The Exquisite History Of The Sari In India

The sari, also known as the saree, is one of the most popular styles of clothing in India, among other countries, including: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

It’s a long piece of unstitched cloth, often wrapping around the waist and draped over one shoulder. The garment has cultural and historical significance, so let’s break down the history of the beautiful staple item in Indian fashion.

Photo by Srinivas JD on Unsplash

Though it is one of the most fashion-forward and popular styles of clothing in India, sari initially had humble beginnings. Records show its origin with the Indus Valley Civilization (2800-1800 B.C.E). The word sari, or saree, originates from the term “sattika,” earliest found in Jain or Buddhist texts. It’s commonly believed that the sari started as a three-piece set. Other Indian garments, lehengas for example, are often believed to have the same beginnings.

After the British entered India and the Victorian ideals of fashion spread, many saris were worn with blouses and petticoats to make the garment more modest. But traditionally, saris often expose more of the body and leave the midriff open. Eventually, chemical dyeing and other methods became more common as well, leading to new colors, prints, and textiles.

Photo by Jessica Cao on Unsplash

The sari also transcends economic boundaries. People in rural and urban areas alike wear saris – people from every class and vastly different walks of life. It’s also sported year-long, despite the season since they are functional for numerous occasions in addition to being beautiful and vibrant textiles.

Saris have been made from silk or cotton, embroidered and dyed. Hand-woven saris are still worn for larger events, even though they are more expensive and less common nowadays. Today’s saris often incorporate stones or gems, too. They are often passed down from one generation to the next, connecting family members. There are also over a hundred ways to drape and wear saris, making it a versatile and evolving trend. The style depends on where you look, as it varies by country or state.

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

The sari started as one of India’s first popular pieces of clothing and remains a widespread as well as an integral part of Indian fashion today. Here are some places you can find saris in India:

Kala Niketan

Photo by @kalaniketanonline on Instagram

This stylish shop located in New Marine Lines in Mumbai is one of the most popular and consistently delivers high quality, unique pieces.


Photo by @nallisilksarees on Instagram

Nalli is another well-known place to buy saris. You can check out Nalli in Chennai and its other locations in New Delhi and Mumbai. It’s a favorite for South Indian saris and has a great variety to choose from.

Vineet Sarees

Photo by @vineet_sarees on Instagram

In New Delhi, you can find Vineet Sarees in Karol Bagh Market. It has a large range of traditional saris and promises satisfaction.

Sudhir Bhai Saree Wala

Photo by @sudhirbhaisareewala on Instagram

There are many sari shops in Chandni Chowk in Delhi! One of the biggest is Sudhir Bhai Saree Wala. Many people go there to shop for bridal saris, since they’re known for premium quality.

Avani Goswami

Social Media Associate

Avani is an avid reader and a lover of learning. She enjoys writing and seeks out new adventures everyday. Her passion is representation and equality for people all over the globe.

Jetset Times in your inbox

Sign-up for our newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy and European users agree to the data transfer policy.