Sarees are traditional garments worn by women in the Indian sub-continent, particularly India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A saree–often spelled sari–is a 6-foot-long piece of cloth that is wrapped around the lower body forming a skirt, then up over the shoulder from back to front. Sarees are worn with a blouse, or choli, that typically shows the midriff but can be made in any style. Sarees’ weave and decoration often reflect regional differences.
Gadwal sarees are from West India, and traditionally come in earthy browns, off-whites or grays, though they are now made in many brighter shades to satisfy an expanded market. Zari work (metal thread embroidery) is typically used in muted gold and copper shades on Gadwal sarees, according to India Selections.
Kota Doria sarees hail from the Rajasthan area of India. These cotton sarees are very lightweight, bordering on transparent, and utilize a multi-gauge yarn to create a checkered look in the weave of the cloth. The original Kota Doria sarees made around Kota city are highly prized and expensive.
Jamdani sarees are from Uttar Pradesh state in India and are also produced in Bangladesh. Jamdani cotton is woven in striped or flower patterns and is typically very colorful. Jamdani sarees are usually very expensive because of the amount of labor that goes into their production.
Venkatagiri sarees come from India’s Andhra Pradesh state. These sarees are woven from very fine cotton yarn, and typically have gold borders. According to Indian Net Zone, motifs commonly woven into Venkatagiri sarees include leaves, parrots, coins or simply contrasting blocks or stripes of color.
Sambalpuri sarees are produced in Sambalpur in Orissa state, India. The cotton used for Sambalpuri sarees is first tie-dyed, then woven into stylized ikkat patterns, usually in contrasting, geometric motifs. Sambalpuri sarees are all hand-woven, and so are usually fairly expensive.
Vichitrapuri sarees also come from Orissa, but are usually richly woven and used as wedding sarees. They utilize the same ikkat techniques as Sambalpuri sarees, but often are woven with a mix of gold and cotton threads to add to their appeal.
Khadi sarees are very traditional, using hand-spun cotton yarn only, and woven on a hand loom. Khadi is woven in a particular way so as to allow the most passage of air through the cloth, thus making it ideal for hot Indian summers.
References and ResourcesIndia Crafts: Cotton Fabric
Tisaya.com: Saree Types
India Selection: Sarees
India Net Zone: Venkatagiri Sarees