The ancient and exotic sari, India’s traditional national dress for women, has withstood the test of time and is now over 5,000 years old. For those who’ve never put one on, a sari can be a bit of a mystery with its many pleats and folds.
The word sari is derived from Sanskrit which means 'strip of cloth'and in Prakrit, and which was corrupted to sāṛī in Hindi
In the history of Indian clothing the sari is traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished during 2800-1800 BC around the western part of the Indian subcontinent. The earliest known depiction of the sari in the Indian subcontinent is the statue of an Indus Valley priest wearing a drape.
A charming folktale explains the origin of the Sari as follows:
"The Sari, it is said, was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver. He dreamt of Woman. The shimmer of her tears. The drape of her tumbling hair. The colors of her many moods. The softness of her touch. All these he wove together. He couldn't stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes, he sat back and smiled and smiled and smiled".
Like the Greeks and Romans who followed them, the ancient people of India mainly wore garments that were wrapped and draped, rather than sewn. This was not because they did not know the art of sewing—early Indian people were experts in fine weaving and embroidery—but because they preferred the flexibility and creativity that draped clothing allowed. Loose, flowing garments were practical in the hot climate of southern Asia, and the sari, woven of cotton or silk, was both cool and graceful. Though rich and poor alike wore the sari, the wealthy could afford to have fine silk fabric with costly decorations, while the poor might wear rough plain cotton.
I believe the way you dress tells a lot about a person. It tells what mood you're in, and how you feel about yourself. Being the symbol of elegance, beauty and sensuality, sarees have always been a very crucial part of Indian women’s life. Any woman can look like diva with unique draping style, designer blouses, fabulous prints and vibrant colors of Saree.
Naveen Patnaik, a politicial from Indian said “The sari's radiance, vigor and variety, produced by a single straight length of cloth, should give us in the West pause and make us think twice about the zipper, the dart and the shoulder pad.” Saree has not only fascinated the Indian woman but has also become popular in the West. Many Hollywood celebrities have tried out this graceful attire and stunned people around. This stunning piece of fabric makes all women look gorgeous and elegant. A saree can be draped in different styles depending upon the comfort and the kind of look desired. Most commonly, the sari is wrapped around the waist, with the loose end of the drape worn over the shoulder, baring the stomach.
There is no mystery in a sari for Indian girls like me. We've discovered it, rediscovered it, redraped it. I've grown up seeing my mother, grandmother drape it. Saris are at the centre-stage in the global fashion arena. Anyone and everyone wear them these days. Any other outfit cannot match the amount of elegance and charm a sari exudes. The draping styles may have changed, the way it is teamed up with designer blouses and accessories may have undergone a major overhaul, but this strip of pretty cloth has always managed to deck us up with unmatched grace.
Though many Indian people, both those living in India and those who live in other countries, have adopted Western dress, it is very common for Indian women to wear the sari for important ceremonies, such as festivals, engagements, parties, and weddings. Vidya Balan, a famous actress of India says it all-“ I think sari covers the right amount, and exposes the right amount-its such a tease and I like teasing…” Who doesn't :)