Potli bags have existed in India since times immemorial. These attractive bags have traversed centuries and are now proclaimed a fashion accessory for everyone, age or gender alike. Potli bags are essentially made out of a rich cloth, preferably satin, velvet or silk.
The cloth is then embellished and affixed with a drawstring for opening and closing the bag. Earlier, these potli bags had a simple look. Now, with the rising popularity of these traditional bags, they are adorned with Banaras or Kutch work, pearls, mirrors, beads, sequins, stones along with tassels affixed on the drawstrings.
It is said that the first known potli bag was used by Lord Rama as a travel bag when he was exiled for 14 years. It supposedly contained all his clothes and basic necessities. In Mahabharata, it is said that Arjuna made use of a potli bag to disclose his weapons. Also, Sudama carried a potli of rice when he went to meet Lord Krishna. Hence, the potli bag is associated with our ancient relics and mythology.
In the Vedic era, potli messages were prevalent in which a potli bag would be filled with Ayurvedic herbs for conducting the message. Later, potlis were used for storing money and paintings further prove this. Travelers, saints, and the general populace made use of potli bags and pouches of various sizes.
Present Day Scenario
Today, potli bags have become a very popular fashion accessory and are being reinvented by many designers. A potli bag is commonly spotted as an accessory in marriages and special occasions wherein women sport potli bags that match their attire. Indian potli bags have acquired international attention due to their mesmerizing appearance which reflects the rich ethnic tradition of India’s very own bag.
Potli bags have now been given various avatars and looks, such as potli purses, potli clutch bags, potli pouches and the potli sack purse. Not only do these traditional drawstring bags complement Indian attire, they look perfect with Indowesterns as well. A lot of Indian celebrities and Bollywood stars have increased the popularity of the potli bag by sporting them to important red carpet events.
Kutch craftsmen have their distinctive style of making potli bags by using Eco-friendly fabric with attractive artwork. However, with the rising demand for potli bags, craftsmen are coming out with innovative and newer eye-catching designs.
Another key reason behind the surge in their popularity is the comfort quotient. Being lightweight, these bags can easily be wrapped around the wrist using their drawstrings. Potli bags are available at leading designer stores as well as in street shopping areas. Hence, one can purchase a chic designer potli bag or can alternatively purchase an affordable replica from the street shopping markets.