The Indian bridal sari: a regional guide

October 10, 2006. Written by

Timeless yet ever changing, the sari continues to inspire new brides each wedding season. Check out our guide to find out what styles come from different regions of India…

Faces North

The city of Benares (now named Varanasi) is famed for its exquisite wedding saris. Brocades, tissues and silks are woven with intertwining floral and foliate motifs. The saris are named after the regions where they are produced: Tanchoi, Amru, Shikargarh, Kinkwah and Jamawar. From heavily worked wedding saris to fine tissues, Benarasi saris are a bridal must.

West

Named after a village in Maharastra, the paithani sari is rich in its choice colours, which range from magenta to peacock green. The motifs such as parrots, trees and fruits are woven in gold, giving it an embossed look.

The Gujurati gharchola is an excellent choice for a wedding sari. The colours are usually red and white and it is divided into a network of squares, which are usually multiples of 9, 12 or 52, and have bands of zari.

The kota sari from Rajasthan is an ideal choice for a daytime occasion or a summer wedding, due to its light weight. The lehriya, mothda and bandhej saris from Jodhpur are made in chiffon with traditional dyeing and embroideries, in colours that range from subtle to vibrant.

Central

The chanderi sari from Madhya Pradesh is light and meant for Indian summers. The patterns in the sari are inspired from the Chanderi temples and were traditionally worn by the aristocracy. You can give the sari a rich look by adding embroidery like zardosi, sequins, beadwork and nakka‐tikki (stone work).

East

Kolkata saris are famous for their unique craftsmanship. For wedding ceremonies the dhakai and kantha are popular styles. Other saris bought for the trousseau include jamdani, tangail and the famous nilambari sari, which has a blue black background, held together with star‐like flowers, representing a star‐studded moonless night sky.

The pasapalli sari from Orissa has ikat patterns in white, red and black and is a collector’s item for the bride who wants something special.

FacesSouth

The famous kanjeevaram silk sari has been a traditional must‐have for most brides. The border of the sari is woven with patterns of temples, elephants and peacocks, along with stripes, checks and floral motifs. Characterised by gold‐dipped silver thread that is woven on to silk which is thicker than most, it comes in a variety of combinations. Other south Indian styles of silk saris are konrad, arni, dharmavaram and kalakshetra.

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