions.
Banarasi Brocade - There’s a huge craze of this among older and the new generations alike. It’s woven in the holy city of Banaras in Uttar Pradesh. The designs and concepts have evolved to match up the changing times. The Banarsi brocade is one of the sarees that is worn in most of the weddings as they look extremely grand.
Kota Doria- These sarees are crafted in small villages in and around Kota city in Rajasthan. Since it’s a very light weight and transparent saree, they are liked by women all across the country during the summers. These sarees are available in silk, too. Because of its airy nature, it drapes well and looks graceful.
Chikankaari- While talking about sarees from North India who can forget the embroidered sarees from the city of Nawabs, Lucknow. These sarees are made in cotton, silk, semi-georgette and pure georgette. They are easy to dye, too and the cotton chikankari ones are extremely popular in summers as they look fresh and are light weight.
Bandhani- Bandhani as the name suggests, the process uses a technique called tie and dye.They are also made in Rajasthan, available in vibrant hues and come in a variety of fabrics such as mull cotton, chiffon, georgette and crepe.
Leheriya- Leheriya is a traditional style of dye practice in Rajasthan that results in brightly coloured cloth with distinctive patterns.The technique gets it’s name from the Rajasthani word for “wave” because the dyeing technique is often used to produce a complex wave pattern. Available in chiffon, georgette and crepe, they look sensuous and bright.
Kashmiri Embroidered sarees- These sarees are decorated with beautiful embroidery either in the shape of maple leaves or pasleys. Though these sarees are full of hand work and on the expensive side, they are worth every penny and is definitely for you if you are fond of exclusive things.
Phulkari Sarees- “ Phul ” means flowers in Hindi and Phulkari translates to the motifs embroidered on the saree that are in the shape of flowers. These sarees are a specialty of the most colourful state of our country, Punjab.
Kanjeevarams- These sarees are not only popular in India, but across the world. One authentic Kanjeevaram is a must-have in every saree lover’s collection. I am personally a big fan of this weave from a town called Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. This weave is available in cotton and silk, both.These sarees are known for their durability and their grandness. Walk into a wedding in Tamil Nadu and you are to be struck by the beauty of these sarees.
Konard sarees- Also known as temple sarees, this is from Tamil Nadu. They look really graceful and rich. These sarees are available in traditional colours like earthy tones of browns, greys and off-whites.
Mundum Neriyathum- It is the traditional clothing of women from Kerala. In the mundu neriyathum, munduis the most traditional piece. It is the lower garment whereas the neriyathuforms the upper part. Themundumneriyathumconsist of two pieces of cloth and could be worn in either traditional style with theneriyathutucked inside the blouse or in the modern style with neriyathuworn over the left shoulder.
Kasavu Sarees- The elegant Kerala sarees which are off-white in colour with a gold border is unique because of its natural colour, texture and the border. Every Malayali woman possesses at least one Kerala saree and in fact women from all across the country wish to have at least this one of a kind drape, in their wardrobe. Women from The God’s Own Country make it a point to wear it on Onam every year and needless to say carry it off so well.
Mysore Crepe- A very popular among saree enthusiast because its light and drapes well. Unlike silk and cotton, the crepes are flowly and help in accentuating the curves of a woman’s figure perfectly. They are also popular because despite being light weight they look festive.
Kalamkaari- Kalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block printed cotton textile produced in parts of India and Iran. It literally means 'drawing with pen'. There are two distinctive styles of Kalamkari art in India-the Srikalahasti and the Machilipatnam style. First one involves using a pen which is used for free hand drawing of the subject and filling in the colours. The later style involves vegetable dyed block-printing of fabric. These sarees are a specialty of the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Pochampally- Pochampally saree or Pochampally Ikat is a saree made in Bhoodan Pochampally, Nalgonda district, Telangana state. They are popular for their traditional geometric patterns and Ikat style of dyeing. They are also available in cotton or silk.
Baluchari- This saree from Mushirabad district of West Bengal is usually a five yards sarees and is 42” wide in bright colours like flame red, purple and deep blue. The borders of the saree depict stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana, which makes these sarees one of a kind. A perfect depiction of the rich Indian culture.
Taant- These sarees are very popular in Bengal. Women in other parts of the country love these hand-woven sarees. The word Taant literally means “Made in the loom”. These sarees are a must-have in every cotton saree lover's wardrobe.
Kaantha- Kaantha is a stitch and not a fabric. This again is a favorite among the fashion-forward women. The cloth is entirely covered with running stitches of beautiful folk, floral, animals and bird motifs.
Sambalpuri and Bomkai sarees- They are traditional weaves of Odisha and for any Oriya lady, her wardrobe is incomplete without them. In fact the craze for these exquisite sarees is catching up amongst the younger generation as well.
Gadwal Saree - These sarees are handcrafted, woven sarees from the Gadwal region of Mahbubnagar in the state of Telangana. They are most notable for the zari on the saree. The speciality of the saree is the body of the saree is cotton body with a silk pallu. They are also known as Sico sarees. It is said that the weavers design it in such a manner than it can be folded and fits in a matchbox.
Paithani- Named after the Paithan town in Aurangabad, Maharashtra state these sarees are made from very fine silk. It is known to be one of the richest sarees in India. Paithani is characterised by borders of an oblique square design and a pallu with peacock design.
Parsi or Grara sarees- Parsi embroidery sarees have been renowned since centuries for their striking beauty. It demonstrates cultural Parsi embroidery in pastel shades and pale white. These sarees are indeed worth a treasure and take almost nine months to make each of them. The threads used for embroidery are of the violet and pink colour combination. Parsi sarees are expensive, but their appeal and style are so enchanting that it a saree lover will invest in it inspite of the cost.
Patola saree - Patola is a double ikat woven sari, usually made from silk made in Patan, Gujarat. They are among the most expensive sarees of our country, once worn only by royalty and aristocracy. They are popular in demand by those who can afford them. Patola weaving is closely guarded family tradition. It can take six months to one year to make one single saree.
If we are talking about the sarees from North-East who can forget the beautiful sarees from Assam. Assam silk denotes three major types of indigenous wild silks. They are golden muga, white pat and Eri silk. The Assam silk industry is located in a small village called Sialkuchi. These sarees being handloom is a labour intensive.
(a) Muga silk -The silk produced is known for its glossy fine texture and durability. A muga silk saree is a must in every Assamese bride’s collection. It is said that this silk can be hand-washed with its luster increasing after every wash.
(d) Mekhla chador- It is the traditional Assamese dress worn by women and worn by women of all ages. In fact if you ever passing through the beautiful countryside of Assam, you will be surprised to see young school girls wearing a Mekhla Chador as their uniform and carrying it off with ease and grace.
All the sarees mentioned above are traditional weaves, which will find a place in a true saree lover's closet. Since these sarees are traditional they are normally worn for formal or festive occasions. Modern women also have plain or printed chiffons, georgettes and crepes in their collection which are worn for casual occasions. One can experiment a lot with these sarees and can really team them with quirky as well as traditional blouses.