Drapes of India - Part 2

From as long as one can remember, the fabric of our culture has been woven with sarees of different styles, fabrics, lengths, colours and designs. A reflection of the feminine grace and poise, this iconic Indian attire has a position of respect and reverence on the global map. From functionality to form to fashion, it offers something to everyone who wraps themselves in its beseeching pleats and folds.

Rta Kapur Chishti, a textile historian and author, sums it up perfectly - “The sari both as a symbol and reality has filled the imagination of the subcontinent, with its appeal and its ability to conceal and reveal the personality of the person wearing it.” As we ponder on this beautiful line, let us continue the journey to explore more of India's traditional and timeless saree draping styles. 

Pinkosu (Tamil Nadu)
A draping style from the interiors of Tamil Nadu, it translates to 'pleats on the back' and is best suited for women working in the region's hot weather. It is worn short, wrapped around the waist almost twice for additional coverage and the pleats are tucked in at the back. 

Coorgi Style (Karnataka)
The women of the western ghats of Karnataka, in the hilly terrain of Coorg, are known to have an energetic and active lifestyle that involves climbing of trees and treks. To aid this routine, a draping style was created with pleats at the back and the pallu brought below the left shoulder and secured with a knot called 'molakattu' on the right shoulder. It is traditionally accompanied by a full sleeve blouse.

Santhal (Jharkhand)
Draped using a characteristic checkered weave, it is a regional take on the famous Bengali draping style. Merging with the simple and free-flowing nature of the Santhali tribe, it features a box pleat at the front with the pallu draped over the shoulder in a triangular fashion and is finally tucked in the front. 

Phanek and Innaphi (Manipur)
A traditional attire from the north-east, it consists of 2 pieces namely Phanek, a wrap-around, ethnic sarong and Innaphi, a shawl to wrap the upper body with. A unique take on the saree, it is worn together along with a blouse and is famous for being handwoven in sold colours and stripes.

Namboothiri (Kerala)
Believed to be one of the oldest draping styles originating in the lush landscapes of Kerala, it is made up of a two-piece attire similar to the famous 'mundum neriyathum'. The bigger fabric is wrapped around the waist and tucked in to show the golden border at the front. And the smaller piece is wrapped from below the arms and tucked into the blouse. This distinct drape is preferred only during temple festivals and folk dances.

Purnia (Bihar)
Hailing from the north-western provinces of Bihar, this conservative draping style helps the women cover their heads with the saree. It is wrapped around the waist without having any pleats and the pallu is brought to the front over the left shoulder and head and is tucked in at the waist.

Gol or Parsi Drape
An elegant style to showcase the handiwork on a saree, it is worn by the Parsi community and makes use of lightweight chiffon or georgette weaves where the pallu is brought to the front over the right shoulder. A rite of passage is the 'sari-perawanu' or saree wearing ceremony in which young Parsi girls wear a 'gara' or saree for the first time. The elderly women tie a small knot in the pallu filled with rice and sprinkled with rose water as a sign of fertility. 

Mudukongula Chira (Telangana)
Created and crafted by the weaving community of Padma Sale from the central districts of Telangana, it is distinguished by its one-of-a-kind double pallu sarees. The innermost pallu is draped over the left shoulder, while the outer one is tucked in along with the central pleats at the waist.

Having over 100 draping styles, the saree is truly an epitome of versatility and vogue, capturing the hearts of women across generations. While its essence and roots remain intact, it's the perspectives that shape how it is draped. With so many more options to choose from, one can explore the boundaries beyond the common 'nivi' drape, and choose the right weave for it from a range of handcrafted and indigenous sarees that we bring to you at Sundari Silks. 

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