Shopping for Indian Sarees

How to drape a Sari? Varieties & Specialties Of Sarees from India

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Tips on Wearing Saris



 Saris form a large part of the Indian tradition.  Saris suit almost every woman. Remember: Make clean pleats and hold the drape well. Feel good to look good!



Sari - The Epitome of Style

The sari is a traditional Indian garment worn by a large number of women in India.

Though there are a lot of western influences in the way people dress today, can we deny the fact that an Indian woman looks absolutely stunning in a sari?

There is something about the sari that makes a woman look dignified, charming and every bit stylish. Over the years, the saree has evolved into a fashion statement, what with most fashion designers glorifying the look and feel of this traditional garment. Bridal Saris are also extremely popular in India, especially those designed by fashion designers.

What is a Sari (Saree)?

The sari or saree in simplest terms, is an unstitched piece of cloth that varies between 5 and 9 yards and is worn by women. The sari is usually worn on top of a petticoat and blouse.

Origin of Sarees

The origin of a sari can be dated back in history and there are various references of it during the Indus Valley Civilization. In more recent times, it is believed that the women in most parts of India have been wearing saris for many many years.

How to Wear a Sari?

A sari can be worn in many ways - each region in India has its own distinct style of draping a sari and this is what makes the sari an interesting attire!

The most common way to wear a sari is by wrapping it around the waist from one side over the petticoat, making clean pleats in the front - 6-7 depending on the length of the loose end (pallu / palla) that you want, and then draping it over the shoulder from front to back or back to front.

In more common terms, these are called "seedha palla" and "ulta palla".

Just as there are different styles of draping a sari, there are also various fabrics used and their textures and prices vary depending on the quality-

Some commonly used Fabrics for Sarees include -

Cotton, Crepe, Chiffon, Chinnon, Georgette, Acrylic, Organdie, Nylon, Terrycot, Organza, Tissue, Synthetic, Satin, Silk,

  • If you like light, airy saris, chiffon is the thing for you.
  • On special occasions like weddings, where there is an opportunity to really dress up, women like wearing silk saris with heavy golden borders.

Saris worn in different regions are called by different names and worn differently.

Varieties / Styles of Saris in Different Regions / Cities of India
  • Maharashtra, Karnataka etc - Maharashtrian Saris are 9 yards long instead of the usual 6 yards and are worn like a dhoti. The Maharashtrian style is quite distinct and women wearing saris in this way can be easily identified as those belonging to the state of Maharashtra.

  • Andhra Pradesh - Nivi Style sari is worn here.

  • Tamil Nadu - Here there is a Dravidian style of wearing draping saris.

  • Gujarat - Predominantly in North India, women wear saris in typical Gujrati style.  

  • Kerala - women belonging to Kerala wear a two-piece sari.

  • The women in ancient times, especially the tribal women wore sarees by tying them across the chest.

Well Known Varieties of Indian Saris

Specialty Sarees from South India (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh) - Pochampally, Kanjeevaram, Venkatgiri, Narayanpet, Mysore Silk, Gadwal, Patola

Beautiful Varieties of Traditional Work on Saris from West Bengal, India - Dhaniakali, Tant, Katha, Baluchari, Dhakai, Tangail

Rich looking Saris to be treasured forever from Benares -

Banarasi Saris - Jamdani, Tanchoi, Bridal Brocade

Popular Saris / Special Work on Saris from Bihar, India - Madhubani, Applique - hand made by traditional artists

Saris from Assam, India - Ikkat, Gold Muga Silks

Orissa Saris - Cuttaki, Patola

Typical Work on Saris from Rajasthan, India - Kota, Bandhni, Bagroo, Moonga

Traditional / hand work on Saris from Punjab - Phulkari

Gujarati Style Sarees from the state of Gujrat, India - Mirror Work Saris, Bandhani, Ikat, Patola, Gharchola


Immensely popular saris from Lucknow - Chickan Work Saris, Embroidery Sarees

Saris from Madhya Pradesh - Chanderi

Saris from Maharashtra  - Paithani

When it comes to wearing saris, the choice is unlimited. Each style of sari is specific to the state it comes from and is easily identifiable by those who wear them.

Where to Buy Traditional Indian Saris, Sarees -

South India - Chennai is known to be a haven for sari shoppers. If you happen to visit down south, make sure to take out time and visit some of the well known stores there.

In New Delhi - Nalli Saris, Vichitra Saris, Uttam's Saris, Meena Bazaar etc are well known stores that have a large collection of saris in all budgets, fabrics and varieties. Karol Bagh is another market you must check out while shopping for saris. Dilli Haat, too has some interesting collections of traditional saris from various states of India.

Contributing Writer:  Akanksha is a freelance writer [email protected]




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