Do you remember draping your mom’s dupatta as saree when you were little? I’m sure many of us have done it when we were young. This is the magic of this six yards of beauty. It is admired by all the females from 9 to 90’s. . Women in sarees are no less than goddesses. The elegance in a saree is such that it leaves the viewer spellbound.
India, an immensely rich cultural and heritage country, has gifted this beautiful piece to the world. Saree, the traditional garment of Indian women is now grabbing the attention of people all around the globe. Women from various countries are now getting the famous weaves of our country like Kanchi, Patola, and Jamdani sarees online.
But do you know how this international attraction was in the past? Do you know about the elegance of your great grandmother’s sarees?
Saree has also seen various stages of transformation along with the country. Every dynasty or empire that ruled that country impacted the garment which led to its evolution.
Let’s see how we got this amazing piece of clothing over the generations.
The first traces of saree
Historians believe that a garment with drapes was worn by people during the Indus Valley Civilization, which is thousands of years ago. This garment similar to saree can be traced back to 2800 to 1800 BC in north west India
The mention of sarees can be found in the holy books of Hindus like the Ramayana, Mahabharata ,etc. It is believed that saree was then a three piece garment consisting of a lower garment , a chest band and a veil worn over the shoulder or head.
But later, as years passed only wealthy and high class women wore a two piece saree – a lower garment and the chest band. The women of lower class wore only one piece clothing consisting of the lower garment only. They had no chest band and were bare-breasted.
Muslim rule 1200-1850CE
Muslim women attire was much different from that of Hindu women. They wore clothes similar to the Persian style consisting of loose pants and long tops (currently known as salaries kameez). Indian women adapted this clothing with a veil that covered their head.
Also, Mughal clothing had a lot of embellishments, embroidery and very intricate details. These details impressed the weavers of India very much. Embroidery and intricate details were a new norm for Indian sarees.
British rule 1858 CE
The upper garment or blouse which was not used by the majority of the women came to an end in this period due to the huge criticism by the British missionaries. The clothing was considered immodest and revealing by the Britishers. Petticoats and blouses became a necessity for all the women wearing sarees to wipe out the criticism.
Though men adapted western clothing, women denied wearing gowns and skirts. They were seen wearing short sarees with boots.
The traditional sarees went through metamorphosis after independence. Sarees which were earlier made only of silk and cotton were now available in various other fabrics. Movies started to emerge in this period which also had a great impact on sarees. Different draping styles, and colors were experimented on the leads of the movies. Ordinary women also tried various draping styles inspired from the movies.
Sarees which were initially only in white and other dull colors were now available in other hues like yellow, green, pink, etc.
After industrialization, prints on sarees came into use. Floral, stripes , and other motifs were printed on the sarees. These were available at affordable prices throughout the country.
With the fast world, sarees are also now made simpler. Readymade sarees were into the market. Sarees are now worn over lehengas, pants and skirts. Coats and jackets over sarees became the new trend. There is also a new wave of colours ,patterns and fabrics. Blouses are also having ornamentations to enhance the beauty of the saree. New weaves, patterns and styles are striking the market daily.
The advanced technology has brought
a lot of changes in the making of a saree and also its sales. Now we have the flexibility to buy sarees of Ikat from Telangana, Kanchi from Tamilnadu and many more from any part of the country just by a single click. You can now check the different designs and colours available in chiffon, chanderi , and Jamdani sarees online.
Wear this six yards of beauty holding great history and culture. When you carry forward this garment to the next generation, you are also taking forward the legacy of the country.