A saree is a single piece of cloth which brings us closer to our Indian tradition and value. It enhances the beauty of the wearer and is an attire to cherish. Hailing from the humble state of Maharashtra, the Kashta Saree, also known as Nauvari saree, Konkani Saree and Sakachcha Saree is a an unique style of draping the nine yard wonder. This drape is also worn in some regions of Karnataka, Goa and Konkan too. This is an amalgamation on beauty and comfort. The word Kashta means Saree being tucked at the back. It is also called Akhanda Vastra, which means Complete Attire by itself and does not need any other garment like a petticoat. Kashta saree is similar to the Maharashtrian dhoti style. This saree has a trouser like appearance, thus giving the wearer extreme comfort while performing daily activities.
History of Kashta Saree
Kashta Saree traces its roots to war periods, when Maharashtrian women fought battles along with men. Rani Lakshmi Bai can be seen wearing a Kashta style saree. It gives them ease of movement and is a symbol of freedom for women. This saree showed the world that women were not just restricted to kitchens but also were protectors, when the need arose.
Now a days, usage of Kashta saree has reduced, by calling it too revealing. It is used mostly in song sequences of Bollywood movies. The fact that a saree of such historical importance is gradually losing its value is saddening.
Kashta saree is also worn while performing Lavani, the folk dance of Maharashtra.
Types of Kashta Saree
Kashta saree is versatile and there are various types of this style. The most popular methods of draping Kashta saree are:
- Traditional Nauvari Drape
- Brahmani Drape
- Koli Drape
- Peshwari Nauvari Drape
- Contemporary Kashta Drape
1. Traditional Nauvari Drape
In this style, the centre of the saree is tucked lengthwise at the centre of the back. The ends are then brought forward and the pleats are made on the right side. The back also has pleats at the centre, which gives this the appearance of a typical pant style saree. The pallu is pinned on the left shoulder and the end is sometimes pulled over the right shoulder or overhead during Lavani dance.
2. Brahmani Drape
This is worn by Brahmin women of Maharashtra, hence the name. A nine yard silk saree is generally used for this drape. In this style, the border is highlighted in the front as well as in the pallu. This style helps the Brahmin women to assist in the holy pujas performed by their men, which requires squatting movements. It also helps to control hunger as the saree is knotted at pressure points and helps while fasting.
3. Koli Drape
The Koli community migrated to Maharashtra from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh. The Koli style Kashta saree has two parts. The first part is tied around the waist whereas the other one is tucked at the torso and the pallu is pulled overhead which gives this saree a typical Marathi look.
4. Peshwari Drape
This style has the saree tucked in at the back not from the centre, but from the left side. The border is dominant on the lower left side of the body in a beautiful curve. This style is similar to Brahmini style of draping Kashta saree.
5. Contemporary Kashta Drape
This is a modified version of the Maharashtrian style, where the pant style drape is maintained while the front is simple and similar to a normal saree. It has a polished look and is easier to carry. All it requires is a kamarbandh around your waist to this look.
How to Wear A Kashta Saree
A 9 yard long saree is needed to drape the Kashta style saree which is also called the Sakachcha saree. Because of this, it is called Nauvari Saree, which literally translates to Nine Yards. Wearing a saree is a always fun , below are steps to wear the kashta saree
- Wear a capri or a legging instead of a petticoat before beginning to drape the saree.
- Tie a double knot at the right side of the waist.
- Pin the pallu first over the left shoulder by bringing it around your body ( similar to the normal pallu pinning style.) Wrapt the pallu over your neck to keep it out of your way while draping the saree. Remove it after the saree is draped.
- Bring the inner border of the pallu and then bring it forward to your waist.
- Bring the saree which is behind your legs to the front by bringing it from the centre of your legs. Straighten it well and then tuck it in between your waist. This helps to create the pant style of Kashta saree. Place the saree which you brought from the back beneath the saree which is tied around your waist. Pull it up an inch and the bring it over and pin it with the lower end. This is to secure the saree. It also gives a neat look.
- Make the centre pleats of the saree with the remaining saree. Hold these pleats tightly between your thighs. Now leave the two topmost pleats and hold the other pleats. Roll all the pleats together and then tuck it in. The pleats will have a neat look when tucked in this way. They will appear as separate pleats only from knees onwards. It will help you to avoid a fluffy look.
- Now, spread your legs wide and divide the pleats into two halves, with the right side having 2 to 3 pleats more than the left side.
- Bring the saree from between your legs to the back. You will find that the border will have turned when you bring it to the back. Make a small fold and turn the border to the correct side. Now, make pleats which are of the same width as the border. This pleated border should be tucked at the centre of your back. This part is called Kashta.
- Take the border of the 3 extra pleats which you left on the right side ( in step 7) towards your left waist and place a small ball of newspaper two inches away from the border and secure it with a rubber band. Put this ball in the left side of your hip. The border should be visible as a curve. This part is called ‘Ochha‘
- Finally set the pallu well and pin properly. Ensure your Kashta is visible. Straighten all the borders to give the saree a neat look. Pin the pallu over your left shoulder on your blouse.
Kashta Saree Hairstyle
The preferred hairstyle for a Kashta saree is a Juda, also known as bun. It gives the wearer comfort and lets them show off their stunning back. The Lavani dancers prefer to wear a bun decorated with strings of jasmine for the Kashta drape. It keeps their hair in ace and does not bother them while dancing. The bun also gives the Koli style of Kashta drape, which is worn by fisherwomen, comfort while going about their business. Also, as Kashta drape was preferred by Indian women warriors, wearing a bun along with it provided them ease of movement with better comfort.
Blouse Designs For Kashta Saree
Kashta saree is a sensual drape and the features will be further enhanced if you go for a simple blouse with a deep back. Generally, a deep back line with tassels, dori or threads is worn. Different necklines are used now-a-days, like the pot neck, boat neck and the classic round neck. Puffed sleeves and short sleeves look good with Kashta saree. Other than plain blouse, Maharashtrian style sarees are famous for their patch work blouse.
Kashta Saree Price
A nine yard saree is required for the Kashta drape. The price varies according to the material. Usually a silk saree is used for festive seasons whose price begins from INR 3500 and can go up to Lakhs. To make the saree easy to ear, readymade, stitched Nauvari sarees are available in the market. The price depends on the type of Kashta and the material used. The average price is INR 1000 for silk and INR 600 for cotton. The price increases depending on the design and style. It can also be customised. Readymade Kashta sarees for kids is also very popular.