India’s Iconic Drapes: The 7 Most Popular Varieties of Sarees Decoded


A saree is the most simple garment one can have. It’s just a six-yard stretch of woven cloth. However, the simplicity stops right there! Since time immemorial, the saree has been woven with the purest of natural materials and best of artistic skills. Almost every region in our country can boast of their own weaving and stylistic traditions of a saree showcasing the creative imagination and skills of their local craftsmen.


Let us take a quick look through some of the Iconic variations of the saree in its weaving, it’s patterns and the stories it tells with these different types of silk sarees in India. For every saree lover these sarees are a must have for their collection.


1.Kanchipuram Sarees


Traditional Kanchipuram silk sarees


Originating from the Kanchipuram area of Tamil Nadu, since ancient times, these sarees are made with pure mulberry silk, and real gold and silver zari. Since the pallu is woven separately and then attached to the body of the saree, the key element of the Kanchipuram saree lies in the contrasting pallu colour with the body and border of the saree. Motifs range from checks, stripes, temple figures, buttas, flora and fauna. Due to the high quality of material and superior workmanship, these sarees are flaunted on all special occasions like weddings and anniversaries.


2.Banarsi Sarees


Banarsi silk saree


Made in the holy city of Varanasi since the 19th century, these are one of the most gorgeous sarees ever. They may be woven on a silk base, organza base, shattir and georgette base. With gold or silver zari, the whole saree border, pallu and scattered motifs on the body are woven as brocade. Designs may be all over (Jangla), Tanchoi, cutwork, tissue, butis and Vaskat. Most of the designs are borrowed from Mughal artistic influences on flora and fauna. The key to a Banarsi saree is the flattened gold and silver zari thread which is beaten thin and woven with the silk threads.


 3.Paithani Saree


Paithani silk saree


Since 200 BC, these sarees have evolved into all silk sarees from the town of Paithan in Maharashtra. The signature look of paithani saree is the pallu, woven with some key motifs, which have been borrowed from Buddhist paintings, like on the nearby Ajanta –Ellora caves. Among them are the famous Tota-Maina, green parrot motif, lotus motif, swan motif and more. Woven in the tapestry technique, they can have many colours or can have shot threads through the body of the saree, giving an iridescent look.


4. Patola Saree


Patola saree


This saree comes from the Patan region in Gujarat, mainly woven in the typical Ikkat style. The trick to the look of the saree is to tie the threads of the warp and weft strategically before dyeing each colour, to be then woven in specific patterns. This is a very laboriously made saree, and therefore, is nothing less than a work of art which could be afforded only by upper class women since the 12th century. The commonly used motifs are of flora and fauna, geometric shapes and dancing figures.


 5.Kalamkaari Saree


kalamkari silk sarees


These are hand painted sarees drawn by tamarind wood “kalam” or pen in freehand with vegetable and mineral dyes on mulberry “tussar” sarees. Traditionally, they were drawn on any cloth to tell full stories, but under the patronage of the Persians, and later under the British, evolved onto textiles like sarees. Practised by the skilled families of Andhra Pradesh, they were painted on all kinds of fabrics with full mythological stories and scenes depicted on them.


6.Mysore Sarees  


Mysore silk sarees


Mysore, since ancient times, produces one of the best qualities of silk in the country. Hence, since the time of Tipu Sultan, who arranged the first silk cocoons from China, these richly coloured vibrant silk sarees are being worn by the women of India. Usually woven with zari borders and a rich motif pallu, they are a wearers delight.


7. Kota Silk Saree


Kota silk saree


Woven in Kota, Rajasthan, these silk sarees are light as air and semi-transparent due to the delicate check weave of cotton and silk yarns in combination, or “khats”.   They are being woven since the 17th century in pit looms with amazingly strengthened yarns with the application of vegetable juices. The silk here provides the shine and the cotton yarn the strength. These sarees are ideal for the hot weather of the subcontinent.


Log in to complete your personal saree collection at if any of these key sarees are missing in your wardrobe. You’ll be proud to own a piece of history from our vast saree making traditions.  

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