Had a wonderful session describing the beauty & history of the Indian saree with a lot of anecdotes to young activists from all around the world who’ve come to curb human trafficking.
Did you know that our ancestors considered wearing tailored garments to be a sin! That’s why blouses were a recent addition. And most of us have been committing the ‘sin’ quite well with our exquisite blouses!
And since the ‘naabhi’ / navel is source of creation–that it should never be covered!
And that sarees were drape mostly like the dhoti style for comfort while walking!
The popular drape that we all wear now was a British ambassador’s wife’s addition!
And really…there are over a 100 styles of draping the saree! Over a 100! Just imagine! You could actually tell which district a woman hailed from just by her draped saree.
Accessories like the ‘oddiyanam’ / waist belt, bangles and bindis (and a bunch of keys for the Bengali style) were also added to complete their look.
The girls despite having cycled through the city for over 20 kms and having a heavy lunch were very excited about the different drapes! Though some of them had worn the ‘nivi’ (our most commonly draped) style before, they said it was hard to walk with the pleats in front and always feared tripping and falling flat on their faces! I taught them little tricks that would tighten and reinforce the saree the right way. So now they can even run a marathon in them! I’m quite the tomboy myself, so I could relate to most of their experiences during my initial years with a saree!
So…L to R
The Bengali Saree
The Chettinad pinkosu saree
The Nivi saree
The Marathi saree
The Pavadai Daavani, Half saree
Took it out of the closet after 21 years!! One of my favourite half sarees with a pure silver and gold zari border that was specially designed by our weaver for a cousins wedding. And the motifs were inspired by the Thanjavur Brihadeeshwara temple!
This pavadai/skirt fit me only because Amma made the tailor pleat and stitch them in such a way that I just had to remove some stitches when I grew. I’m sure most of us relate to this!
Here’s to celebrating the saree. All the credit goes to the 100saree pact! Thanks for reviving my love.

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