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Nauvari Saree from Maharashtra

Nauvari Saree

Nauvari Saree (Source: india-forums)


Maharashtra has always demonstrated the Indian style factor that has at all times been a little different and a little unique than what is otherwise considered traditional and conventional. Nauvari Sari happens to fit this example in the best way possible, since it is a unique form of sari which stands on a different shelf altogether when we speak of different saris from different states.

It is a nine yard long sari, thus the name Nauvari. It drapes in such a way that it gives a trouser-dress like appearance. Unlike the other Sari’s this one does not need a slip or a petticoat to complete the look. Commonly these saris are available in Cotton. Along with the sari comes another traditional costume ‘Pano Bhaju’ which is mostly used in Goa- an ensemble to dance the Mando. Pano Bhaju traces its roots to the pre- Portuguese era. These were usually accessorized with the Valkal – a string of beads.


                                                     Origin and History

Nauvaree Sarees

Nauvaree Sarees

Nauvari Sari has its roots embedded in the history of our culture. History revolves around the Nauvari sari and stresses on the ethnic value of the costume. History foretells that the women living in the Maratha Empire showcased their abilities and caliber by assisting their fellow male warriors during the times of war. In order to accomplish their mission and yet maintain their comfort and grandeur, these valorous Indian women invented this Maharashtrian style of dressing in the form of a sari.

The Nauvari sari drives home the essential truth that a woman- a motherly figure can also be the protector of good when needed.

The draping of this sari does not end here and moves down south to Goa- the land of fishermen and beaches. The traditional clothing of the fisher-women of Goa is an innovation to the Nauvari Sari – Pano Bhaju’. The women wear this in bright and vibrant colors and team it up with Vakal which is a string of beads with leafy loincloths worn around the neck.

The unique dressing style and vibrant colors add up to the beauty of the warm and sandy beaches.

Influences over the Years

Over the years, the Nauvari saree, Pano bhaju and the vakal have sustained their grandeur in spite of the changing fashion trends and culture. The Nauvari Saree has seen a change from Cotton textiles to Silks. The saris have also seen a change in the color and the embroidery; from shades of blue and green, to bright colors of pink, yellow, red, and sometime shades of pastel grey, lavender and gold gives it the summer look and are more in sync with the trendy modern day style. The embroidery has seen a sudden soberness and is restricted to limited sections of the cloth. The modern pre-formed sari, the Trench-Kurta, a lehenga teamed with a rather stimulating jeweled neck piece/blouse, inventive and chic fringes or trimmings as accents, a sensual lungi skirt encompass the inspirational take on this creative ensemble.


Nauvari Saree

Nauvari Saree (Source: welcome-2-india blog)

Global Appeal

The Nauvari saree has a global appeal to it. Designers like Julie Bendkhale of Zuilee, Vaishali Shandangule, Nachiket Barve have made strong fashion statements for India on the ramp and their work is strongly influenced by the culture and traditional costumes of the country, including the exquisite and unique Nauvari saree. Changing the traditional textile form cotton fabric to silk in these saris has brought in it a royal look. For the tourists it is a must have souvenir from the country. Several Indian actresses have adorned this nauvari saree at international events and have acclaimed applauds.

Lakme Fashion Week is forever breaking barriers of innovation and has blended the International trends with Indian traditional art, craft and sensibilities.


Women have always had a strong desire to wear the Nauvari sari, but since it is very difficult to wear, for a lot of them this desire remained unfulfilled. However, this unending desire for traditional wear gave birth to a novel concept of “Readymade or pre stitched Nauvari Sari”. The uniqueness to this feature is that it is easy to wear, attractive looking and gives a very comfortable feeling unlike the original draping. This innovation has brought it a global appeal and has made it easily accessible by all. It is made in such a way that it fits one’s size and no one ever realizes that it is actually a stitched sari. The Pano Bhaju has also seen innovations like skirt like drapes with a blouse along with pastels shades or loud floral prints.

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Interesting Facts and Comparisons

  • The Nauvari saree is also referred to as Kasta and Lugada.
  • Nauvari sarees are extremely popular in Bollywood and recently actress Vidya Balan donned this saree in one of her song sequences in the move ‘Ferrari ki Sawari’. 
  • The Nauvari saree is also seen as a rather provocative style of saree since it is different than the traditional style.
  • It is worn in most of the Maharashtrian dance forms.


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