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How To Tie Sarees: 7 Traditional Saree Draping Styles from India


How To Tie Sarees: 7 Traditional Saree Draping Styles from India

Six yards of sheer grace….six yards of beauty that is what describes a saree. Nothing makes a girl look more beautiful than a saree. No matter how westernized we might become yet the enchanting charm of the timeless saree never seems to fade away. Fashion trends might change but the trend that never changes or goes out of date is that of a saree. Since ages, a saree has been part of our culture that has reflected a woman’s beauty and elegance. A saree look makes a woman an epitome of beauty and grace.

India is a land of diversity and is a treasure house different varieties of saree and draping styles. The versatility of the saree drapes has inspired the international fashion industry thus winning the saree worldwide acclamation. All across India, the timeless garment is draped in a variety of different styles. Every state of India boasts of multiple ways of saree draping styles keeping sync with the needs of the women there. Hence one can say that there is a wide spectrum of ways saree drapes that befit women from all strata of the country. Have you always been fascinated by the different styles of Indian saree drapes? Are you wondering how to tie a saree in a traditional style to achieve an ethnic look? Here are some of the best traditional saree draping styles that have inspired the likes of famous designers like Sabyasachi, Rohit Bal, Ritu Kumar to revamp the six-yard long Indian garment and make it a wonder for the ramp. Take a closer look at the drapes that has sent the fashion world in frenzy.


7 Traditional Ways Of Draping A Saree


1. Atpouri Shari from Bengal

Atpouri Shari from Bengal

Remember Paro and Chandramukhi from the evergreen Bollywood flick Devdas, donning the traditional Bengali lal padh shari. Their Oti shundori look made people drool over it. The Bengali Atpouri saree drape is one of the most identifiable traditional saree draping styles.  The traditional Bengali white and red bordered saree draped with box pleats on the front and pallu on both the shoulders is what gives the Bengali women apart from the league.

A unique feature that gives the traditional Bengali drape an offbeat contemporary look is that the pallu/veil is brought from the back of the left shoulder first followed by being from the back of the right shoulder. In the ancient era, the Bengali women also tied the keys of the house to the end of the pallu which signified that they were of utmost importance with the reins of the house in their hands and therefore commanded respect and honour.

Wondering how to tie a saree to get the authentic Bengali look? Here are the steps that would help in draping a Bengali saree.

  • Wrap the saree around the waist
  • Make box pleats and tuck it in Nivi draping style
  • With the remaining saree make pleats to cover the upper part of the body
  • Place the pleats on the left shoulder
  • Take the tip  of the pallu from under the right hand to the front side
  • Knott the tip of the pallu and throw it over the right shoulder
  • Viola you get an authentic Bengali saree drape


2. Nauvari Saree from Maharashtra

Nauvari Saree from Maharashtra

Maharashtra boasts of a peculiar saree draping style that resembles more like dhoti. The traditional Maharashtrian nine-yard long Nauvari saree reveals the strong and independent attribute of the women of Maharastra. The unusual draping style of the nauvari saree is worn around the legs like a dhoti whilst the upper part is worn like a normal saree. One of the best examples that demonstrate a nauvari saree is by the Lavani folk dancers of Maharastra. The nauvari sari permits easy movement of the legs thus accentuating every move of the wearer elegantly.

Are you looking for a guide that would help you to drape a Nauvari Saree in the right manner? Here is a step by step guide of how to tie a saree in Maharastrian stye.

  • To begin with wear stretchable shorts for comfort as nauvari saree irradicates the need of a petticoat but you need something to tuck in the pleats
  • Wear a blousethat fits you perfectly. Take the saree and tuck in the plain side followed by turning the saree from right to left. Keep on tucking the saree till you reach point from where you first began.Tie a knot to keep the pleats in place.
  • Next take the pallu to your left shoulder then wrap it around and bring it straight down to your right shoulder
  • Tuck the saree keeping the front length loose. Take the loose length and pleat it neatly into small sections. Secure the pleats with a bolster so that they stay in place.
  • Leave the pleats on the front side and grab the centermost pleat between the legs and tuck it in behind.
  • The final procedure is that of tying the ‘kaccha’. For it you take the portion of the saree from near the feet, fold it into a layer and tuck it into your waist.
  • A nauvari sari has a short pallu for which you secure the pallu and pin it over the left shoulder.


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3. Sedha Pallu from Gujarat, U.P, Odisha

Sedha Pallu from Gujarat

A saree draping style that is practised by the womenfolk of Gujarat, U.P and Odisha on an everyday basis is that of a sedha pallu. The sedha pallu drape resembles the look of a lehenga choli with a difference that the pallu of a saree is used instead of the dupatta. The sedha pallu permits the freedom of movement and works specifically well with the heavily embellished sarees as the shoulder does not has to carry the weight of the heavy worked pallu. The sedha pallu is the perfect way of showcasing the intricate designs on the pallu and the border.

Are you thinking about how to achieve a gujarati look, how to tie a saree in a typical gujju style? Here is a guide that would help you to tie the saree in a Gujarati style.

