One of the most noticeable features about any Indian wedding, ceremony or festival are the elegant saree ensembles. Although just six yards of fabric, the saree transforms into a stunning piece of clothing when it is wrapped and draped around the body. The saree accentuates and flatters all body types and shapes. It truly is one of the most versatile attire around. This versatility is also seen in different types of sarees that arise from all over India, particularly from Gujarat, Bengal, Maharashtra and South India. Each region has its own special weave, colours, motifs and materials that it works with to produce what could arguably be the best cultural representation of that region.
#1 Jamdani Sarees
Jamdani or Dhakai sarees have their origins in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Hindu weavers who immigrated to that region (East Bengal at that time) also brought their weaving technique with them. Dhakai sarees are some of the most luxurious forms of hand-woven sarees. The term ‘Jamdani’ is a Persian one meaning flower and vase. This is why it’s common to see intricate floral motifs in these sarees.
#2 Paithani Sarees
The Paithani saree is a hand-woven silk saree with rich, ornamental borders, bright colours on the border and peacock, vine and floral designs on the pallu. It is the saree of choice for festive occasions. Paithani sarees are worn by Maharashtrian brides. The allure of Paithani is its interplay of delicate weaves, vibrant colours and opulent fabrics. Purple and green Paithani sarees are the most common.
#3 Tussar Silk Sarees
Tussar is a wild form of silk that is produced in the Eastern Indian states. This unique saree has a naturally occurring golden sheen to it, therefore making it suitable for all types of occasions. In its purest form, Tussar sarees are available in shades of beige and cream, however they may also be dyed in several bold colours. A typical Tussar silk saree has golden undertones, colourful pallus with kantha or embroidery work on the borders. Sometimes the body of the saree features hand-painted Madhubani motifs.
#4 Kalamkari Sarees
The Kalamkari art form originated in India over 3,000 years ago. Its name is derived from two Persian words: ‘kalam’ for pen and ‘kari’ for work. In Kalamkari, a pointed bamboo stick is used to paint the motifs on silk and cotton fabrics. Some Kalamkari sarees are done with block printing, involving more than twenty dyeing stages. This artform was almost deemed extinct but thanks to the attention being given to Indian handicrafts and particularly by Bollywood celebrities, Kalamkari sarees are regaining their popularity.