Since silk sarees are synonymous with South India, it isn’t a wonder that it is the birthplace of some of the most beautiful weaves in the country. The treasures of the South are sought after by every Indian woman across the world for its sheer elegance and unparalleled beauty. A symbol of auspiciousness and harbinger of festivities, the best of south Indian silks are preserved for the most important occasions. And when the treasure trove opens, we are greeted with a volley of colours and a bright sheen that only makes the ‘wait-to-inherit-them’ harder.
Let’s take a look at six south Indian sarees that are neighbour’s envy and owner’s pride.
1. Kanjeevaram Sarees
Born in the Kancheepuram region of Tamil Nadu, Kanjeevaram sarees (also known as Kancheepuram sarees) are said to have been woven by the descendants of Sage Markanda — the master weaver of Gods who is supposed to have woven tissue from lotus fibre. Woven from pure mulberry silk threads, Kanjeevaram sarees are undoubtedly one of the richest and most magnificent sarees that India can boast of. An absolute essential for a bride, this saree was traditionally made only in red and gold. The silk thread is dipped in liquid gold or silver and to create intricate motifs on these sarees. Available in a multitude of colours now, there is hardly any weave that can compete with the grandeur and opulence of Kanjeevaram sarees.
Perhaps one of the most sought after silks from the Southern part of India, the Mysore silk is an interesting play of colour, richness and traditional appeal. It usually weighs between 400-600 grams and its price depends on the weight. It is one of those few silks that has incorporated few changes with the passage of time, and hence continues to remain very popular. Available in bright colours, these sarees can be plain or embroidered.
3. Pochampally sarees
Made in Bhoodan Pochampally, Nalgonda district of Telangana, these unique sarees are very popular for their geometric designs that are dyed in Ikat style. The patterns and designs are centuries old, and today there are very few artisans who make Pochampally sarees. However, that hasn’t hit the popularity these sarees enjoy. Even our Air India hostesses flaunt bright and beautiful Pochampally sarees as their uniform!
4. Gadwal sarees
Wedged between the river Tungabhadra and Kaveri, the town of Gadwal has taken the best of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to create exclusive Gadwal sarees. Be it Gadwal silks, Gadwal cotton or Gadwal silk cotton sarees — these sarees stand out for their exquisite zari work. And why not? After all, it’s all done by hand. Gadwal sarees are unique in their own right as the procedure has not yet been mechanised and you would still find entire families working together to create a piece worthy of global admiration. The rich border of the saree is made in pure mulberry silk with the help of an interlocked weft technique. It is believed that the artisans who make these sarees are the descendants of Jiveshwar Maharaj, the first weaver of Hindu gods and goddesses. No wonder, these handcrafted marvels look absolutely divine!
5. Chettinad sarees
From lip-smacking cuisine to gorgeous temple architecture, the Chettinad district of Tamil Nadu has a bunch of things to be famous for. But the Chettinad cotton saree is arguably the most popular of all those. Born of a handloom industry that’s a canvas to showcase the rich traditions of the region, the Chettinad cotton or kandaangi distinguishes itself with its spontaneous burst of colour, bold checks, stripes and contrasting hues. These sarees have been adorning women way before the invention of the blouse and the underskirt, and are still a rage with Indian women. Well, they do say “Old is gold”.
6. Konrad sarees
Born in Tamil Nadu, Konrad sarees are also known as temple sarees as they were originally woven for temple deities. These sarees are distinguished by their wide borders that are exclusively filled with designs or motifs of natural elements. Some of the most popular motifs include: flowers, vines, creepers, besides animals and birds such as peacocks, elephants, parrots, double headed eagles, etc. The body of the saree is woven in checks or stripes. Another distinguishing feature that makes these popular with women today is that the Konrad silks are not as heavy as other silks, though it is very much a silk saree.
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