India is a country with a rich cultural heritage. Our architecture, customs, rituals and different forms of attire are a testimony of this. When we talk of forms of attire, the garment which brings out our tradition and culture in the best possible way is the saree. No other form of dressing can match the elegance and grace of the six-yard wonder.
Here we have tried to compile a list of the various types of sarees found in different parts of the country. Let this be your A – Z guide to sarees of India. These sarees from the different States of India will help you get your traditional saree look.
These sarees come from Ahmedabad, Gujrat. Ashavali is a style of weaving that traces its origin to the 16th century when it was worn by royalty and nobles. The Khatris and Patels made the fabric.
They are believed to have influenced the brocade traditions of Banaras through the migration of Gujrati weavers.
The sarees are distinguished by the enamelled look of the border and the interwoven designs. These are considered to be the pride of Ahmedabad. The motifs and patterns are outlined by a fine dark line inlay work, which makes these sarees stand out. The designs also include embroidery, beadwork and jali work. These sarees are known for their vibrant colours, lightness and buoyancy.
These sarees come from the Bomkai village in Odisha. While the cotton bomkais are for regular wear, their silk counterparts are generally worn during festivals and religious occasions. These sarees are known for the exquisite threadwork that can be seen on the border and the pallu. The ethnic Bomkai sarees are decorated with intricate patterns and motifs inspired by tribal art and natural surroundings.
Though originally found in red, black and white, these sarees are now available in many other colours. The border and the pallu with intricate threadwork make these sarees stunning. What makes them unique are the interwoven motifs of fish, tortoise, peacock, lotus and birds.
Aishwarya Rai wore a kind of Bomkai called Radhakunj when she married Abhishek Bachchan.
This saree comes from the Shantiniketan region of West Bengal. The art of batik comes from Indonesia, and Rabindranath Tagore got it to India.
Batik is an ancient art which uses wax and coloured dyes to create magic on fabrics. It is known for its unusual patterns and designs. It is the process of dyeing cloth by covering a part of it with a coat of wax. The waxed areas help keep the cloth’s original colour, and as a result, there is a difference between the dyed and the undyed part, giving the fabric a catchy pattern. The artisans showcase their creativity with various types of dye and wax on cotton, silk and other natural fabrics.
Banarasi sarees are known for their gold, silver and brocade work, meticulously woven with the finest silks to create intricate and opulent designs. This makes these sarees appropriate for weddings and other occasions. The patterns on these sarees are usually leaves, gold weavings, florals or even figures with small details inspired by Mughal designs.
These sarees are rich in colour and heavy in texture and come in various varieties, like Tanchoi, Jangla, Cutwork, Butidar and Vaskat. They come in silk, organza and georgette.
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What Banarsi sarees are to Banaras, Baluchari sarees are to the State of West Bengal. This weaving style originated in Dhaka, which was once a part of India. These sarees depict scenes from the Hindu scriptures, like the Ramayana and Mahabharat.
A typical Baluchari takes about a week to weave. After the silk has been extracted from the cocoons, it is yarned, after which the motif is made, and then the saree is woven. In earlier times, these sarees were worn by upper-class families.
There is a variety of Baluchari sarees that are woven in zari; it is called a Swaranchari.
These are tussar silk sarees that come from Bhagalpur in Bihar. Worn by the ruling class in ancient India, this art got extinct. But then, some 200 years ago, it got revived due to the efforts of some craftsmen, after which many government and non-government entities started several initiatives to bring it back.
A soft and lightweight silk, these sarees are very easy to drape. Since Natural dyes are used on these sarees, they come in earthy colours. Moreover, very few worms are killed while making this silk, making it eco-friendly.
Bagru is a hand-block print from a place called Bagru in Rajasthan. The print uses natural colours and can be done on cotton or silk, making for wearable sarees for work and casual wear. Light in weight, these sarees are very easy to drape.
This saree comes from Behrampur in Odisha, also known as the Silk City. The weave is typical of the State, and so is the phoda Kumbha temple-type design. A lot of precision and skill goes into the making of the saree.
This is a saree which is very well known in Rajasthan and Gujrat.
The name of this saree comes from the word Bandhan which means ties. It is crafted from the traditional tie and die technique, where the saree is tied in knots, followed by filling up the colour in the saree.
