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A brief evolution of ‘Saree’

For representational purposes

A saree is known to be a popular and traditional garment for the females. Over the years, it has become an all time wear for the women. Not only in India, but in many other countries, it has gained popularity. Today, it isn’t just draped by the Indian women,but has gradually made it’s way into international fashion markets.

The journey of sarees began from the Indus Valley Civilization which came into being during 2,800-1,800 BC in Northwest India. Cotton was first cultivated and woven in the Indian subcontinent around 5th millennium BC. Dyes used during this period are still in use, particularly Indigo, Lac,bred madder and turmeric. Silk was woven arround 2,450 BC and 2,000 BC.

The word ‘sari’ evolved from saatikaa, mentioned in earliest Hindu literature as women’s attire. The sari or sattika evolved from a three piece esemble comprising the ‘Antriya’, the lower garment, the ‘uttariya’, a veil worn over the shoulder or the head and the stanapatta, a chest band.This ensemble was mentioned in Sanskrit literature and Buddhist Pali literature during the 6th century BCE.This complete three-piece dress was known as Poshak, generic term for costume. Ancient Antriya closely resembled dhoti wrap in the “fishtail” version, which was passed through legs, covered the legs loosely and then flowed into a long, decorative pleats at the front of the legs. It further evolved into Bhairnivasani skirt, today known as ghagri and lehenga.Uttariya was a shawl-like veil worn over the shoulder or head; it evolved into what is known today as dupatta and ghoonghat. Likewise, Stanapatta evolved into choli by 1st century CE.

There are more than 80 recorded ways to wear saree. The most common style is for the saree to be wrapped around the waist, with the loose end of the drape to be worn over the shoulder, baring the midriff.