The genuine symbol of ethnic fashion, a Saree makes a woman not only look elegant, but feel regal too. Just think of Saree and what comes to mind is an eclectic traditional style that has stood the test of time, very literally.
Thanks to modern innovations and techniques, it is possible for contemporary craftsmen to weave sarees of the latest and unique styles keeping alive the age old traditional cultural heritage. The Saree culture is deep rooted in India society so much so that new range of sarees come up every other day to gratify the eyes of saree loving women.
A Saree is one such garment that can be worn on all almost occasions, whether it is daily use or getting ready for some special occasion like a wedding or party. Even if you lead a life that involves sitting in front of a laptop from 9 to 5, even if your day revolves around completing chores at home, a Saree will always be there for you!
Have you ever known that the Saree story originated in the depths of the Mesopotamian history?
It is true that India was introduced to the very art of weaving cotton into a garment by this advanced civilization. The technique of making this ethnic garment reached the people of the Indus Valley Civilization who wore this woven garment in their day-to-day lives. The woven garments were draped around the waist and pleated at places where it would enable free or rigorous movement.
As per various historical records, it is also known that the kingdoms of Egypt, Sumer and Assyria also adapted this style of clothing. Chronologically, the Aryans were the first ones to make the world notice a Saree which was then known as ‘Neevi’ and was essentially a garment that was tied around a Woman’s waist along with a ‘Kanchuki’, that was similar to today’s Choli. With the arrival of Mughals; the Sareea, three-piece garment, came into existence along with the use of rich fabrics, embellishments and beautiful motifs, followed by the works of master weavers who were born in the heartlands of Gujarat and Benaras.
Having dwelt upon the progress of saree through history, let us now have a look at the 25 most famous sarees from different regions and states of India:
1. Kanchipuram sarees (or) Kanjeevaram sarees
One of the most famous sarees in South India, these beautifully designed sarees are made in the Kanchipuram region in Tamil Nadu.
Crafted with utmost precision and care, these elegant sarees come in vivid and luxuriant colors and have graciously designed contrast borders.
The elegant texture of these captivates one’s senses at once.
One of the most expensive sarees in India, these ethnic beauties are a must buy for saree loving women. Use of thick silk and heavy texture give it a distinctive feel.
2. Banarasi Silk Sarees
Named after the holy city of Benares, these silk sarees are indispensable to your wardrobe.
Rich in color and heavy in texture, these silk sarees are elaborately and meticulously woven with gold, copper and silver threads.
It is the striking golden embroidery that makes these sarees the most popular ethnic garment in North India.
Suitable for special occasions like weddings, parties and festivities; these classic and elegant sarees are the most sought after by Indian women.
3. Chanderi Sarees
Elaborately designed and beautifully crafted in the town of Chanderi of Madhya Pradesh, these sarees are made from pure silk, fine cotton and zari.
One of the finest fabrics in India, these feather light and transparent sarees are a must in every woman’s wardrobe. These sarees are the perfect example of matchless craftsmanship coupled with artistic finesse.
These gorgeous looking sarees are imprinted with such designs as peacocks, coins, flowers, geometric patterns and figures of animals to captivate one’s senses.
4. Patola Silk Sarees
Made in Patan of Gujarat, patola is a double ikat woven saree usually made from silk.
The word patola is the plural form, whereas the singular is patolu. The double Ikat weave means once the saree is woven, you cannot differentiate between the two sides.
The intensity and the color, the feel and the appeal, are the same on both sides.
It takes three or four months to weave a saree, that makes them unbelievably costly.
Their historical background shows that they were worn only by the ladies belonging to royal and aristocratic classes.
Quite expensive to buy, these sarees are a must buy for those ladies who can afford them.
5. Mysore Silk Sarees
The famous and one of the most sought after Indian wear, Mysore silk sarees are the trademark for the silk sarees produced by Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation.
One of the purest forms of silk, Mysore silk sarees are world famous for their vibrant colors and rich feel.
“The most distinctive feature of the colorful Mysore silk saree is the use of genuine silk and 100% pure gold zari, 65% of silver and 0.65% of original gold.”
These sarees are equipped with golden lace on the edges or on the part covering the shoulder.
6. Paithani Sarees
Deriving its name from the Paithan region of Maharashtra, these gorgeous looking silk sarees are handwoven and are a unique amalgam of luxuriance and richness.
The high quality silk, vibrant colors, intricate designs and ornamental zari are woven with unparalleled skill to make paithani sarees.
Worn mostly during weddings and other special occasions, these expensive outfits are imprinted with such designs as lotus, flowers, peacock, trees, parrots and narali print.
There are also sub categories like Semi paithani sarees and Tathastu paithani sarees etc.
