At more than 5,000 years of existence, the Indian saree is considered to be among the oldest form of garment in the world still in existence. The Vedas – among the oldest literature composed by mankind – mentions it, and records from the Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1300 B.C.E.) also indicate its usage at the time. Yet it being ancient has in no way impacted its popularity. Still ubiquitous – on ramps at leading fashion shows, in bollywood, on streets of rural and urban India, on hip college students and their conservative grandmothers – the saree is as entrenched in our culture as it ever was.
The unstitched single piece of cloth evolved due to ancient Hindu belief that stitching cloth made it impure. And so the four-and-a-half to eight meters of cloth – draped around the lower body and then with a tactful pleating process folded across the upper body – came to be appropriate attire. The saree is considered to have been evolved from a three-piece-attire consisting of unstitched stretches of cloth draped as a lower garment, a chest band and a piece worn over ones shoulder or head. This predecessor of the saree is mentioned in ancient Sanksrit literature dating to the 6th century B.C.E. Even lehengas, ghagras and cholis are considered to have their roots in this attire.
With its ability to be warming in winter, and cooling in summer, its professional and aesthetically stylish appearance yet its utility (for example, it can be folded and tucked to be shorter), the saree developed to be the most suitable attire for South Asian women. This is precisely the reason it is donned by politicians and farm-workers alike.
While there exists a professional or classical style of draping a saree, there are more than 80 variations of it across the subcontinent. There’s the pleatless Bengali and Odia styles, the Kodagu style saree which is a back to front version of the classic style, the two-piece Malayali version, and so on. Variations also exist depending on the kind of fabric, as well as on methods of weaving that have been used. Hence there are the tie-dye Bandhani sarees, Chanderi cotton sarees and the numerous silk saree varieties including the Kanchipuram, Banarasi and Mysore sarees.
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.