Sarees, a quintessential part of Indian culture, hold a timeless allure that transcends fleeting fashion trends. While trends may come and go, sarees stand tall as epitomes of grace and the very essence of Indian femininity. Wearing a saree is akin to donning a work of art—a magical and sparkling canvas that effortlessly blends modernity, class, and a statement of timeless fashion. What sets sarees apart is their remarkable versatility; they can be draped elegantly for any occasion or purpose, whether it's a wedding, a festival, or a casual gathering. This versatile attire boasts thousands of fabrics, from the classic silk saree to the trendy chiffon or the newer entrants like organza printed sarees, ensuring that sarees remain evergreen.
But have you ever pondered upon the intriguing origins of sarees or how they evolved into a fashion statement? In this blog, we embark on a fascinating journey to uncover ten lesser-known facts about sarees, shedding light on the rich tapestry of this beloved Indian attire.
1. The Cotton Connection: Saree's Genesis
The journey of the saree began in the 5th millennium BC, a time when India ventured into cotton cultivation. Weavers skillfully crafted drape garments from cotton, a precursor to the modern-day saree.
2. Sanskrit Influence: The Birth of "Saree"
The name "saree" finds its roots in the Sanskrit word "sattika." As early as the 6th century BC, Sanskrit literature revealed traces of saree ensembles, comprising "Antriya" (a lower fish trail garment), "Uttariya" (a shoulder cloth), and "Stanpatta" (a chest band).
3. Tamil Nadu's Record-Breaking Saree
Tamil Nadu etched its name in the Guinness Book of World Records by creating the world's longest saree—an astounding 2007 feet. This vibrant maroon marvel was woven as an offering to the deity at the Parshwa Padmavathi Jain temple.
4. Lengthy Unstitched Sarees
Unstitched sarees come in a range of lengths, varying from 4.5 to 9 yards. The choice depends on factors such as a woman's height, comfort, and the nature of the occasion. Different draping styles further impact the standard saree length.
5. Plethora of Saree Fabrics
India boasts an array of over 30 fabrics suitable for crafting sarees. While cotton, chiffon, georgette, and silk sarees are familiar, the introduction of organza printed sarees has stirred the fashion pot. With their slightly coarse texture, elegant designs, and block prints, organza sarees have gained popularity. Other notable additions to the saree world include Ombre sarees, floral embroidery sarees, and satin sarees, each capturing hearts with their exquisite aesthetics.
6. Draping Styles Galore
Draping a saree is an art form in itself, offering more than 100 distinct styles to choose from. Whether attending festivities or parties, one can embrace tradition with a Maharashtrian drape style or exude modern charm with a belted saree drape style. From floaty casual drapes to Gujarati styles or simple pleated drapes, the options are virtually endless.
7. Sarees sans Safety Pins and Petticoats
During the British colonial era, it was not uncommon for women to wear sarees without safety pins, blouses, or petticoats. Although this practice was considered inappropriate, it eventually led to the invention of the saree petticoat. Today, women often opt for leggings, shapewear, or trousers underneath their sarees for added comfort and to accentuate their feminine curves.
8. British Influence on Saree Fashion
Sarees truly became a fashion statement during British rule, when high-neck blouses, boat necks, and long-sleeved blouses gained popularity. This era also introduced a rich spectrum of colors, transforming the saree industry. Today, saree enthusiasts can choose from a wide range of options, including the striking black organza saree that adds a touch of elegance to weddings and parties.
9. The Kanjeevaram Connection
Kanjeevaram silk sarees have achieved global recognition for their grace and divinity. Legend has it that these iconic sarees, crafted in the heart of South India, are a divine blessing from the descendants of Saga Markanda, who wove clothes for gods. The divinity of Kanjeevaram sarees can be traced back to this extraordinary lineage.
10. Lifeline for Handloom Weavers
Sarees are and always will be, hand-woven creations, offering livelihood to over 11 million handloom weavers. These artisans rely on saree weaving for their sustenance, making sarees a symbol of tradition, culture, and their very bread and butter.
These captivating facts offer a glimpse into the enchanting world of sarees. For numerous reasons, sarees continue to hold a special place in the hearts of women. The kaleidoscope of colors and ever-evolving styles, even in modern times, are embraced wholeheartedly. Thus, sarees will forever remain a woman's cherished first love, bridging the gap between tradition and contemporary fashion.