7. Tant Sarees
These cotton sarees are famous for their light and transparent feel. Keeping in with the modern taste, these sarees are available in hand-painted, embroidered and printed forms.
Best suited for day-to-day use , these stiffly starched and deftly crafted sarees are very popular in West Bengal where this saree has become a household name.
It is their universal appeal that has made these sarees the favorite of all, be it a young or old lady.
8. Sambalpuri Sarees
Known as the pride of Orissa, Sambalpuri sarees are made from Silk and Cotton with unique patterns of embroidery to cater to the needs of saree loving women.
Comfortable to wear, these sarees are perfect for all purposes, whether it is doing household chores or sitting in the office for hours.
Having made a firm base in Orissa, these graceful sarees have become quite popular in other parts of India too.
9. Phulkari Sarees
Based upon Punjabi Phulkari, these pleasingly embroidered sarees afford a unique illustration of floral work on handwoven cotton fabric.
Attractive and interesting designs are created on the wrong side of the fabric with darn stitch.
Usually red in color with bright glossy texture, these meticulously crafted sarees are one of the most famous sarees in India.
If you want to have a feel of Punjabi clothing, phulkari is definitely going to work for you.
10. Bhagalpuri Sarees
Named after a tiny town called Bhagalpur in Bihar, these sarees are also known as tussar silk sarees.
Also known as the silk city, Bhagalpur is famous for producing world class silk sarees that are loved by women of all age groups.
These extremely beautiful sarees are world wide popular because of the unique dying style that imparts a hypnotizing feel to these wonderful ethnic garments.
11. Pochampally sarees
Also known as Pochampally Ikat, these highly elegant sarees are made in Nalgonda district of Telangana.
Crafted with a unique amalgam of fine silk and cotton, these double ikat sarees are famous for geometric patterns imprinted on the deftly crafted fabric.
The designs are so skillfully crafted that they have a hypnotizing effect on people.
Perfect for summer due to the lightweight and comfort provided by the fabric.
Both Pochampally cotton sarees and Pochampally silk sarees are equally popular and famous in South India, more in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions.
12. Bandhani Sarees
Usually red and black in color, these bandhani sarees are from Gujarat and Rajasthan.
It is the process of dye and tie that goes into the making of this saree which derives its name from the word ‘bandhan’ meaning ties.
Patterns like stripes, waves, dots and squares are created by tying the fabric at intervals to create interesting designs.
Available in rich colors like red, blue, yellow and green, these sarees are perfect for different phases of life i.e. red colored saree for a newly wedded bride and yellow for a mother.
Bandhani sarees with kundan work and mirror work are very popular. Also, there are pure silk and cotton bandhan sarees available with traditional touch.
13. Baluchari Sarees
Crafted in the Murshidabad and Bankura district of Bengal, Baluchari sarees are made from silk.
These sarees were worn by women from aristocratic and affluent Bengali families during festival seasons. The borders of these loom-made sarees are inscribed with the legendary stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
These hand woven silk sarees are usually five yards in length with beautiful flowery design engraved on the corners.
The most elegant looking baluchari sarees are woven with gold colored threads that impart a distinctive luster and sheen to the fabric.
14. Muga Sarees
Muga sarees are made out of the rarest of its kind silk found only in Assam. The unique golden color of the sarees is mainly owing to uniqueness of the silk.
These sarees have surprising durability and long lasting quality about them. Additional colors are added on the original yellow base to make the sarees more attractive.
Perfect for special occasions, this Muga silk wear is a luxurious fabric known all over the world for its sheen and luster.
Tussar muga sarees and Assam muga sarees are popular types of muga sarees.
15. Kasavu Sarees
These Kerala based sarees are usually white or cream colored fabrics that are worn especially during festivals and weddings.
The word ‘Kasuvu’ refers to the golden brocade that lies along the edges of these sarees.
The typical kasuvu sarees are handwoven with 100% natural cotton, but it has also evolved with the passage of time and is made using cotton and silk both.
Designed with a golden border, these sarees have become quite popular for their elegance and simplicity.
The popularity of this saree in Kerala can be gauged from the fact that Mohini Attam, the traditional dance of Kerala, is considered incomplete without it.
16. Chikankari Sarees
Undeniably the pride of Lukhnow, the Chikankari saree was traditionally a muslin cloth outfit that has evolved to be available of all types of fabrics.
A variety of threads and stitches are used for the designs and embroidery of Chikankari sarees which is now a highly evolved fabric due to the use of synthetic threads.
The light texture and soft hue of colors make it a unique variety of Indian traditional sarees, suitable for any occasion, be it casual or formal.
Pink and Half white Chikankari saree colors are very popular and liked by many.
17. Konrad Sarees
Also known as Temple sarees, Konrad sarees are made in Tamil Nadu.
