Indians are known for their traditional wear and the increasing tourism to the country has helped in dissemination the culture and traditions of the country all over the globe. Indian traditional clothing greatly varies from one region to another because of the various climates and landscaped found in the geographical extent of the country. With the advent of globalization these traditional wears were discarded for much more feasible and easily worn clothing. Jeans, tops, skirts have taken over the market share of the indigenous style of clothing and hence brought about a sad amalgamation of the entire country’s traditional fashion wear, to sum up, in a pair of jeans.
What most of us forget is that these traditional costumes are symbolic of the cultural past and ancestral sensibilities that have made India a power to reckon in the world’s power structures. In this article I aim to describe to the reader the garb of Marathi women which is a tradition being inherited by each succeeding generation.
Marathi Women’s Garb Of Tradition
Marathi women from the state of Maharashtra – on the western coast of India, stretched along the Arabian Sea- are an epitome of grace and reflect elegance in their traditional clothes. The piece of cloth that they wrap around their bodies is the “sadi”, one of the main costumes found in the wardrobe of Indian women.
This saree is almost 8-10 yards in length and is just a long piece of cloth without any stitch. Throughout the Indian sub-continent women can be seen wearing saris but the fashion in which they tie this sari differs from region to region.
In Maharashtra the women wear the saree with the pleats at the hind tucked at the centre of the back in the waist. The “padar” or “pallu” is carried over left shoulder of these women. A petticoat which is basically a plain skirt is worn beneath the saree and a blouse called the “choli” is worn on top and covers the body till the navel.
History Of This 10 Yard Wonder
The saree as worn today was developed in the sub-continent around some 4,000 years back. The Indus River Civilization is known to have devised this garment, a fact enumerated in several poems and seen on statues which have a draped garment around them.
Most priests of this era were said to have supported a “dhoti”, this was also supported by many men and women of the civilization. The dhoti only covered the lower part of the body. The upper half was covered by “neryath” a kind of shawl. The saree being worn today is an innovative combination of these two pieces of clothing worn in the ancient past of the great civilization.
With the invasion of British on the Indian soil, certain concepts of modesty arose. The blouse and petticoat was the “white man’s” method of civilizing the crude, barbaric, semi-naked Indians. And hence a blouse designed on the ideas of Victorian modesty was introduced to the women of the country.
Styles That Marathi Women Sport
Marathi women mostly wear their sarees in various styles. “Lugade“- usually the elderly women wear this 9 yard long saree whose width is between 42-45 inches and which supports two borders along the length called “kinar.” “Pallu” is the border along the width of the saree and is extremely decorated on one end.
Young women on the other hand wear sarees usually 5-6 yards in length. Nowadays most women are seen wearing sarees over blouses and have discarded the “choli”. Sarees come in multiple color combinations and textures.
Wedding Saree Of the Marathi
Saree is the garment worn during the auspicious occasion of a wedding by most women in Maharashtra. Not only is it beautiful, comfortable but can be preserved for future use and hence becomes the most preferred traditional garment.
Marathi women usually wear a green saree on their weddings as green is considered an auspicious color. The wedding saree is decorated using several glittery accessories. Along with the saree women wear bangles, beads, a silver toe ring, earring with 7 pearls, bindi and a pearl nose ring. And this completes the attire of the bride to be, a total package of glamour and tradition.
How To Wrap A Saree The Marathi Style
Though the saree is worn differently all over the Indian sub-continent but the petticoat and choli are the essentials which remain constant throughout. The petticoat is like a skirt tied around the waist with help of a string preferably of cotton which would hold the saree in place and not let it slip even if one sweats a lot.
Then tuck the end without the “pallu in the petticoat. Give one full turn of wrapping the saree around the waist; let the “pallu”, the preferred length fall over the shoulder. Now start making pleats around 7-20, 5 inches in dept and tuck them in the petticoat too. Now wrap the drape again around the waist and adjust the “pallu” according to your preference.
Saree – Still A Craze
Even though the Indian women might have adjusted to the growing globalization and taken over the jeans and tops fashion. But the heart of an Indian woman melts the moment she views a beautiful saree displayed in a shop. Despite the adoption of western culture the wardrobe of an Indian woman will always have certain number of sarees.
Especially sarees given during marriage have an emotional link which no women can forgo. Some sarees are even passed down the generations and hence are like inherited tradition. Sarees for Indian women are not just yards of cloth but rather pieces of history, emotions, traditions and customs which despite all influences are ingrained into the Indian heart and can never be replaced by any long dress or fashionable piece of western clothing.
A saree is an emotion which is worn and preserved for the future. Sarees are how women over ages have connected and continue to be spell bound by this yard long wonder. It is perhaps an immortal piece that shall survive through all ages and advancements.