10 Unique yet Elegant Saree Draping Styles in India

One of the most magnificent draping arts of the world, saree is an elegant attire worn by millions of women in the Indian subcontinent. With its intricate designs and stories behind them, saree is draped in the most unique ways in the various states of the country. Let’s have a glance at the top 10 alluring styles of wearing a saree.

Sidha Pallu from Gujarat

This draping style of Gujarati origin known as “ Sidha Pallu” is also popular in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar. The pallu falls in the front and covers the chest with pleats freeing the shoulders from holding the heavily embroidered pallu designs. While in Rajasthan, the end of the pallu which is set free in Gujarati style, is pinned to the back of the blouse to make the whole look sharper.

Athporey saree drape from West Bengal

Developed by Jnanadanandini Devi, the sister-in-law of Rabindranath Tagore, the Athporey draping is adored by most of the Bengali women. With a box of pleats in front, the pallu comes from the back to front from both the sides in this style. Some women tied keys of the house to the pallu over their right shoulder as one of the traditional practices in Bengal. Baluchari silk and Jamdani silk are the most graceful fabrics for this style.

Kunbi Drapes from Goa

Categorized as Christian Kunbi and Hindu Kunbi, these drapes are common amongst the tribal women of Goa. In this style, the saree is tied above the ankle to give freedom to women working in the field. The major difference between the Christian Kunbi style and Hindu Kunbi is that the saree is tied above the ankle in one and till the ankle in the other one respectively. Traditionally the Kunbi sarees are dyed in red and black and woven in small and large checks.

Coorgi Drape from Karnataka

The elegant Coorgi style hails from Karnataka. Also known as “ Kodagu style”, this drape is recognized from its front pallu tucked neatly over the shoulder with the saree pleats pushed backward. The women in Coorg also wear a piece of cloth that looks similar to the saree on their head called Vastra. Pure cotton, polyester-cotton, silk, and cotton silk are the fabrics usually preferred for this style.

Mekhela chador from Assam

Originated from Assam, the Mekhela Chador style of sarees are worn by Assamese women traditionally. Two pieces of clothes are draped around the body. Mekhela being the bottom portion is folded into one or two pleats to fit around the waist and Chador, the upper cloth is tucked into the upper portion of the Mekhela with its one end while the other end is draped over and around the rest of the body.

Gol saree & Nauvari Drape from Maharashtra

Gol saree drapes are popular amongst the Parsi women of Mumbai, Maharashtra. Usually, a georgette or light chiffon saree is preferred for this style. The veil (pallu) goes all over the blouse on the left shoulder coming from behind and is then brought to the front over the right shoulder, forming folds at the front.

While the Nauvari drape is another popular style from Maharashtra using the Paithani silk sarees. This unique pattern of saree is draped like a dhoti around the legs with its upper portion styled like a normal saree.

Phanek and Innaphi from Manipur

Dedicated to the Meitei tribes of Manipur, Phanek with its printed horizontal stripes and floral borders is tied like a sarong (bottom-wear).On the other hand, Innaphi with its delicate floral designs is worn like a dupatta. Muga silk and the Tesar silk are the common fabrics for this draping.

Namboothiri from Kerala

One of the oldest remnants of saree draping from southern India, the Namboothiri style is also known as “ Mundum Neriyathum”. This traditional style consists of two pieces of clothes, one(Mundu) is wrapped around the lower portion of the body and the other (Neriyathu) covers the upper part tucked inside the blouse.

In the modern style, the Neriyathu is worn over the left shoulder. Kalpathi silk and Kannur cotton are the most suitable saree fabrics for this style.

Nivi Drape – Andhra Pradesh/ West Bengal

With its origin traced back to Andhra Pradesh, the Nivi drape is the most widely recognized style worn across the globe. Credited to Gyanonandini Tagore who increased the sari’s length in the 1860s, saree is wrapped around the waist with pleats tucked inside the underskirt in this drape.

Later, the pallu is attached at the shoulder to the saree’s blouse with a safety pin. This style of draping is suitable with all the saree fabrics.

The regular (Nivi) style is similar to bengali style.

Khasauta Drape from Uttar Pradesh

Traditionally worn by the Nawabs of Kanpur, this style was a fashion of that time. The saree is tied with a double knot at the right waist with its inner end in front. The pleats with outer end tucked in the center front waist are brought between legs and tucked in at the center back waist.

With the adjusted borders and legs, the pallu is draped overhead with its left edge tucked in the left side of the waist at the backside. Georgette, chiffon and cotton are the right fabrics for this style.

Though sari is the dress of old civilization, its appeal remains the same in the society of the Indian subcontinent. None can replace its influence as a textile and drape.

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