Traditional Saree Draping Styles of India

Saree is a major part of Indian culture and tradition. It is a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth typically between six to nine yards worn by women in every part of the country. The earliest record of a saree dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, where the historians got proof of women wearing sarees. Perhaps it is the oldest and only existing garment from the past. Indian saree is a timeless attire that exudes elegance and beauty.

In every state of India you travel to you will find one thing in common- saree-clad women. India is a treasure trove of saree varieties. Each state has its own saree. They vary in designs, fabric, weaving patterns. Although the saree has stood the test of time, one thing that has changed is the draping pattern. Over the years, the draping pattern has evolved depending on the needs of the women. Each state has its own unique draping style.

This article will take you through the different draping patterns of the different Indian states.


  • Athpourey Style, West Bengal- The Bengali style of draping a saree is the most recognizable saree style. In all classic films, you will see Bengali women wearing a red white saree in Athpourey style. This style of saree has a box pleat at the front. The pallu comes from back to the front on both sides. Traditionally, a bunch of keys would hang from the end of the pallu. This signified the ‘ginni’ or the eldest and most important woman of the household. This look is completed with a huge red bindi on the forehead.
  • Mekhela Chador, Assam- Mekhela Chador has been the traditional attire of Assamese women since time immemorial. It is worn by women of all ages. Mekhela Chador comes in two pieces. The lower part called Mekhela is draped like a sarong with crisscross pleats in the front. The chador covers the torso one end of which is tucked around the waist and the other end is draped around the shoulder.
  • Seedha Pallu, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha- This pattern of draping is quite similar to lehenga choli. The pallu is used like a dupatta, which comes in the front over the right shoulder, and is tucked behind the waist on the left. This everyday draping pattern is very popular among women of all ages. Also, it’s a perfect way to show the intricate work on pallu. This way of draping allows for immense freedom of movement.
  • Nauvari Style, Maharasthra- The term Nauvari meaning Nine Yards is the traditional draping pattern of Maharashtra. The lower part of the saree is worn like a dhoti allowing free movement of the legs, and the upper part is draped like a traditional saree with the pallu over the shoulder. Historians found several instances where Marathi women showcased their abilities by the side of their fellow male warriors during war. This pattern of draping allows them easy physical movements as well as comfort. The Nauvari saree is also referred to as Kacha, Lugada, and Kasta Saree.
  • Nivi and Kappulu Style, Andhra Pradesh- Nivi style is the most common method of draping. Although its roots are found in Andhra Pradesh, it didn’t remain confined to one state. The Nivi drape is considered the universal saree draping pattern today. This draping pattern accentuates women’s curves. A more interesting draping pattern is the Kappulu style. The elderly women of the kappulu caste are seen to be draping this pattern. Unlike the traditional method which requires draping from right to left, the Kappulu pattern requires women to drape from left to right. Another feature of this draping pattern is the narrow pleats at the back.
  • Namboothiri Style, Kerala- This form of draping is very rare in recent times. It is seen during traditional festivals. The concept of this draping pattern stands out because it has no pallu. A typical white saree with a wide golden border is used in this draping pattern. It is a combination of two pieces- mundum or the lower part and the neriyathum, or the upper part. The larger part which is the mundum is draped around the lower body in such a way that the golden border is visible, and the upper part, the neriyathum covers the torso and is tucked inside the blouse.

This article gives us an idea of various traditions and cultures across the country. The next time you drape a saree, don’t forget to experiment with these draping patterns. It will make you stand out. You can never go wrong with a saree no matter what the occasion is. Visit Jyonell Creations if you’re looking to pick out some new and fresh designs, or some traditional designs. We are the best online saree store in India with a huge collection of authentic traditional sarees of Bengal. Whether you want to shop for the wedding season, or your regular wear, your search for the perfect sarees ends at Jyonell Creations. Visit to check out our collection.