The Indian Dupatta – Its History, Style, And Versatile Uses

A dupatta, odhni, or chunari is a 3 meter-long versatile piece of fabric that was and is still today the most unavoidable part of any traditional Indian outfit. The existence of this dress accessory and its use is mentioned in Vedic literature even. In modern times, it is considered to be India’s only style export that has been accepted by the Western world as a part of their attire as a scarf or a cravat. This bright colored fabric now does justice to their evening gown and office suites alike. This shows how versatile and universal this traditional Indian accessory is. In our country, the dupatta is worn by both men and women, old and young, as daily wear or festive wear. Many believe that it demeans women by portraying them as petite and demure but actually the dupatta symbolizes their grace and pride. It is symbolic of their beauty and femininity.

The History Of Indian Dupatta

In Indian history, we have seen changes in the dynasty and corresponding to it, our food, festival culture, and dressing style have changed. But the dupatta has been the single piece of uniformity all through the ages. A Hindu queen and a Mughal Begum both wore them with equal élan. Huge battles were fought between the Mughals and the Rajputs over this dupatta and the beautiful face that it hid.

Not only did the rich and the nobility flaunt it but it is also a common man’s outfit accessory. During the harvest season, village women wear colorful dupattas and take part in festivities to express their happiness after a rich harvest. Be it for Lohri in Punjab or Bihu in Assam, for all traditional festivals men and women wear colorful dupattas in their traditional styles and participate in the merriment. Even the various tribal communities in India have their own version of the dupatta like the famous Naga shawl in strikingly bold, red, black, and white colors.

The dupatta for women in India has religious reverence as well because we always offer a chunni to the goddess to seek her blessings. Even when foreign dignitaries visit our country we give them a traditional welcome by offering them a shawl as a mark of respect for them. Such is the importance of the dupatta in our life. Not only is it just an accessory to match an outfit but is also a token of respect and reverence.

Dupatta – Various Styles Of It

Now dupattas are being made in handlooms and even on a large scale in power looms so that you can buy dupattas online easily. Some styles of dupattas are:

1. The Phulkari dupattas of Punjab have intricate hand-embroidered flowers and geometric patterns in silk thread on cotton fabric. It is done on silk and other fabrics as well. A bright and shiny festive dupatta in bold colors, the Phulkari is always a favorite.

2. Banarasi silk dupattas from Varanasi are handloom-woven designs in gold and silver metallic threads on silk or cotton fabric. The soft fabric and the shining pattern make them popular bridal wear. You can now buy Banarasi dupattas online from several e- retailers.

3. The Chanderi-style dupatta of Madhya Pradesh is a simple and elegant dupatta in silk cotton which is a mixed fabric. The fabric is lightweight and the matt Zari work on it adds class and luxury to it, making it an all-time favorite dupatta.

4. The Badhni style from Rajasthan has a typical tie and dye print in bright colors on cotton, silk, or Georgette. Sometimes it is laced with a golden Gota border and can be paired with almost all outfits.

5. The chiffon dupatta is the college girl-style in colors matching the suit. Sometimes light Zari work or mirror work adds to its chic effect. The lightweight shimmering fabric gives you a minimalistic but elegant look.

Dupatta – The Many Styles Of Wearing It

You can wear a dupatta with any dress and in many ways, as a scarf around your neck, a shawl around your shoulder, or as a veil. Great draping styles you that you can adopt are:

1. Shoulder-Drape Look– Wrap it up loosely around your shoulder if you are feeling a little cold and when your dress is not your focus point. This gives you a smart and graceful look.

2. Elbow Wrap-Up Look– Drape the dupatta around your elbows and hang it closely in the front. This style looks good on a heavy dupatta and gives you a Queen-like elegant look.

3. Neck Wrap Style- This goes well with simple casual wear. You just have to wrap a dupatta around the neck for a very simple girl-next-door look.

4. Side Plead Style– A neat pleated dupatta pinned on one shoulder and hanging loose goes very well with semi-formal attire and makes you feel like a college girl.

5. Veil Style– For a bridal look tuck the dupatta on the center of your head and let it drape over your shoulders. The fabric should silhouette your frame to give you a goddess-like enchanting aura.

6. One-Shoulder One-Arm Style– Let the dupatta rest on one shoulder and twist its end on your arm to bring it to the front as if to display the dupatta. A heavily embroidered dupatta worn in this style gives you a powerful no-nonsense look.

Few Final Words

A dupatta for women in India now means color, festivity, beauty, and glamour, but men also can flaunt it with equal élan. A groom in a sherwani without the handloom silk dupatta on one shoulder is unimaginable. In all states, the wedding day attire of the groom has a dupatta or a shawl in some form. In Bengali weddings, the groom performs rituals wearing a raw silk dhoti and a raw silk shawl. Rural men also use it as a waistband or a loosely tied head cover while working in the fields.

The design, fabric, and the style of wearing a dupatta is essential with every Indian attire, be it traditional wear or a modern dress. The dupatta is no more an accessory but the main focus of an attire. So now you can buy dupatta online because this versatile fabric will never ever fail you.

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