Types of South Indian Sarees: Exploring the Rich Diversity

Types of South Indian Sarees: Exploring the Rich Diversity


South Indian sarees are not just garments, they are reflections of rich cultural heritage, craftsmanship, and timeless elegance. Saree, a quintessential garment in India, holds deep cultural significance in South India. It's not merely an outfit but a symbol of tradition, grace, and identity. South Indian women have adorned sarees for centuries, each region boasting its unique weaving techniques, motifs, and draping styles.

Sarees play a pivotal role in South Indian culture, worn with pride during festivals, weddings, and special occasions. They symbolise femininity, grace, and tradition, making them an integral part of a woman's wardrobe.

Silk Sarees of South India

Silk sarees from South India are renowned worldwide for their exquisite craftsmanship, luxurious feel, and intricate designs. Let's explore some of the most famous varieties:

Kanjivaram Sarees

Kanjivaram sarees, often called Kanchipuram sarees, originate from the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. They are known for their rich silk fabric, vibrant colours, and intricate zari work. Traditional motifs include temple borders, checks, and floral patterns, making Kanjivaram sarees a favourite among brides and for special occasions.

Mysore Silk Sarees

Mysore silk sarees hail from Karnataka and are characterised by their soft texture and minimalistic designs. They often feature gold zari borders and motifs inspired by nature, reflecting the artistic finesse of Mysore weavers.

Uppada Silk Sarees

Originating from Uppada in Andhra Pradesh, Uppada silk sarees are known for their lightweight silk and jamdani weaving technique. These sarees are adorned with intricate designs like peacocks, flowers, and geometric patterns, showcasing the craftsmanship of Uppada weavers.

Pochampally Silk Sarees

Pochampally silk sarees, also known as Ikkat sarees, come from Telangana and are famous for their unique tie and dye technique. They feature bold geometric patterns and vibrant colours, making them a favourite for both casual and festive wear.

Gadwal Silk Sarees

Gadwal sarees from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are known for their distinctive feature of silk body and cotton pallu, making them lightweight yet elegant. They often feature traditional motifs like peacocks and temples, woven with precision by Gadwal artisans.

Traditional South Indian Saree Styles

South Indian saree draping styles vary across states and occasions, each with its unique charm and significance:

Nivi Drape

The Nivi drape, originating from Andhra Pradesh, is one of the most common styles where the saree is elegantly pleated and draped over the shoulder, allowing for freedom of movement. It's versatile and suitable for both formal and casual settings.

Madisar Drape

Madisar is the traditional drape worn by Tamil Brahmin women. It involves a unique pleating style and is draped in a way that signifies marital status and cultural identity. Madisar sarees are worn during religious ceremonies and festivals.

Kodagu Style

Kodagu style saree draping is specific to the Kodagu region of Karnataka, where the saree is draped with a distinctive pleat and tucked at the back. It reflects the cultural heritage of Kodagu and is worn during weddings and cultural events.

How to Wear South Indian Sarees

Draping a South Indian saree is an art in itself, requiring skill and practice. Here's a step by step guide to help you perfect the drape:

  1. Prepare the saree: Ensure the saree is neatly pressed and the blouse is ready.
  2. Start with the pleats: Make neat pleats with the saree fabric and tuck them into the petticoat.
  3. Drape the pallu: Bring the remaining fabric over the left shoulder and adjust the length according to preference.
  4. Secure with pins: Use pins to secure the pleats and pallu in place.
  5. Accessorise: Complete your look with traditional jewellery like earrings, bangles, and a bindi.

Tips for Selecting the Right Saree for Different Occasions

Festivals: Opt for bright colours and rich fabrics like Kanjivaram or Pochampally sarees.

Weddings: Choose elaborate designs and heavy silk sarees like Kanjivaram or Mysore silk.

Casual Wear: Lighter fabrics and simpler designs are ideal for everyday wear.

Accessorising South Indian Sarees for an Elegant Look


Jewellery: Gold jewellery complements South Indian sarees beautifully. Choose traditional designs like temple jewellery or antique pieces.

Footwear: Match the saree with traditional footwear like sandals or heels in coordinating colours.

Hair and Makeup: Opt for traditional hairstyles like braids or buns adorned with flowers, and complement with subtle makeup that enhances your natural features.

South Indian sarees encompass a vast spectrum of styles, each weaving together tradition, craftsmanship, and cultural heritage. Whether it's the opulence of Kanjivaram or the artistic finesse of Uppada, these sarees are more than just attire—they are a celebration of India's diversity and beauty.

Singhania’s embracing South Indian sarees, we celebrate not only their aesthetic appeal but also the enduring legacy of craftsmanship passed down through generations. Let us continue to cherish and adorn these exquisite garments, keeping South Indian textile traditions alive for years to come.