Patiala or Punjabi Salwar

Gota Patti Embroidered Chanderi Silk Punjabi Suit in Sky Blue

Gota Patti Embroidered Chanderi Silk Punjabi Suit in Sky Blue

The Patiala, also known as Punjabi Salwar is a part of the three-piece outfit called the Salwar Kameez. This Patiala Salwar is worn by women of every age and has been particularly associated with Punjab.

Origin and History

With its roots etched in the city of Patiala, the Patiala Salwar gets its name from its place of origin. Also known as the Pattian walee salwar (pronounced: shalwar) the Patiala was a royal dress for the kings of Punjab. It is believed that one of the kings of Punjab was very popular among the women of Punjab. His outfit comprised a baggy, pleated trouser. The salwar is generally teamed with a Kurti or Kameez, and is marked by the multiple pleats on it. The most significant factor of the Patiala as the king’s attire, was its comfort, more than the majesty of the outfit.

Another story behind the Patiala Salwar tells how only the Maharani or queen of Punjab could get them stitched. She had two personal tailors, Santak Singh and Pritam Singh, who stitched every Patiala as per the commands of the Maharani. The patialas became so popular at a point of time that they replaced the ghagra, a trend seen taking over in the 1960s.

Sources of Inspiration

The Punjabi salwar comes with a royal history attached to it. The look and comfort provided by them were quite an inspiring factor for the royals to make them a part of the royal attire.

Faces Behind the Outfit

Printed Cotton Punjabi Suit in Red

Printed Cotton Punjabi Suit in Red

The major town where this unique style of clothing is created and widely practiced is Patiala, a small town in Punjab, India. Generations of weavers from Punjab have been into stitching the Patiala Salwar owing to the popularity the outfit has enjoyed down the ages.

Punjabi women too are involved in the making and styling of the Patiala Salwar who come up with innovative ideas with the changing fashion trends, and stay abreast with what the women of the younger generations like and seek.

Present Day Scenario and Innovations

Modern day Patiala Salwar is decorated with new designs and styles that make them modern, yet retain their traditional charm. Due to the growing popularity of the Patiala Salwar, the outfit has evolved to be designed with contemporary prints, motifs, embellishments and embroideries. Besides, the Patiala Salwar is also worn with long tops nowadays.  From being stitched in regular designs, the Patiala Salwar is now customized as per the preferences of wearer, for instance, the number of pleats on the Patiala Salwar can be kept minimal or multiplied as per the body type of the wearer.

Occasion Dressing

A Patiala is a staple piece of clothing in every woman’s wardrobe in Punjab. What makes the Patiala Salwar this popular apart from its comfort factor, is the different look that the Patiala Salwar gives off with the fabric it is stitched in, for instance. The Patiala Salwar can thus be worn as casual attire, as party wear or as ceremonial attire as well.


Their loose and baggy style make them ultra comfortable and since they can be made from different fabrics, they are good for every season.


The maintenance of the Punjabi salwar is easy as they are durable and easy to maintain.


Punjabi salwar is coupled with a kameez and a matching dupatta and that makes a whole outfit called salwar kameez.

Interesting Facts and Comparisons

  • Patiala salwar symbolize ease and tradition along with style.
  • Folds of cloth are stitched united in order for them to meet at the bottom.
  • Punjabi salwar requires an almost double length of cloth to be made as compared to a normal salwar.
  • It is actually the fall of the many pleats that gives such a pretty draping effect to the salwar.
  • it was initially attire for men; however, with time it mainly became a part of a
    woman’s dress.


Categories:   Attires, Clothing Styles & Drapes