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These sarees come in bright and vibrant colours, enhanced by beautiful dotted prints. The higher the number of dots, the more intricate the design and the more expensive the saree.
The dots are often figurative forms of flowers, squares, peacocks or elephants. These sarees are made in silk, cotton, georgette and crepe.
Chikan is a form of embroidery from the City of Nawabs, Lucknow. This form of embroidery uses different types of thread and stitches like chain stitch, backstitch and hemstitch. The embroidery is delicate and exquisite and is the handiwork of skilled and experienced craftsmen.
The texture is light, and the colours are soft and soothing. The embroidery is, at times, embellished with sequins to make the saree dressy. The fabric could be soft cotton, muslin chiffon, or georgette.
These sarees come from the place Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh. Light and airy, these are perfect to wear during weddings and other occasions in the summer months. The fabric is lightweight because silk and zari are woven with cotton, giving it a luxurious and rich feel. The designs of these sarees are inspired by nature, like swans, trees, fruits, flowers, peacocks, heavenly bodies, coins and figures of animals. The fine fabric makes the Chanderi one of the lightest sarees famous for its sheer texture and a glossy transparency.
This type of saree comes from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh. These sarees are traditionally woven from tussar silk in the interlock weft technique.
These sarees are very similar to Kanjivaram sarees; their distinguishing feature is the weaving of two colours, giving them a bright yet subdued dual shade effect. These sarees have broad borders with solid colours and contrasting pallus woven with intricate golden zari brocade patterns and butta designs. The pallus are heavy with exclusive designs.
This is a cotton saree made in Dhaniakhali, West Bengal, with a 100 by 100 cotton thread count. Among the various types of cotton sarees found in India, this is one of the best. These sarees are woven not in very close texture but with contrasting borders in red, black, purple, orange etc., emphasised by a serrated edge motif. In modern times, the border has been broadened to 6 inches and more adorned with tussar, Moga or zari stripes.
14. Eri Silk
This is an exclusive variety of silk harvested in the Northeastern states of India and parts of China and Japan. This variety has become very well known because of its cocoon harvest culture in which extraction of fibre causes no harm to the worm residing in it. That is why it is also called ahimsa or non-violence silk.
This silk is known for its durability, elasticity and fineness. It easily blends with other fabrics like wool. The texture of this fabric is coarse, fine and dense, making it strong and durable. The weather-adaptive material keeps the wearer warm during winters and cool during summers. It is India’s finest and purest form of silk.
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These cotton sarees come from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. These sarees are defined by delicate threadwork borders, single colours and patterns which run all over. The designs are tribal and have a distinct ikkat style with golden checks and stripes. The weave is tight and compact, which makes the sarees sturdy yet soft. The pallus have simple stripes, scattered butis or flower adornments.
These are daily wear sarees with a classic pattern that is simple yet colourful.
These are the traditional Laal- Paar sarees worn by women in West Bengal during Durga puja and other special occasions. The word Garad means white. It is silk that has not been dyed, keeping the purity of the fabric intact, thus making them sacred. They usually come in the red and white combination and are made in the Murshidabad district.
The silk fibres are closely woven, giving an excellent texture to the saree. The sarees are intricately woven using golden and silver silk threads to give them that heavy look. They have a papery texture, and the natural colour of the silk makes them expensive.
Gadwal sarees come from Gadwal in Telangana. They take inspiration from Andhra and Karnataka cultures together as Gadwal town is located between the two states. The traditional handicraft sarees come out as either pure silk or cotton or silk-cotton. This type of Indian saree is best known for zari works with rich and contrasting borders. The weave is so light that the saree can be packed in a matchbox. The sarees have a lightly designed body with elegant buttas, and the borders have intricate zari patterns.
These sarees come from Rajasthan. This saree uses the applique technique, where a zari ribbon is made into elaborate patterns and sewn onto the fabric. The fabric is generally georgette, crepe or chiffon or light silk. The extent of work makes it light or heavy.
These sarees come from the town Ilkal in Karnataka. The unique feature of these sarees is that the warp is woven in cotton while the pallu and the border are woven in art silk or pure silk. The warp is prepared separately for every saree, and the body and the border are linked using a technique called Topa Teni. This technique is unique to ilkal sarees.
The body of the saree contains checks, squares, stripes or rectangular patterns, while the pallu has lengthwise colour bands running across with designs inspired by the temple architecture. The motifs of ratha, temple tank, temple tower, conch, and lotus are inscribed on the pallu. Initially, a daily wear saree; nowadays, it is being patronised by high society women.
