Nauvari A Nine Yard Dream: A Study Of The Popularity Of The Traditional Saree, A Symbol Of Cultural Identity Of Maharashtra, India

  • Sanjeevani Ayachit


 Traditional dress is a distinctive symbol of culture and tradition of any place. The native dress of the western Indian state of Maharashtra, was the nine yard saree or nauvari. With time, the nauvari was simplified to a five yard saree or pachvari which in turn gave way to the more practical salvar-kameez or shirts, trousers and skirts. With time, wearing of nauvari and pachvari sarees by urban women decreased significantly and was all but abandoned by 1980s. However today, women are observed wearing both pachvari and nauvari sarees for special occasions and festivals. This study uses an interpretative analytical approach to dissect the experiences of urban Maharashtrian women while wearing their nauvaris and the meanings and purposes they associate with wearing it. The sample was chosen through purposive non-probability sampling and data collected through in depth interviews. The study reveals that increasing numbers of women wear the nauvari saree for festive occasions. They are charmed by its graceful drape, the accompanying ornaments, make-up and hair styles. For an increasing number of women, the nauvari represents oneness with their culture. Its occurrence in popular Bollywood movies like Bajirao Mastani has only helped to increase its popularity.