This photo was taken last December at my children’s, Xerxes and Sneha’s, wedding, and showcases my parents and my sisters, Yasmin and Naheed.
These are all GARA sarees. The Gara is traditionally hand woven on Chinese silk in silk thread. Chamois-silk is also very often used. The traditional colours were red, black, purple, maroon, midnight blue and a few oranges and magentas. Later on greens, pinks and sky blues entered the picture.
The embroidery always has a theme. Since these sarees were originally brought from China by well-to-do Parsee gentlemen for their wives, and then later, Parsee women embroidered them at home, one of the oldest motives is the Chinese theme featuring pagodas, pavilions and chinamen, then you have the “karolia” (spidery flowers), “kanda-papata” (literally translated as onions-potatoes, but meaning round balls of embroidery, “butty” (small dots all over), birds (peacocks, cranes, sparrows) and flowers (jasmines, roses, chrysanthemums).
The saree that my mum and I have worn (purple and red) are more than a HUNDRED years old and belonged to my great-grandmother/grandmother.
The gara is handed down from generation to generation, very often as part of a bride’s trousseau and every Parsee girl (or in my case, my Telegu daughter-in-law) yearns to have one hanging in her cupboard. Darling Sneha, you will most definitely inherit all four of my beautiful Garas !
Next time I will give you an insight into the “Kor” sarees…till then….

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