  • Take the saree and tie a double knot at the waist and tuck the inner end in the front
  • Make pleats 12 of them with the outer end of the saree and  tuck it in the center end of the waist
  • Reverse the pallu and bring it anticlockwise and pleat the end
  • Drape the saree from back to front over the right shoulder
  • Bring the edge of the pallu around the body in anticlockwise direction and tuck it right over the waist


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4. Mekhala Chadar From Assam

Mekhala Chadar From Assam

An exclusive way of wearing the Assamese handloom saree is the Mekhala Chadar that is usually worn by the petite beauties woman of Assam. The Mekhala Chadar comprises of two main pieces-the bottom part sarong made of crisscross pleats in the front wherein the upper part of the garment is tucked to the left side of waist in a triangle form. The other end of the mekhala chadar is thrown over the shoulder like a shawl.

Did the traditional mekhala chadar drape catch your fascination? Wondering how to wear saree in Assamese style? Here is a step by step guide that would help to wear a Mekhala chadar with ease.

  • Wear the mekhala chadar like a skirt at the bottom
  • Form a pleat and hold it firmly
  • Form two pleats and hold it between your fingers,bring the three pleats together and align them accordingly
  • Tuck the upper part of the saree into the petticoat
  • Put the upper part of the saree over the left arm and adjust the pallu according to the desired length
  • Bring the other end of the chadar in front in a manner that it drapes once around your waist
  • Tuck the iner border of the chadar in the petticoat in a manner that enables one end ti dangle that it forms a neat triangular pleat that aligns with the mekhela
  • Pin the end with the mekhela so that it stays together
  • Bring the chadar from across the back to the front


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5. Gol Saree

The simple and elegant gol saree is a Parsi drape that is worn by the Parsi women on festive occasions.A georgette or chiffon saree works best for the Parsi drape. In the Parsi drape, the pallu known as the Gara is taken from behind and is draped over the shoulder. The pallu hangs in loose folds over the left shoulder and it is then brought over the right shoulder with the folds splayed out in the front. A unique feature of the Parsi drape is that the pallu falls close to the hem.

Thinking about wearing a gol saree at your wedding? Here is a step by step guide of how to wear a Parsi gol saree drape.

  • Take the inner end of the saree drape it around the waist in a anticlockwise manner
  • Tuck the end in the petticoat
  • Take the outer end of the saree and bring it around the waist in a anticlockwise way over the shoulder
  • Take the inner piece of the saree over the right shoulder from the back in a manner that it forms a V below the knee.Make pleats from the remaining loose part of the saree.
  • Tuck the pleats in the centre of the waist leaving out some portions free on the left waist
  • Hold the outer end pieces over the right shoulder with a brooch.


6. Madisaru Drape from Tamil Nadu

Madisaru Drape from Tamil Nadu

Madisaru drape plays an important role in the Iyengar and Iyer culture of Tamil Nadu. The Madisaru saree drape is worn by women after marriage and sported at special occasions and festivities. It is one of the toughest styles of saree drapes that if worn properly it eradicates the need for a blouse and petticoat. The madisaru drape follows the Ardhnareshwar style of draping which refers to half man and half woman. In this saree draping style, the lower half is worn like a loincloth and the upper half is pleated like a normal saree.

Have you got inspired with the Madisaru drape? Here is a step by step guide for how to wear saree in Madisaru style.

  • Stand with your feet 2ft apart from each other
  • Start with making 5-6 pleats on one end of the saree
  • Keep the pleats on the left side of your back just above the waistline
  • Drape your saree around your body and make a knot on the left side of the back without disrupting the pleats.Let the pleats to dangle comfortably over the knot
  • Bring the saree to the front and tuck one edge near the right edge of your hip then take it back again to the centre and tuck it there.
  • Make pleats and bring the entire saree to the back from under the legs
  • Tuck the saree at the back on the waistline
  • Bring the saree around through the left side after tucking the shorter edge on the right side
  • Bring the saree around your body again
  • Pass the saree on your right shoulder arranging the border
  • Bring the border and tuck it firmly in the front side


7. Coorgi Drape From Karnataka

Coorgi Drape From Karnataka

The Coorgi saree drape finds its traces in the popular stories of Kaveri and Agastya.The unique draping style enables the women of Karnataka to lead an active life, perform the daily chores of climbing hilly slopes of Western ghats with the utmost ease. With pleats at the back, the Coorgi drape is paired with a full-sleeved blouse. The end of the saree brought below the left shoulder and is secured over the right shoulder with a firm knot known as Molakattu. Brides of Karnataka usually opt for a red and gold Kanjeevaram silk saree.

Did the coorgi saree drape inspire you? Here is a step by step guide of how to wear a saree in coorgi style.

  •  Start draping the saree from the back and hold one end of it in a manner that the bottom of the saree is in alignment with the bottom of the petticoat. Tuck the saree in the waistline of the petticoat from the back. Drape the saree in anticlockwise manner.
  •  Give the drape a complete round and follow it by making 6-7 pleats at the back.Tuck the pleats neatly in the petticoat from the back.
  •  Continue with the anti-clockwise draping style and pull the saree up in the front in a manner that it falls horizontally across the chest. Take another round of the saree and bring it to the front from the back over the right shoulder. Secure it nicely over the blouse with a safety pin or a brooch.


Which saree draping style are you bookmarking? Do you know about other saree draping styles? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.

Moneeca Moitra
About Author
Moneeca Moitra

A science geek who is a writer by passion and traveller by nature. Foodie with an unhealthy adoration to all things good about food. Believes that the pen can bring about world peace.

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