For many people living in the north of India south India used to be and in some cases continues to remain a generic term for anything beyond the Vindhyas. The fact of the matter is that south India is a large part of the peninsular part of the country that comprises of large number of states of which what could starkly be called south Indian are-Kerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. If one were to understand the diversity of the land and its people, one will be able to appreciate better the saree in its many forms, be it the very tradition of weaving and the community of craftsmen who continue to thrive in this part of the country or the very fact that south India has one of the most traditional approaches, even in today’s times, towards wearing of sarees. In fact from the time a girl attains puberty she is introduced to wearing the half saree and after her marriage that converts to a full length drape.
Here are some typical sarees from these four south Indian states.
Karnataka , particularly Bangalore and Mysore have large numbers of sericulture centers spread around and thus are major suppliers of silks yarn to several north Indian states as well and the sarees that emerge as the most famous are-the Mysore crepe, the chinon, chiffons, Mysore silks and Bangalore silks.
Kerala of course has the famed settu saree that is the off white elegance adorned by a gold zari border.
Tamilnadu has a huge number of weaving centers that have gained huge acclaim for their undisputed superiority over many-the most famous being the Kanjeevaram, the Kumbkonam silk saree and the Coimbatore silks saree. Andhra Pradesh specializes not just in Ikats which they call Pochampally, they also have the famous Dharamavarams as well.
Apart from the rich variety of weaves, each state has special look that it creates with its draping style-some more intricate than the other, but most of them making a definitive difference in the look of the wearer.
Here are two styles from two states of the south–each varied and very eclectic in its own way a style worth trying if one follows the easy to understand steps with the graphics.
Well, a state that large, with hills and coastline, plateau and plains, of course has varied styles of wearing the saree including the Gobbe saree style that is worn by the women from the Valnad Sahyadri region of central Karnataka, while those from the Brahmin community wear the Madisara which also gets an echo in Tamilnadu Brahmin community as well, and the Iyengari saree, the Mysore shalli style and the Olakachhe worn by the Samartha Brahmins of Karnataka.
There being so many varieties depending on which part of Karnataka and what caste one belongs to-so here is a style that is truly distinct and easy to drape, worn by the Kodavu community of Coorg, the hill terrain known for its rich coffee plantations.
Often called as the Coorgi style of wearing the saree or the Kodava Saree Style it involves some basic steps-the choice of saree-a silk with a thin border would look best.
Begin draping the saree from the back-first tuck has to be on the right side at the back and then you wind the saree around once tucking as you go along.
You would at the end of winding the saree once reach the back again and here you should make 6 to 7 pleats and tuck it at the centre of the back–at the waist of the petticoat.
Simply take the saree around and bring it to the front and this time make it come softly higher over the front covering the front of the blouse and going to the back again.
The pallu will now emerge from the back of the right shoulder and there one has to pin it up.
Often referred to as the flower seller drape-this is one of the most common forms of saree draping seen in the Tamil heartland of Madurai apart from the famous Pinkosu and the Madisara drape of the Iyers.
Here is a step by step guide to try out this fascinatingly simple drape that has a touch of class along with wear ability and practicality.
Since this is a dhoti style of saree draping, there is no need to wear a petticoat.
Dress in a pair of leggings that reach your knees and a blouse that coordinates with the saree. The saree of course should be one that has a lovely thin border. Can be as pretty with cottons as with silks that have a thin zari border. This is also close to the Saurashtrian drape.
Take an ordinary 6 yard length saree and take on one side about I meter of the length and on the other side the rest of the saree and now tie a knot at the centre at your waist.
Now hold the shorter length of the saree and make broad pleats with it but breadth wise. Then carry the pleats to the back by going between the legs. Tuck only one edge of the pleats at the back and bring the rest of the width along the side of the waist on the left side, finally tucking in the last pleat somewhere at the centre in front where you had made the knot. Make sure the width of the saree gracefully forms a drape along the side of the hip.
Now come back to the front and pick up the rest of the long length of the saree and again bunch it up width wise and yet gain carry the saree between the legs to the back. Here you have to tuck in just the border edge at the back and carry the rest of the saree to the front by getting it like a pallu along the right side of the body, draping it as you go along.
You will now form a pallu and drape it over the left shoulder and then bring it back and again wind it back to the front of the body from the right and tuck in at the waist.
Note that the border on the left side and the border on the right are supposed to loop at the same length and look really very pretty.