The sari or sari, is a five and a half meter, or even longer cloth, draped with the heavily decorated end, known as the ‘pallu’ or ‘pallav’ falling over the left shoulder , while the other end is tucked into a skirt. The cloth is twisted round the waist and pleated at the centre. The sari is worn over a blouse, usually custom stitched in the style one likes.
|Actess Vidya Balan in silk sari|
A garment with a long history behind it, mention of the sari has been found in ancient poetry and scriptures dating to 5000 years back. It is worn in different styles in various states of India.
Silk, cotton, jute, polyester, silk-cotton mix are just some of the different materials used to create saris. There are hand woven saris that are absolutely exquisite, with silk or gold thread border in intricate patterns worked into it. There are hand printed, embroidered, painted, mirror worked, tie and dyed, batik printed and numerous other types of saris, each with its own individual look.
|Coimbatore Silk cotton(My Collection)|
The recollection of playing ‘house’ in Mother’s saris, trying to drape it and getting hopelessly lost in its folds, with another bit of cloth tied round the hair to mimic long hair brings smiles to my face today! I remember teenaged cousins and other girls in the family having a frenetic time before weddings, trying to deck themselves in saris! Inevitably, there used to be helpful Aunts around or even Grandma, giving directions and handing out gold and precious stones matching jewellery.
Sari shopping used to be fun with Mother, Aunts, cousins, and friends, when the day would fly by, and after hours of hectic shopping, we would all end up eating hot dosa’s from the popular Bharat Hotel. Finding matching blouse materials, skirts, and accessories and later getting the local tailor to stitch it in the way we wanted took up so much of time and effort. Not that, as young girls we ever complained!
|My Kerala Sari|
In Kerala, come Onam, the festival of spring and flowers, women dress themselves in typical Kerala saris and perform the traditional dance ‘kaikottikali’. These are made of the finest cotton, cream in colour with gold edge. A variation, more traditional, is the ‘set mundu’, which is a garment consisting of two pieces of cloth, one to be wrapped round like a sarong, and the other to be worn over the blouse.
The mundu is said to be Greco-Roman in its origins.
|Artist Ravi Varma- Kerala lady|
|Ravi Varma painting of Shakuntala in draped in sari|
It goes without saying that it is a garment that gracefully and sensuously enhances feminine beauty.