Navratri is considered one of the most auspicious times of the year. During this festival people love to wear Ghagra Choli or chaniya choli. Chaniya choli, is the traditional clothing of women from various states of India like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir. Chaniya choli, a form of ankle-length skirt from the Indian subcontinent, have different patterns and styles of ghagra with traditional embroidery or mirrors.
History of Chaniya Choli, Navratra and Garba
Gagra Choli became popular attire amongst women mainly in North India, during the 10th century. The lehenga evolved through craftsmanship with the arrival of Mughals in India and their subsequent rule from the 12th to the 18th century. The original, ancient form of lehenga was mainly stitched from cotton, after which royal fabrics and embroideries.
Rajputs added a opaque white cloth attached to the Lehenga, this was called a “patka”. This attire of Rajputs was known as Antriya. So, even though the Rajputs added an style to the attire. It was the Mughals who brought the trend of Ghagra Choli in the Indian fashion. Ghagra were ankle length as bejewelled toes were indicative of a woman’s marital status since women were to cover their faces with a veil. Tribal women wore shorter lehengas ranging from their knees up to their ankles for ease of movement while working outdoors.
WHAT IS GHAGRA
The Ghagra-Choli are made of a number of fabrics such as silk, cotton, khadi, georgette, crape, net, satin, brocade and chiffon. Although designers have successfully used various fabrics for lehenga, silk is still the preferred fabric. Ghagra has lots of them, whereas the Lehenga fits more to the body comparatively. This style is majorly evident in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Where they also include mirror-work, crystals, beads and enhance it with more vibrant embroidery designs. Ghagra choli is three piece attire of choth which includes dupatta, Ghagra (Long Shirt) and crop top like upper garment.
The Ghagra choli is a favourite female attire worn during festivals, weddings or special events in India. This is due to traditions as well as of the fact that it is available in a number of fabrics with many different decorative choices. Traditionally Ghagra choli are the most popular garments for the bride in India. This is a common bridal attire mostly in North India and is also the traditional wear of Garba festival in Gujarat.
One unchanged and long-lasting Ghagra style is the bridal lehenga. The embroidery, style, colour combinations remained more-or-less the same since the time of the royals. Brides prefer to wear traditional red lehengas due to their elegance and sophistication. However, more designers have experimented with shades of pink, green, gold, and white, still traditional and simple hues. Though cotton and silk are the preferred textiles, more light ones such as chiffon and satin are being utilized to add comfort to a bride’s attire.
Today’s Ghagra is trending towards a fusion or Indo-Western design aesthetic. This is leading to lehenga-sarees, gown-lehengas, anarkali-lehengas, cold shoulder blouses, among many other innovative designs. We can’t wait to see how the classic three-piece lehenga continues to evolve over time!