We may have heard it a number of times-the pallu is the soul of the saree that tells a certain story. What about the border of the saree? The border defines the entire length of the saree, giving it a look of distinction, making the saree’s color more attractive, the print more cohesive-in fact the saree border is the one factor that makes the drape acquire a certain amount of homogeneity. Borders thus have always been one of the most important factors that a saree is chosen for.
Here is what traditionally is looked for in saree borders:
It isn’t uncommon for women to like or choose a saree solely on the basis of the border, the handwork done on it or the structure that it lends to the saree. One would commonly see purchasers holding the saree border over the shoulder and seeing how well it compliments the wearer. And the fact of the matter is that more premium the work on the saree, more the value. Hand embroidered and worked on borders thus get maximum attention as they lend sarees not just a heavier price tag but are coveted as heirloom pieces.
Here are some hand worked border styles that every woman ought to own.
The very nature of the intricate embroidery from the valley of Kashmir, where master craftsmen work on pattern and designs, makes this one of the most coveted of styles for borders. In the first example one can see the Gul Bahara design that has motifs denoting aspects of nature consisting of birds and flowers and the happy confluence of the most colorful blending in with such grace. In this example the gorgeous work has been done on a pashmina wool fabric and the border can now be placed on any heavy silk.
Here is another kashidakari saree that has the flower designs worked on the saree directly and that makes it a unique piece. The border thus blends in more cohesively. Most suited to take the heavy weight of satin silk embroidery thread, are heavy crepes.
Surely one of the most delicate of all sarees worn in northern India during summers, the Chikankari work borders enhance the lighter sarees revealing more their absolute lightness and in this case defining the whiteness of the saree. Usually worked on to create shadow work, these borders are a great enhancer of look for any saree. This style of border comes from the land of the Nawabs- Lucknow!
Another hand embroidery tradition that comes from the valley of Kashmir, tilla work is a fine embroidery that is done with silver and gold thread or zari. Here one can see the silver tilla work border alongside the main sozni embroidery that makes up the larger border. How fascinating is this heavy blending in.
Worked on with needle and sequins, the famed marodi work has existed simultaneously in different states of India , its exponents having traveled the land and carrying with them their wares, some of the finest however are found in Gujarat and of course Kashmir . The work is achieved with the help of an awl shaped tool and of course plenty of zari, sequins and patient work. The stitch used is the cobbler stitch with zari and is worked mainly on heavier silks like satin or heavy satiny crepes and even gajji silk.
This is one for those who do not like very heavy embellishment, the kasuti work with its geometric design will intensify your love for the saree because of its emphasis on maintaining a simple line of design. Kasuti is a word that is considered a derivative of kashida which is a Perian word for embroidery and thus this embroidery style known to belong to the times of the Chalukyas who ruled over Karnataka patronized its growth. Today most of the kasuti work is done on ilkal sarees and its specialist are centered in Dharwad.
This is generic word for the kind of embroidery done by the women of Punjab, while within Phulkari there are many aviaries of styles but the one that is most famed is the bagh style that uses threads in multiple colors filling the border with so much work that the base of the fabric is completely hidden. In both the examples you can see the fabulous use of thread work the glow of satin thread adding so much to the plain saree and its gorgeous color combination that is bold and striking.
It finds mention n the Rig veda, this metallic embellishment is one of the finest specimen of hand embroidery that has existed in India enriching the look of our fabrics and attires. During the times of the Persian rulers and subsequently the Muhghal , real gold wires were beaten into thin wires that would be used for embroidery. Agra, Jaipur, Delhi, Lucknow, benaras, and Delhi are the centers where this art is thriving and helping create some of the finest in sarees including exclusive saree borders.
The Parsi Gara’s revival is a story of love for our traditional crafts as this is one of the finest that this country has seen in terms of finesse of work. Brought to India by the Iranian traders who first set foot in Gujarat, the Parsi women continued to wear them on their sarees and today the Gara embroidery is a matter of heirloom status.
The celebration of colors in the true sense of the word; this embroidery style makes the ordinary saree come alive with the beauty of its rustically derived design that is one of the best in old crafts of India.
Perhaps one of the most desired of all saree borders that has called new heights of popularity because of their colorful patterns, the glitter to add to the plainest of sarees and the fact that they can blend in with the look of all occasions. This is another hand worked border that fills us with wonder about the craftsmanship in our country.
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