The irresistible allure of a Paithani

The irresistible allure of a Paithani


The irresistible allure of a Paithani

There is something exceptional about Madhuri Dixit when she is dressed typically like a Maharashtrian woman. Her shimmery silk sari in bold hues of pink or green, draped in a style typical to the Maharashtrian ladies and teamed with the tantalising Kolhapuri nath (nose pin) and necklace, always presents a distinctive image of her. And thereafter, all her latkas- jhatkas on the Marathi tunes add vibrancy to the overall look. Well, it is difficult to copy Dixit’s style and allure, but every woman worth her sari definitely yearns to get that one exotic Maharashtrian Paithani in her wardrobe.

There is always a good reason to get the nine yards of Kasta also known as Nauvari and Paithani. The name ‘Nauvari’ originated from the sari’s length of nine yards. The style of drape for Nauvari has evolved drastically from the traditional style to the modern-age cult, and is draped in such a way that it gives a trouser-dress like appearance, while the sari is tucked at the back. Nauvari usually comes in cotton and is worn without a petticot, majorly by the Maharashtrian Brahmin women community.

“Zari pitambar and Pait­­­­­­­­­­­­­­h-­ani are the most popular Maharashtrian saris avai­­l­­­­a­ble in various patterns and designs like peacocks, geometric patterns, mud pots, huts etc, mo­stly in fabrics like silk and cotton,” says Srijata Bhatnagar, co-founder, Ethnic Shack, a brand for handcrafted accessories and ethnic apparels.

According to her the best way to identify an original piece is through the zari work.
“Maharashtrian saris will always have very heavy zari work on their pallu and will be longer in length than the ones made for tying normally,” she says.

Paithani, on the other ha­­­­­­nd, has a rich look owing to the silk component. It is different in terms of motifs, weaving and colours. The pal­­­­lu has a peacock design and border has square designs.

Earlier, Paithani was made with cotton base whereas silk was only used in weft designs and in the borders. But Paithani, these days, have no trace of cotton. It is pure, luxurious silk.

However, the most interesting part of the Maharashtrian sari is its draping. It is inspired from the warrior Marathi women and called traditional Nauvari.

There is a historical reason behind the drape as Marathi women used to assist male warriors at the time of war. Therefore, in order to be comfortable while fighting, women tucked the sari in the back and knotted it like dhoti.

“This is called Kasta style of drape. But one need not restrict oneself to the traditional style of drape. Since these saris have rich zari and banarsi work on their pallu, they
can be worn keeping the pallu in front or the normally worn open-wavy pallu style that flaunts the rich work,” says Bhatnagar.

What adds grace to the overall look are the ornaments. A Kolhapuri saaz, necklace made of gold beads and a round pendant with a red stone, nath (Maharashtrian nose pin) made from pearls and small coloured stones, a gajra of fresh jasmine flowers in the hair, and the Maharashtrian look is complete! 

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