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The Origin of Indian Saree

Updated on March 7, 2013


Saree is an unstitched apparel that is one of the world’s oldest garment existing today.

Today it is considered one of the sensual wear for women.

It is glamorous and portrays the enticing appeal of a woman.


Saree goes back into the era of Indus Valley civilization where it was described as loincloth and draped around the waist then one end of the cloth was passed between the legs and tucked in the posterior. This allowed them to free their legs and give them better movement.

This clothing was also seen in various other cultures of Egypt, and Sumer. Women wore this unstitched garment leaving their upper part of the body bare except in winters where they would drape an animal skin over them for protection from cold.

Draping of Saree in India

In India, women wore this garment with a small piece of cloth worn across the breasts. It was called Choli. The upper class in India wore this garment made of silk and dyed this fabric with vegetable dyes to make it colorful and pretty. The unstitched cloth, Saree also got embroidered and became a fancy wear. Women wore jewellery along with this outfit and looked sensuous.

Gradually, this loincloth that started off, as one piece, and turned into a two piece with choli. Now, became a three piece outfit. Choli (kanchuki), Saree, Long cloth draped around the waist with minimum stitching (peevi) were the three pieces that consisted of this outfit. The Saree was no longer tucked in from the posterior and was draped around the waist with pleats of this garment hanging in front by bringing it across the shoulder or touching their ankles via the shoulder in a graceful fall.

How did Greece and Persia influence the Indian Saree?

Saree took another change with the influence of the Greeks and the Persians. Greeks introduced wearing belts around the waist which helped to hold on their long flowing cloth. Indian women of upper class adapted that look on their attire while adorning themselves with jewelry.

The kanchuki (choli) that women used to drape around their upper part started to get stitched when Persians introduced the art of stitching. Women of india started to wear stitched short jackets to cover their upper bodies. This jacket was compact and used to fit snugly around the bosom of the woman. Persians also introduced adorning the fabric with pearls and precious stones. The peevi was also properly stitched and got its name as a petticoat (long skirt)

Evolution of Saree

Gradually the Saree and choli evolved through many years. Man’s attire changed from a dhoti to trousers and blazer, but a woman’s Saree stayed along. However, the art of decorating the long unstitched cloth (Saree) and the blouse went through a lot of transformation with embroidery and jewels.

Indian Bride in a Bridal Saree
Indian Bride in a Bridal Saree | Source
Indian Designer Saree
Indian Designer Saree | Source

Indian Sarees

Saree, a garment most wearable in India is a combination from various cultures such as Greece, and Persia.

This five and half metres in length and one-eighth metre in width long unstitched cloth went through a lot of transformation in its fabric. Several names were given to this fabric depending on their origin.

Example: Kausheya Silk, Brocade, Tassar Silk, Finest of Cotton.

This helped in originating textiles, in India. Creativity was high amongst the artisans in India where different fabrics were made with an artistic edge that attained popularity worldwide.

Saree is an ethnic wear of Indian women, and even with decades of progress in all arenas, this dress still remains the traditional dress of Indian women in today’s modern society. Infact, this cloth is adorned by many women of different cultures across the globe.

This Saree ranges from a three digit to a six figure amount depending on the fabric used and the amount of work done on this cloth.

Indian Bridal Saree

Some Sarees are even woven with metal gold thus, increasing the price to a six figure. Till today, this attire is adorned my many, during festivals and weddings.

An Indian bride wears a dark color saree with lots of work on it.

Indian Designer Sarees

Since this cloth is draped by many. Sarees are now designed exclusively by designers, making it "THE" special saree. Cost is high, but many women are ready to pay the price to look exclusive in that wear.

One of the notable saree designer is: Manish Malhotra

Be your own Designer for your Saree

Designer sarees cost a fortune. Be creative and design your own saree.

Video attached with instructions.

Looking to rent this apparel?

Peep into Golden Weaves. They have an extensive array of Sarees made of different fabrics, which makes it a pleasure for any occasion.



This five and half metre cloth is draped in different ways across the globe. Idea is to cover your essential parts, thus innovation was the key behind wearing this attire.


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      Very beautiful garment and a very educational article. How does a woman wrap herself up in one of these without a helper? I like that one can dress up very quickly for an elegant evening, but I think it would be inconvenient for shopping, managing young children while in public places, and even while driving a car. How on earth would a person use the bathroom without getting entirely undressed?

      This is truly a beautiful garment and I enjoyed learning its history and how it works. I had no idea before that it was just one piece. A very informative article.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      6 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Nice topic with good photos. Your illustration is fine. Saree is a wonderful dress and a symbol of our Indians' rich tradition. I too had done a hub on sarees a few months back titled "The Dress Code of Malayalees". Your presentation and photos are superb. Thank you for sharing.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      A great hub on the history of the Indian Saree... the colours and the styles are so many and so beautiful... I have a soft spot for the saree, I do!

