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Gharchola And Panetar

From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, one can see the diversity of India, from its culture, language to even the clothing style. Due to this richness in diversity, any single attire cannot be specifically called as a national dress of India. Saris are liked by women all over India; in fact it is liked by people around the world. This attire makes women look beautiful and elegant. Depending on the region, culture and religion the length of the sari can vary from six yards to nine yards. This six yard long unstitched fabric is considered to be pure and auspicious where there is no restriction with the size and shape of the person wearing them. This attire grabs a special importance in most of the wedding ceremony. Draped in silk sarees, Indian bride undoubtedly looks stunning. It can be worn in different styles depending upon the religion, region and the occasion. Saris form an inevitable part in Gujarati weddings as well, here the sari is worn in a different style. Most commonly used type of saris is Gharchola and Panetar.

Elegance Redefined

Traditionally a Gujarati bride wears Panetar sari at the beginning of the wedding ceremony and then Gharchola sari at the end of the ceremonies. The Panetar is the traditional sari that is worn by the bride on the day of her wedding. This sari is simple yet elegant, with its plain white body which is woven in Gajji silk with stripes or check pattern in golden zari and bandhini patterns in yellow/gold or green. The Pallu and border of this sari have rich red patterns.

Gharchola saris are woven in silk and zari and then decorated in bandhini patterns. Various themes like floral themes, animal themes or religious themes are described in the golden grid pattern of a Gharchola sari which is dyed in rich red and white dots. The grid patterns that appear on the Gharchola sari have a count and appear in the count of 9, 12 or 52. If more colours are used then the design is known as ‘phulwari’ and if animal designs are used then it is known as ‘shikari’. Mostly the Gharchola saris have traditional garden pattern known as the ‘baavan bhag’ which will have 52 squares or if it has only 12 squares it is known as the ‘bar bhag’. However, today many women prefer to have patterns of peacock, lotus and other patterns like ‘ra's Leela’, the depiction of Lord Krishna with his Gopis. The main colours used in Gharchola saris are red, white, yellow and green.

History of Gharchola and Panetar

Gharchola and Panetar saris are the traditional wedding attire of any Hindu or Jain bride. The panetar sari is gifted by the maternal uncle of the bride and is considered to be the last gift from her parents. Hence, this sari is worn at the beginning of the wedding ceremonies. The Gharchola sari is given to the bride by her in laws, signifying that they are taking the responsibility of the bride from that day. Traditionally, the bride was expected to change from panetar sari to Gharchola sari, but today, the sari is put on as odinis draping bride’s head and shoulder.

As per the history the technique of dyeing of these saris was brought from Sindh to Kutch by Muslim Khatris and adapted by the locals. The weaving and tying processes are done in Khambhat and the dyeing and block printing works are done in Jamnagar. As per the old belief, the water quality of Jamnagar is auspicious and hence used for dyeing bridal saris. Today, these saris are also made in Joravarnagar and Kataria under Surendernagar district. The making of Gharchola sari is a complex and tedious process which can take more than 15 days to complete the whole procedure.

Tradition And Simplicity

The Panetar saris can be simple with a beautiful embroidery work and also can be made grand and gorgeous with gemstones and with heavy decorative works. There are specific styles in designs and embroidery work which are known as the specialties of each region in Gujarat. Gharchola and Panetar saris are widely used in Hindu and Jain weddings in Gujarat. Beautiful and variety of designs and patterns are now being introduced to suit today’s contemporary market demands.

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