Jamdani or Dhakai is the most exquisite cotton saree from West Bengal. It is an exotic combination of Mughal patronage and ancient Hindu culture. Extremely lightweight, the unique feature of these sarees is the motifs that seem to float on the surface of the ultrafine, translucent texture fabric. The patterns are subtle and take inspiration from life. The motifs are a mix of plants, animals, nature and the galaxy. The handwoven technique with the gold-coloured thread enhances the rich patterns and motifs in shades that are in contrast to the base fabric. It is considered one of the most delicate muslin weavings in the world.
Known as the queen of sarees, Kanjivaram sarees are crafted from traditionally woven silk and come from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. These sarees are woven from pure mulberry silk thread and have a signature gold tint which enhances and embellishes their look. These sarees often have golden contrasting borders and are known for their traditional designs like stripes, checks, and florals. They have nature-inspired motifs like the moon, chariots, peacocks, coins, mangoes, leaves and jasmine buds. The well-crafted saree has a glossy and royal feel to them.
These sarees come from West Bengal. These are made using the lamntha stitch. Originally this stitch was used to recycle old materials like quilts etc., into something more useful. Later, weavers started using this on sarees.
This embroidery is done with a simple running stitch along the edges. In the more elaborate versions, the entire length could be covered with the stitch creating beautiful motifs of flowers, animals and birds in geometric shapes and themes from everyday activities.
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23. Kota Doria
These traditional sarees come from Kota, a town in Rajasthan. These sarees are woven on a traditional pit loom. These sarees use cotton and silk yarn. The yarn is smeared with a paste of onion juice and rice to make it heavy and can be embroidered. These sarees stand out with their geometric embroidery, check prints and border patches. The sarees are sometimes embellished with zari to make them shimmer and shine. These sarees are extremely cool and breathable in daily summer wear.
This traditional cream-coloured saree comes from Kerala, the country’s southern tip. The saree is an elegant blend of white and gold. With a cream body and a glossy border, this saree is worn on important occasions like religious ceremonies, Onam festivities and weddings.
The minimalistic design gives it an exquisite look.
The word Kasavu refers to the golden brocade that lies along the edge of the saree. But now, with changing times, it also uses other colours. The border has natural patterns like birds and flowers.
The typical handwoven Kasavu is made with 100% unbleached cotton, but now it is made using both silk and cotton. It is worn by dancers while performing the traditional dance of Kerala, Mohini Attam.
Kalamkari is one of the ancient art forms translated on soft cotton voile or Mangalgiri cotton using natural dyes in Andhra Pradesh. The word kalamkari comes from two words Kari which means creation, and kalam, which means pen. The motifs are sketched using tamarind twigs and painted using vegetable dyes, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, ancient caves and structures. The art is such that it gets better with every wash; the eclectic colours of these sarees and the fact that everything about them is organic make them sought after.
These sarees come from the Chattisgarh district. The word Kosa is derived from a Sanskrit word which means silk. This silk is known for its softness and elegance and is extensively used for manufacturing traditional Indian sarees.
Sometimes the moth emerges from the kosa farmland. Ideally, this kind of cocoon is unsuitable for extracting fine Kosa filaments. So then this is used to produce the Gheecha yarn.
The sarees could have a plain body with a bit of zari on the border and pallu.
Konrad or temple sarees were originally worn for temple deities which is where they got their name from. The wide borders of these traditional sarees have natural elements like flowers, creepers, vines, peacocks, and elephants on them. The body could be plain or with checks and stripes. These sarees are relatively lighter in weight than the other Indian silk sarees.
These come from the Vidharba region of Maharashtra.
These are tussar sarees where the tussar is obtained from a wide-wing moth that is yellowish brown. The tussar from this region is supposed to be the best in quality and colour due to the unique environmental conditions of this region.
Karvat in Marathi means the saw, and since the design looks like the tooth of a saw, the fabric is known as Karvati or Karvatkati.
Generally, these sarees have a plain body and a contrasting border.
This is a vegetable-dyes fabric woven by the tribal weavers of the Kotpad village in Odisha. These could be in cotton or tussar. The cotton sarees have a solid border with a pata anchal with typical buttis/motifs. The sarees are dyed using organic colours, manufactured from the aul tree in this area. The tribal art and the natural colour are the specialities of these sarees.
