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The Indian Saree – Traditional Wear Of Class And ComfortBy Expert Author: menaka poonam
The Saree forms an integral part of Indian tradition. India is famous for its traditional handloom sarees.
Natural fibres such as silk, cotton, sico, cotton silk, jute and art silk such as georgette, chiffon, crepe, rayon, nylon are used to make the saree. Light, soft, airy and providing all-day comfort, the sari is the most preferred piece of apparel for most women in India and Indian women overseas. Today it is also a fashion garment.
Though Silk and Cotton have been the fabric materials for traditional wear like the sarees and salwar kameez, you could have fusion blends of modern art silks with cotton or silk with jute or some such combination which not only serve the purpose but also make a style statement.
There are very many occasions for the use of traditional wear with finery like weddings, religious ceremonies, festivals, parties, social functions, traditional rites and corporate events. Women resplendent in gold and silver thread adorned fabrics put on their finest in silks richly adorned with a lot of exquisite embroidery, patch work, and other such enhancers. Festivals, traditional rites have also a lot of traditional handloom cottons worn for the comfort and freedom it allows in going through various ceremonies and pujas conducted during the occasion.
Silk Saree is referred to as ‘Pattu’ in the South and ‘Paat’ in the North. Each saree has intricate patterns woven in gold and silver threads, with additional finery through rich zari borders, kundan work, embroidery, patch work and other adornments, to assume regal grandeur. The painstaking effort, the purity of the raw material and the additions all add up to make the saree an exclusive offering. The tradition of wearing silk sarees is widely prevalent.
Pattus, though still a luxury till date is a must for most households. Worn sparingly, they are mainly displayed on special occasions like weddings, auspicious rites, festivals and grand parties. The red (considered to be auspicious) colour and shades of red like pink and maroon are chosen for the bridal Pattu silk saree.
Almost the entire production of raw silk is from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Famous centres in South India where pure Pattu sarees are made, include Arani, Chettinad, Coimbatore, Rasipuram, Kanchipuram, Bangalore, Mysore, Gadwal, Narayanpet, Pochampally, Uppada and Venkatagiri. The Banarasi, Chanderi, Kota, Rajkot, Maheshwari, Jamdhani, Baluchari, Bomkai, Sambalpuri, Tussar silks are part of the Northern belt fine silks. Banarasi sarees mainly come in pure silk, organza with zari and silk, georgette, katan, crepe silk, supernet, patola cotton and shattir. Kimkhab, potthan, betta and amru are some thread work adorning styles.
Cotton is a fine natural fibre whose fabric is soft, light, airy and very comfortable, especially during the summer season. It is durable, has good affinity to colours and is skin-friendly. Handloom cottons are woven on hand operated looms as against mass produced cotton fabrics woven on power looms. Cotton handlooms offer good canvas for designs, patterns and motifs.
With good blending qualities, cotton handlooms of traditional styles such as Gadwal, Uppada, Pochampalli, Kanchipuram, Mangalagiri, Venkatagiri, Narayanpet, Rasipuram, Kerala, Chettinad, Banaras, Kota, Orissa, Bengal have been used with silk to get blended Sico and Cotton silk fabrics of very good quality and durablity. Since they offer good canvas for prints, beautiful designer saree versions are available using traditional block bagru and dabu prints in a wide range of extremely vibrant and pleasing colours.
Irrespective of any kind of demarcation in society, traditional sarees are part of the numerous occasions that come during the year and women take pride in not only displaying them but also take precautions and care to see to the long life of these sarees.
As long as Indian traditional customs are followed, the Indian traditional wear saree shall continue to reign as the ‘pride of place’ fabric.
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