A Saree, sari or Shari is known to be a popular female attire of the Indian subcontinent consisting of a drape usually six yards in length. This six yards of sheer elegance typically wrapped around the waist, with one end wrapped around the shoulder, baring the midriff. And, usually worn over a petticoat, with a comfortable fitted upper garment commonly known as the blouse cropped at the midriff. This Saree is regarded as a symbol of grace and elegance all around the Indian subcontinent.
History of Sari, i.e., Traditional Saree
Far and wide, the Saree has been a well-known symbol of an Indian female for over 5000 years. This Saree is known by different names varying from region to region. In Western India, it is called chaniyo, parkar or ghagra, Shaya in the east, pavadi or padava in the south and lehenga or Lahanga in the North. The blouse, on the other hand, is commonly known as the choli or Ravika.
All of us might wonder who was the first woman to wear a saree. Although none of us can actually answer that question and we do have details of how the saree originated.
Origin of Word Saree
The word Saree is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Sati’ which meant a strip of cloth. In the history of Indian clothing, the saree traces back its origin to the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished during 2800-1800 BC around the northwestern part of the Indian Subcontinent. The earliest known depiction of the saree in the Indian Subcontinent is the statue of an Indus Valley priest wearing a drape.
According to the ancient Tamil poetry, such as the Silappadhikaram and the Kadambari by Banabhatta describes women in exquisite drapery or saree. In the ancient Indian tradition, the navel of the supreme human being is considered to be the source of life and creativity which is the reason why midriff is to be left bare by the saree.
Some historians go on to believe that the men’s dhoti, which is the oldest Indian draped garment, is
the precursor of the traditional saree. It’s also believed that dhoti was worn both by the men and women until the fourteenth century. Sculpts from the Gandhara, Mathura and Gupta schools, depicts the ancient goddesses and dancers wearing what appeared to be a dhoti wrap, in the fishtail version, which covered the legs loosely and then flowed into a long, decorative drape in front of the legs. No bodice was however visible.
The saree evolved from a three-piece garment known as Antariya lower garment, Uttariya veil worn over shoulder or head and Stanapatta, a chest band, which found mention in the Sanskrit literature and Buddhist Pali literature during 6th Century BC. This complete three-piece dress was known as Poshak, a generic term for the costume.
A few historians go on to say that cotton and the art of weaving it into fabric came in India from the Mesopotamian Civilisation. The men and women of the contemporary Indus Valley Civilisation were
therefore familiar with cotton fabrics and wore a long piece of cloth in the Kachcha style.
While the people of may have popularised an international image of the modern style saree the 21 st Century, each region in the Indian subcontinent has developed, over the centuries, its own unique saree style.
Indian beauty has its ecstasy. The charm of Indian women is eminent around the world for their sheer femininity, grace and captivating persona. For a nation that worships lady as goddesses, a traditional saree goes on to be as a perfect dress for Indian women.