Khun is a fabric with a 4000-year history, designed in parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra. It is a traditional weave with an intricate brocade-like pattern that adds to the saree’s beauty. These distinct patterns feature small, delicate motifs and are handwoven into the saree. The saree could be cotton silk or a cotton blend fabric. Also known as khan, these sarees are light and easy to wear for casual occasions and work.
Khandua is a traditional bandha or ikkat saree from Odisha. Weaver communities in areas around Cuttack weave this cloth. The sarees are pure silk and are worn during most auspicious occasions.
The sarees are soft, light in weight and pocket friendly too. Traditionally the saree is red or orange though other colours are also being produced. The design motif has an elephant representing Buddha surrounded by peacocks, a large flower and the deula Kumbha, a mythical creature. The khandua saree generally has plain borders, unlike other ikat sarees from Orissa, which have motifs.
Lehriya is a traditional saree that comes from Rajasthan. Made using the tie and dye technique, the saree is a burst of scintillating colours, and since the pattern is in the form of waves, it is called Lehriya.
In this saree, the opposite ends, along with the length of the cloth, are pulled and rolled together. This is followed by the tying and dying of the fabric in vivid colours churning out diagonal multi-coloured lines with a kaleidoscopic design.
These sarees in light silk, cotton, chiffon and georgette are classy and can be worn for casual and formal get-togethers.
This handwoven saree comes from Mangalgiri, a place in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is a lightweight, classic saree that is comfortable to wear in summer. The yarn is pure cotton densely woven with silver or golden zari. It is also among the most beautiful sarees in India. The saree has different coloured threads in the warp and weft, which gives it a shimmering appearance. It has intricate tribal designs woven in cotton with zari or golden-coloured striped or checkered patterns on the pallu.
These sarees come from the State of Assam. The silk is extracted from wild silkworms and is exclusive because it can be found only in Assam. The silk is durable, and the saree has a golden sheen to it. The saree can be further dyed by bleaching, and the more it is washed, the more lustre it gets. This traditional silk saree was considered royal. Worn during weddings and other formal occasions, it comes in plain colours and even with beautifully woven motifs.
35. Mysore Silk
Mysore silk sarees are another stunning type from the South of India. These lightweight sarees come in bright colours, and the traditional look makes them appropriate to wear for auspicious and formal occasions. These sarees could be plain or embroidered.
Coming from the town of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh, these sarees have a lot of history. The town has been the hub of handloom weaving since the 5th century.
The fabric is woven with silk and cotton yarns giving it a soft texture and making it perfect for the summer.
The first of these sarees was designed by the Maratha queen Ahilya bai Holkar, also a designer.
The saree has a reversible border and five unique stripes on the pallu. The border is made with zari; the body could be plain or with checks or stripes. A typical saree takes 3-10 days to complete.
The sarees are known for being subtle and rich, which gives them elegance.
37. Moirang Phee
Moirangphee is a textile fabric which has a specific design called the Moirangpheejin. It comes from the State of Manipur. This is woven sequentially on both the longitudinal edges of the fabric and oriented towards the centre with cotton or silk threads.
The design of the saree is believed to represent the thin and pointed teeth of Pakhangba, the Pythonic God in Manipuri mythology.
The saree is distinguished by its temple border and is a conventional way of dressing for Manipuri women. Some of these sarees resemble the Jamdani with the combination of woven and embroidered borders.
This saree comes from the Narayanpet town of Telangana. This saree has a distinctive feature: its checked design with contrasting silver or gold zari borders that depict ethnic patterns like temples. The sarees, which could be in silk or cotton, come in bright colours and are dyed using colours extracted from vegetables. These are lightweight sarees which are easy on the pocket.
These sarees have a distinct Maharashtrian influence resulting from the patronage they received from Chatrapati Shivaji.
Therefore these sarees are a fusion of the Telangana and the Maratha style and depict how the blending of two cultures can create something extraordinary. They have a rich and elegant look about them.
This saree comes from the State of Gujrat. There are two varieties of this saree- the Rajkot Patola and the Patan Patola.
The Rajkot patolas are single ikat weaves that are vertically resist-dyed.
