Nauvari Sarees of Maharashtra – The 9 Yard Paithani Sarees

by Shatika, August 11, 2017

A long versatile traditional drape from Maharastra, Nauwarisaree is known for its unique pant style draping. Nau meaning 9 and var meaning yards, it literally translates to nine yards making it different from the regular sixyard saree in length. Also known as Kaashtha, Sakachcha and Lugada, this gracefully traditional yet timelessly sexy style of drape has survived generations and continues to rule the traditional fashion scenario.

History of Nauvari Sarees:

The Nauwari Sarees have a historic background. During the Maratha rule, women were equipped to fight wars alongside their counterparts. Nauvari saree was introduced by the Peshwa women during this period to facilitate easy movement. The Nauvari sarees were nothing but the traditional peshwai paithani sarees but in 9 yards instead of traditional 6 yards. Thus the costume became a symbol of strength and capability reminding of the caliber of women to equal men even in difficult art of warfare. It is thus obvious that the brave air, associated with Maharashtrian women, found its epitome in the outstandingly courageous, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi who fought against the British for her motherland, during the Revolt of 1857. Thus, the Nauvari sari, drives home the essential truth, that woman is not just a nurturer but also the protector of good when it comes to it.

Such is the vibes of this unique drape that the renowned painter of the 19th century, Raja Ravi Varma, chose this form of drape to represent goddesses in his paintings as according to him, the nine yard saree not just drapes the body beautifully exhibiting contours of female anatomy but also brings out the vigor and valor of womanhood.

Community and Culture:

A symbol of Maharashtrian culture, Nauvari sarees are worn by all classes of women in Maharashtra. On one hand, it is a traditional attire worn by upper caste Bhraminwomen to perform religious rituals and on the other, it is worn by so called low caste lavani dancers for entertainment and also by fisherwomen of Kolhi community as a work garment.

Popularized by Bollywood bigwigs like Madhuri Dixit and Vidya Balan, today Nauvari saree is considered a glamorous outfit and it is increasingly worn by Maharashtrian brides to their wedding ceremonies. As it makes a comeback, the nauvari saree is a powerful reminder of society’s treatment of women and how this perspective has evolved into the modern day appreciation of the garment.

Fabric and Designs in Nauvari:

Like any traditional saree, the nauvari saree can be made of different materials and patterned with various designs. Cotton nauvari sarees are popular as they are easy to wash and wear and are breathable. Formal nauvari sarees are made of silk. Paithani silk sarees from the Paithan region of Maharashtra is often used for wedding ceremonies. Brightly colored and embellished in real zari, Paithani silk sarees are known for their thick, patterned borders. The rest of the saree is simply patterned, with nothing too elaborate to distract from the heavy borders and shimmery appearance. They make a perfect wear during traditional Maharashtrian ceremonies.

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