    • srsddn profile image


      6 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Thanks for sharing the historical perspective of Saree. No doubt, it is an elegant dress for women in India, I have heard all praises for Saree from women in the UK and the USA as well. I liked the description and photographs. Thumbed up and shared.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Sarees are so beautiful and elegant with so many designs to choose from, however I was surprised about Greeks wearing this outfit.

    • Anil and Honey profile image


      6 years ago from Kerala

      yes, saree is a grate and beautiful dress for woman.It is an Indian style. I love it, It is more comfortable and more easy for use. But cost is a problem.Thank you for sharing I can collect more rich knowledge about saree from your hub thanks again.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      6 years ago from Chennai, India

      An informative & wonderfully written hub about the trademark dress of India. I learnt a lot from your engaging hub. I am fond of sarees and have good sarees. My mother have a great collection of gorgeous sarees. Once again, a knowledgeable hub! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      Saree is also unannounced official costume for Nepali women. Women,old and young, wear saree. I was aware saree dates back to Indus valley, but was wondering about the western influence. Thanks for sharing this well written article.

    • travmaj profile image


      6 years ago from australia

      What a very impressive hub - the saree is such a beautiful garment. I was fascinated reading the history behind it also. Thank you - voting up and beautiful.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      6 years ago from Taos, NM

      Ruchira: This is a wonderful and beautiful hub. I never knew how women got into and out of these sarees and now I know. The videos are wonderful. I love the fabrics, the cut work is stunning, and I think they make women look beautiful, sensuous, and mysterious. Thank you for and interesting, informative and beautiful hub. Voted up and shared!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Really beautiful! I love the saree--and have a couple of them that I sing in --

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      The saree is so beautiful. I had no idea there was so much history behind it. Great hub.

    • lex123 profile image


      6 years ago

      I never knew about the history of sari, a graceful garment for a woman.

      Thanks for enlightening us with this wonderful info.

    • Lady_E profile image


      6 years ago from London, UK

      Very interesting to read. They are so elegantly worn by Indian women. This hub also helped me know the correct spelling. I called it Sari.

      I also love the elegant wear that Indian men wear - with that head gear.

      I've been watching too many Bollywood movies. ;-)


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What a great piece on sensual clothing...I did not know there was a Greek influence...cheers and thanks

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Sharing again, Ruchira. The saree is a beautiful garment that really enhances a woman's beauty.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Ruchira a saree is very beautiful and elegant. It graces a woman's body and enhances her beauty. A great hub.

    • prasadjain profile image


      6 years ago from Tumkur

      A beautiful hub. Well planned one. I have published a hub on the same subject two years ago and t has drwn nearly 27,000 visitors so far. It supplements this hub.Please have a look into that-

    • Sujina profile image


      6 years ago

      Hm..Nice hub and nice videos!

    • pinto2011 profile image


      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice and culturally invoking hub!

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image


      6 years ago from Illinois

      Very interesting hub! I have always thought Sarees were beautiful. You did a great job with this one.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow... Thanks for an enlightening hub. I enjoyed reading about this interesting long cloth

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      6 years ago from Kansas City - United States

      These are elegant and beautiful. I had no idea there was such a long history or that there is no stitching involved.

    • viewfinders profile image


      6 years ago from India

      its a great informative hub and this is a cloth that new generation north Indian forgetting to wear.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I had to press all the buttons on this one. The Saree is beautiful. I can't imagine it being woven with gold. Thank's for sharing Ruchira...

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      A very informative hub on the history of saree, a dress I consider most elegant if worn properly.

      Voted up.

    • Angela Kane profile image

      Angela Kane 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I have always wondered where this dress style originated. I think this is one the most beautiful original clothing ever produced.

    • dragonflyfla profile image

      Joy Campbell 

      6 years ago from South Florida

      Back to the days of the Sumer! Very interesting. Thanks for the info.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      This is a beautiful garment. I never realized there is no stiching. The fabrics that are used for these are just gorgeous.

      Voted UP and sharing.

    • Ruchira profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks Bill, Michelle, Unknown spy and Eddy.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      Oh how beautiful I love the richnes of colours and the flowing materials.

      Here's to voting up,across and sharing.


    • unknown spy profile image

      Life Under Construction 

      6 years ago from Neverland

      Wow. thanks for this info.. I never knew about these things before.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      I have always love sarees because they make a lady more womanly. There is so much grace in the saree! Thanks for showcasing their beauty!! Sharing Ruchira!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      They really are beautiful gowns. I had no idea that they were un-stitched. Thank you for some information I did not know. Excellent information in this on, Ruchira.

      blessings to you my friend


    • Ruchira profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks Cyndi.

      Ahem...ahem I see someone out there is as creative as a designer and could do the above ;)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      Ruchira - this is a great hub! I didn't know that there was so much history behind the saree and now I know how to spell it, too. :) Hmm...designer sarees cost a fortune? Hmm...sounds like someone could make a lucrative living doing that. :)


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