The Patan patolas are a double ikat weave that are horizontally resist-dyed. They come from the town of Patan. These are pure silk sarees that are hand-dyed, making them pretty expensive. The double ikat produces a saree with identical sides. Whether it is the intensity of the colour, the feel or the aesthetic appeal, everything is the same on both sides. The sarees with motifs and designs of parrots, flowers, elephants, and geometrical patterns are beautiful. These sarees take about 5-6 months to complete.
Pochampally sarees are a type of ikat sarees that come from the State of Telangana.
The saree stands out because of its beautiful warp and weft weave with different colours that come across as a double-shaded saree. The material is either cotton or silk or a mixture of the two. The Pochampally ikkat silk sarees are woven in the double ikat technique and are well known for symmetric designs made with natural dyes and the finest silk yarn.
Paithani saree comes from the Paithan town of Maharashtra, a gold and silk saree that was earlier woven out of cotton but now has completely changed into a silk product.
These sarees are crafted from high-quality silk and are available in vibrant colours. The intricate motifs like flowers, peacocks, parrots, lotus and the ornamental zari threads are woven skillfully to make a paithini. The sarees have a slanting square border design. With patterns of nature inscribed on the pallu, these sarees are just suitable for weddings, events and festivals. The fine quality silk and the minute detailing of these sarees make them one of the most expensive sarees in India.
Phulkari is a style of embroidery that comes from the State of Punjab. The word phulkari is related to flowers embroidered on the saree to give it a flowery look. The darn stitch is the speciality of this embroidery which is done using coloured silk threads. The sarees with this embroidery look classy and rich.
43. Passa Palli
Passapalli is an ikat saree from the Bargarh district of the State of Odisha. The name passapalli is derived from the word pasa, which refers to gambling ( as used in the Mahabharta), and Palli refers to the print on the pallu.
The sarees are exclusive not only because of their print but also because of the intricate weave. The saree takes almost 3-4 weeks to complete. It has patterns of animals, conch, wheel, flora and fauna. Sometimes they also contain inspirational thoughts and messages.
Phulia sarees come from Phulia, a place in West Bengal. These are the creation of weavers of traditional Bengal cotton sarees. These weavers trace their lineage back to the weavers of the Dhakai Jamdani of Bangladesh, who settled in India at the time of partition. These are Tangail sarees which are similar to the Dhakai jamdani in technique but are softer in feel with the motifs spaced out. The Phulia Tangail is woven in silk as well as cotton.
This is yet another saree from the State of Odisha. These are bright and vibrant sarees that are handwoven in a place called Sambalpur. These are generally tussar or cotton and have traditional motifs like flowers, wheels, temples, fish and shells. They draw inspiration from the daily life in the coastal villages. The unique feature of these sarees is the technique of dyeing the threads and weaving them into fabric form. The patterns are unique, and these sarees can be worn to work or formal occasions.
This saree comes from Shantipur in West Bengal. Traditionally fine cotton yarn is used in both warp and weft. Cotton Muga and tusser silk are used in the extra warp for weaving the border. The sarees have elegant designs inspired by nature called Bhomra, Terchi, Rajmahal, Nilambari, Ganga Jamuna etc. These are what make these sarees unique.
Sungudi is a cotton saree from Tamil Nadu and is very well known. These sarees have big borders and signature block prints and are very soft and suitable for daily wear.
One of the famous cotton sarees of India, the sungudi sarees are characterised by big borders and signature block prints. They are soft and suitable for daily wear. For office wear, you can choose a premium range of Sungudi sarees.
This lightweight cotton saree from West Bengal is a part of every Bengali woman’s wardrobe. Since the material is breathable, they are the ideal wear for humid weather. The sarees are light and transparent with thick borders.
These sarees come from Uppada in Andhra Pradesh. These sarees are crafted using the Jamdani method. These sarees are light in weight and are enhanced by floral patterns, geometric designs and elegant motifs. The use of gold, silver and zari threads make them classy and elegant. The silk is light and easy to wear.
These sarees were once patronised by the royal families. There is a unique process for dyeing these sarees, which is called the vat and naphthol method. Made using the finest cotton/silk with zari woven into them, these sarees are very exclusive. They, too, have a jamdani style of weaving in silk or cotton.
Venaktgiri sarees are produced by natives of Venkatgiri town of Andhra Pradesh.
The traditional saree look is one-of-a-kind that can make every woman look beautiful and sensuous.
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