Originally, they were meant for temple deities. These sarees are somewhat smaller in length than conventional sarees.
It is the distinctive appearance and a different feel of the sarees that make it unlike other silk sarees.
The borders of these elegant and gracious sarees are inscribed with images of animals and birds that impart a distinctive touch to these ethnic garments.
18. Kota Sarees
These sarees originally belong to the city of Kota in Rajasthan.
Mostly made from fine cotton, silk or the blend of the two, these beautiful transparent sarees are appropriate for all occasions, be it a casual wear or a party wear.
It is the lightness of the texture that makes these sarees ideal for hot summer season.
These sarees were originally white or beige colored but with the advent of modern technologies of weaving sarees, they are available in wide ranging colors.
It is the airy, translucent and thin texture of the fabric that makes it quite pleasing to wear.
Popular verities in Kota sarees are pure kota sarees, Zari kota sarees, plain kota sarees with zari border etc.
19. Dhakai Jamdani Saree
It is not for nothing that Bengali women are regarded as the most beautiful ones in the world. It goes without saying that these beautiful sarees make Bengali women grab the crown of the prettiest ladies in the world.
Bengali sarees are unique and artistic, its best example being dhakai sarees that originally belong to Dhaka that is now in Bangladesh.These sarees also called as Bangladeshi dhakai jamdani sarees and Bangladeshi jamdani sarees.
Dhakai Jamdani sarees are characterized by intricately designed patterns that seem to protrude from the airy and transparent fabric.These elegant looking and lightweight sarees have the mystical charm about them.
20. Gadwal Sarees
Situated between the rivers Tungabhadra and Krishna, the town of Gadwal is famous for its handloom weaving industry that unites both Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.
The silk Gadwal sarees are best known for their beautiful zari work, beautifully-crafted Kuttu borders and lightweight and easy to wear fabric, while the cotton-based sarees present a perfect option to the wearer, that is a rich look and comfortable wear.
With the blend of traditional quality and modern style, Gadwal sarees have unique importane for any occasssions. Gadwal sarees are very popular in and around Hyderabad.
21. Jamawar Sarees
These gracious sarees belong to Kashmir.
Jamawar is a deftly crafted saree with eye-catching decorations and vivid colors that are engraved on pure silk or pashmina.
The word ‘Jamawar’ means dress or robe, once used by the royalty for the purpose of dressing themselves and which now is a very popular variety of Indian traditional sarees that you can put on for the special moments of your life.
The distinctiveness of the saree is that a number of its varieties come with matching silk shawls along them and are decorated with meenakari colours like green or orange and have beautiful aksi embroidery for the borders.
22. Kantha Stitch Saree
The Kantha is a type of embroidery that was traditionally popular in West Bengal and Orissa. The pattern of the saree is created using simple run stitch on a silk or cotton yard.
The stitches are used to make intricate patterns all over these Indian traditional sarees, especially on the pallu and the border with the use of colourful silk threads.
23. Tanchoi Sarees
Tanchoi is actually a unique weaving technique which involves a single or double warp along with two to five colours placed in the weft that are often of the same shade and done on silk fabric.
The richness of the shades and the softness of the fabric make it a highly popular silk saree in inside and outside India.
There are many varieties of tanchoi weave which includes satin tanchoi, satin jari tanchoi, atlas or gilt and mushabbar.
These sarees are quite suitable for formal occasions such as weddings, ceremonies, and festivities.
The most appropriate time to wear a tanchoi saree is during the cooler months of autumn and winter because of the warmth of the fabric.
24. Kimkhab Sarees
Considered one of the most luxurious and finest textiles in the Mughal era, these sarees were highly popular during those days.
Now a days, this pattern is widely used for wedding sarees with a heavy brocade and intricate embroidery inspired from the Islamic cultural heritage.
The pattern of the brocade has wefts, numerous layers as well as warp threads that add to the glory of the elaborate look created by the embroidery design.
25. Nauvari Sarees
Also known as Kasta Saree or Kashta Saree, they originally come from the state of Maharashtra.
The name ‘Nauvari’ indicates the saree’s length of nine yard. These auvari sarees can be worn as a dhoti, which imparts a traditional touch to it.
Usually made from cotton, these traditionally important sarees are worn without a petticoat mainly by the Maharashtrian Brahmin women.
Both elderly and young women love to wear these sarees.
There is a special way to drape the Nauvari saree and it requires some skill. These sarees are widely used during classical dancing.
We tried to list 25 famous and popular sarees from different parts of India. However, the list wont end here, there are so many more varieties of sarees that are used but limited to certain geographical areas.
Also, there may be several more types pf sarees that even not known to outside world because people from certain tribal and rural areas continue to wear the traditional sarees that have been there since years.