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How to Buy a Wedding Saree

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Wedding silk sareeIt’s your wedding and you need to buy the most important part of your trousseau-wedding saree. The wedding day is a memorable occasion. We would like to treasure it the best way we can. The ‘wedding look’ is captured in our photo albums, displayed in photo frames and videos. The bride is dressed in her most elegant finery, which includes jewelry, accessories and most importantly the wedding saree. During the course of the wedding preparation, the saree is the most deciding factor. And a lot of factors like appearance, personal choice, individual personality and price go into determining the purchase.

All you ever wanted to know about saree-shopping:

For wedding sarees you can broadly choose from a wide variety of shades of different colours.

Like the Kanchivaram sarees or South Silks as they are popularly known in the south. Or the Baluchari saree from Kolkata, that has a traditional story woven into it. Each woven thread here seems to echo a beautiful ancient story from the past. It quietly and effectively narrates the story of the Ashoka, or the Ramayana or the Mahabharata.

Or the Patola sarees from Gujarat. This saree can be worn on both sides.

The Paithani traditionally worn by Maharashtrians.

Orissa sarees with Ikkat and Bomkai designs. Bomkai are resham thread; hand-woven designs while Ikkat sarees are tie and dye printed ones.

For embroidered sarees, crepe, crushed crepe, satin, silk, georgette and semi-georgette sarees are used as base materials. These are embroidered with antique embroidery, zardosi, crystals, sequins and zari. Intricate embroidery is woven on netted (looks like a net), tissue (light), brocade (thicker) sarees.

One can also find a combination of crushed crepe, tissue and netted sarees. The chequered Kota sarees with zari borders. Crushed bandhni, bandhni with zari.

There are both lightweight and heavyweight sarees.

Manufacturing variations

Sarees are largely handloom or power loom. In the case of handloom silk sarees, they are painstakingly woven by a single person for a period of about two months, dyed and embroidered. Handloom sarees are woven with multiple threads while power loom sarees use only a single thread.

Bridal trends

The dark colours such as maroons, reds, and oranges are still hot favorites for the truly ritualistic. The pinks, blues are popular among the unconventional.

Kota, The Ideal Wedding Saree for the summer.

In the heat of the Indian summer when more ought to be less, the Kota saree promises richness with cool, says Kusumlata.

When handlooms are known for their age, Kota saree is like the young girl, in the life of handloom 80 years is the first blush of youth. The legendary Kota saree that goes by various names of Masuriya, Chaukahana, and Doria has been long sought after for its thin, wispy lightness. It was brought into Kota from Chander (famous for the chanderi) by a karigar called Mansoor who gave it the name Masuriya, under the patronage of the erstwhile Maharaja of Kota. Impressed by the lightness of the Chanderi, the Maharaja asked Mansoor Khan to develop the handloom cloth to suit the climate and needs of the patron. It was only used for the pagris or rejas (types of headgear) of the Maharaja. As the karigars increased, and Maharajas and their headgear became a rarity, the safa was brought into the mass market as a saree.

In the heat of Rajasthan the pastel shades of this elegant saree are appropriate even for weddings, even though cottons are not standard wedding gear in India.

Another unusual fact in India’s most colorful state is that the richest variety of Kota sarees comes in off-white or cream. Embroidered in silk or zari or totally plain in thans of two, Kota sarees are available in range from $5(Rs.250) to $200 (Rs.10, 000).

At $200, the standard cream colour of the masuriya is shot delicately in gold. With pure jari and painstaking handloom weaving so delicate, that from a distance the saree looks like it is made of gold; it is not too much to pay. Any self-respecting bride would give it a prominent place in her trousseau.

The Silk Mix

A standard Masuriya is made of 300-385 khat, each khat is constructed of 14 threads in its warp and weft. Surprisingly, six of the 14 threads are silk, specially brought from China in those days. The silk is not easily visible, when looking meticulously at the texture, it appears like an illusion now visible in a sheen and now disappearing in the dominating texture of cotton.

The Karigars

Most looms are in Kaithun, not far from Kota. Some karigars reside in the sister town of Bundi-the house of the famous Hadoti School of Miniature Paintings and the Hara dynasty, known for the Hara Rani who presented her own severed head to her enamored husband who neglected his stately duties in her love.

The karigars reside on the outskirts of the town. Generations of them have been in this profession. Most of them are attached to a middleman or gatthiwala, some choose to load their wares on a bicycle and go selling to the regular clientele built over the years.

The karigars do not benefit out of it. The detailed work involved in making sarees with embroidery or patterns woven into them is time consuming.

There are no training schools or centers where interested persons can learn this art and so that the minute detailed work is lost.

Kota or Not Kota?

A legend gets unveiled as one finds out the origin behind the name and in the process confirm that the saree may really be the youngest of handlooms. And the last contradiction emerges. According to proud residents of Bundi, the Kota saree is not actually from Kota.

The reason the sarees are called ‘Kota’ despite the fact that they are not made there but in Kaithun and Bundi. Says an old karigar, “You see, the dak khana (the post office) is in Kota so when we used to send these sarees to other places the mohar (seal) would be of Kota as that was the closest post office, hence the name Kota sarees!”

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Responses to How to Buy a Wedding Saree

  1. 1 arpita

    damn good thanks plz continue to enlighten us

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