The Indian saree is a garment steeped in culture and history. Every state in India has its own version of this nine or six yard attire. A saree is a woven saga of the history of its native region. For example, take the sarees of West Bengal. There are many varieties of the traditional weaves that Bengal takes pride in.
In celebration of this special Indian garment, here are a few photos that showcase six types of sarees worn traditionally, formally, and casually by the Bengali women and their destination of origin.
Almost every Bengali woman would have a Tant saree in her wardrobe–it is an indispensable staple. A Tant saree is made from cotton, and they are highly wearable on any given day due to their light weight. In Bengal, about five types of Tant sarees are made depending on the region. A Tant saree never goes out of style.
Garad sarees usually come in red and white or off-white colour combinations. They are often called as the famous Lal-Par saree due to the staple colour combo of red and white. Such sarees are made in Murshidabad district, and they are often worn during Durga Puja by the traditional Bengali women. Nowadays, there are different colour variants of the Garad or Lal-Par saree available in the market.
The Korial saree is a more refined version of the Garad saree. It is distinguished by its ornamental borders and the pallu that bear attractive motifs. Like Garad, Korial saree is a symbol of purity. Hence, they are also worn by the women in festive occasions.
Murshidabadi Silk Saree
This kind of saree is especially made in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal. Its solid colour varieties and the lovely patterns printed on the pallu make it truly desirable. The sarees have a shiny appearance, which make them good to be worn during festivals and special days. The coloured patterns on these sarees are generally hand-drawn by the artist.
A Baluchori or Baluchari saree is a prized possession that is cherished by every woman, who loves Indian silken nine yards, and that too, handmade. Baluchori sarees of West Bengal are an excellent counterpart of the Banarasi sarees of Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that the first Nawab of West Bengal, Murshid Quli Khan, introduced the Baluchori style of weaving to the namesake village (Baluchor) in the 18th century. The origin of the weaving style is in Dhaka, which was a part of India before partition. Most of the Bakuchori sarees depict scenes from the Hindu scriptures like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Due to the recurring floods in the Bhagirathi River in Baluchor, the weavers have shifted base to Bishnupur.
Kantha sarees are made using the namesake stitch that involves intricately doing thread-work on a fabric. Ideally, running stitches are done in typical Kantha embroidery. It was originally meant to recycle old and discarded materials like quilt and old clothes into something more useful. Later, weavers started working up the Kantha magic in sarees as well.
Tasar is a weave of Malda district in West Bengal. The Tasar sarees are held special for their floral and paisley motifs, and a crisp texture that renders a noble look to the wearer. These sarees come in a range of colours, especially off-white and beige.