Sarees, along with many other traditional Indian garments, have gone international. They are loved the world over for their graceful drape and elegant designs. The increasing popularity of this outfit has also increased the interest in various regional variations, like the Punjabi saree. Every region has certain unique attractions in terms of fabric, designs and patterns and the same goes for Punjab too. The joyful exuberance and rich cultural history associated with this state is reflected in the clothes and fashions as well. In fact Punjabi sarees are uniquely beautiful and versatile at the same time, available in a wide range of colors, fabrics and patterns to suit the tastes of different women.
What really sets a Punjabi sari apart is the bright use of color, nature inspired motifs, heavy pallus and elaborate designs. Just like Punjabi suits, sarees from this region are majorly influenced by the many different cultures and communities. One can see ancient Hindu techniques and textiles as well as artistic Mughal influences. These factors lend a distinctive vibrancy to these garments, which is why they are popular not just in their region of origin but across the country. Moreover the Punjabi saree and suits have both been frequently seen in Bollywood movies, which have further helped to create a demand for them.
Vibrant, multi-hued color schemes really suit the Punjabi saree style and this is why one can find a lot of bright shades like red, blue, yellow, green, purple, pink and orange in these types of sarees. Moreover, they sometimes have a contrasting hue on the pallu to create a dramatic, eye-catching effect.
In terms of designs and embroideries, a Punjabi style saree can display work borrowed from a lot of neighboring states, including zari work, Resham work, patch border work, mirror work and so on. There are some distinctive, authentic Punjabi techniques as well, passed down over many generations by skilled artisans. One of the most beloved would be Phulkari. Literally meaning ‘flower work’, it refers to unique floral motifs, as well as the unique style of weaving these designs into beautiful fabrics. Phulkari work can be seen on most Punjabi outfits and sarees are no exception. These can be simple and subtle or exquisitely intricate, depending on the amount of detailing and the methods of production. The most attractive would be the hand-woven sarees crafted by skilled workers; these frequently display the most artistic designs and patterns.
Another commonly found Punjabi saree style is the Bagh print saree. Bagh is actually a type of block printing introduced by the Mughals that is now widely worn across north India and Pakistan. This method of hand-printing beautiful, nature-inspired motifs onto soft, gauzy fabrics creates very distinctive ethnic saris, perfect for smart office or daily wear.
Punjabi sarees were traditionally made of ‘khaddar’, a type of khadi fabric commonly woven in this region. However nowadays fabrics like crepe, net, tissue and chiffon have become widely popular. Pure cotton and pure silk are also very commonly used to create soft and attractive Punjabi sarees.
Wearing the Look with Punjabi Style Saree
While this outfit follows the essential saree structure of a long piece of fabric, a blouse and a petticoat, there are some differences in terms of how to wear Punjabi style saree. One distinct draping style involves getting the pallu from the back and draping it over the other shoulder as well, imitating the salwar kameez dupatta draping style. This style is very structured and feminine at the same time, particularly suited for formal occasions and colder weather when more protection from the elements is required.
On the other hand, if you’re wondering how to wear Punjabi style saree with a heavy pallu, the free-flowing over the shoulder style might be best, as it will display the pallu fully. Another option is to pin it up at the shoulder in neat pleats and let the pallu loose at the back. The latter will work best with stiff silk or khaddar fabrics while the former style is more suited for softer materials like net or georgette.
A Punjabi saree will look the best with Punjabi accessories like churis and jhumkis. The former are distinctive red bangles, traditionally worn by brides, though nowadays they are worn by young girls as well. Jhumkis are large, round, dangling earrings which tend to be quite heavy. Different styles and colors can be picked, according to the saree. For instance, with a beads work saree a polka earring and necklace set can be worn, while with a zari work saree gold earrings would be best. Alternatively, one can go for simple pearl and/or silver jewelry to off-set the heavy, colorful pallu of the Punjabi sari.