The Story of the Saree - 3

(Please note this blog article has been edited from Vimla Patil's article "The Origin of the Saree", July 2012 and is being published as a series. Part 3 concludes the series with an appraisal of the saree, its place in India today and an invitation to join in the retelling of the story.)


The weavers and designers of India were the masters of their craft for many centuries. Nimble fingered and ever alert to new concepts, they created a treasure house of ideas which continue to support and inspire millions of weavers in India even today. Indisputably, the greatest heritage these weavers gave to the Indian woman was the saree, five and half metres in length and about one and one-eighth metres in width. They created such a vast variety of sarees that if a woman wore a different saree each day, the weaves, prints and designs would tally up to more than the days of her entire life span. Very often, the sarees she would wear, could be exclusive, one-of-a-kind creations made from the most humble, rough woven cotton to the finest hand crafted silk tissue spiked with soft gold threads. This relatively small length of fabric has since then become the canvas upon which every imaginable kind of creative experiment has been made by the way of weaving, printing, embroidery, appliqué and gold, silver and precious stone work.




Though centuries have passed since the saree was conceived as the Indian woman's hereditary costume, the charm of this beautiful and extraordinary feminine garment, suited to the youngest of girls or the most elderly among woman, has not waned. In fact, even with each new decade of technological progress, it has been well accepted by even the most modern women of the subcontinent. Today, its chequered history has become hazy and lost in the distant past. In spite of the limited scope for any change in the garment, it seems to have a limitless future because of the endless experimentation used to recreate its beauty for every new generation of women.



Thus, in the modern world, it continues to be an economical and easy-to-wear garment, suitable for work, leisure or luxury. Over a period of time, several cities in India have become renowned saree manufacturing centres. Each centre is known for creating traditional sarees which have acquired their names not only from the cities of their origin, but also from the weaving or printing techniques used or the motifs, colours or designs utilised in their manufacture. 


Natsy by Design invites you to explore exquisite saree weaving traditions of India through our initiative - Vayana Katha - meaning ‘The Story of the Weave’. We believe that knowing the story behind the saree makes wearing it a richer and fuller experience. Sojourn with us as we travel down dusty, old forgotten paths and enter into the magical world of warps and wefts to understand the story behind the touch and feel of each saree. Rediscover a lost tradition of dyeing called Ba’at from Kutch, unearth the tradition of block-prints from master craftsmen in Rajasthan while reveling in the history of indigo and ancient Ajrak motifs. Appreciate the revival of swadesi weaves from Begampur and feel the earthiness of organic cotton and khadi sarees. Rejoice in the reinvention of khesh and gamcha weaves in the form of sarees. Embrace the elegance of the ever fashionable red-bordered white sarees and relive the sensuality of the early 20th century women in Pacha-pero sarees. Get to know the sarees you choose to own and wear them with pride. Find these and other sarees at

Comments ()

Copyright © 2013