Since I was a young kid I have been seeing my grandma being very different from everyone. I always looked up to her and the way she would drape her saree. I was intrigued by the way she would wear it. She would wear the typical Madisar – Iyengar style 9-yard saree. I would always be a part of wearing the saree since the time I remember. How may you ask?
So, you all might know that the Madisar is something similar to the Navrachi, except that the length of this is 3 folds higher. It would take a normal person more than 40 minutes to wear this particular style. Even at 85+ she would never budge and wear a normal saree, as it didn’t make her feel authentic enough. All the aunts, mum and everyone would come to her to get the traditional saree draped. Kanjeevaram Saree is one of the most traditional and sought-after sarees.
So, when she would be draping it, it was my ritual to always cross under the kacche, around 2/3 times it was like a fun game every day for me to just run around and under the saree. After that I would be satisfied for the day with the games I played with my granny. She would so patiently wait for me to always play around atleast 2/3 times and then feed me breakfast. This was the best part of my day I would say.
What do you think is the significance of this beautiful style of saree? That it’s so difficult to wear?
The pressing knot on both of hip nerves and behind back bone will press the nerves so that we will not get other feelings such as going to bath room in day time, when they were working away from home in the olden days. Further you will not get thirsty or hungry if you wear this Madisar properly.
In South India, the nine-yard Madisar also symbolizes the unity of the male and female principles of the universe. The sari has pleats and the pallu, and the lower part looks like a dhoti. This is the principle of the Ardhanareeswara God (half man and half woman).
Which makes us realise that, women wearing this particular type of saree would go to war! The trouser-like style also made it easy to work and move around in. In fact, the tradition of a 9-yard sari was prevalent in many other Indian states like Maharashtra and Karnataka. History even mentions several women soldiers draped in a nine-yard sari going to war. Women like Jhansi’s Queen Laxmibai fought enemy troops on horseback, wearing a nine-yard sari.
The nine yards of the sari function as the all-inclusive garment. It is worn without a petticoat or underskirt unlike the normal six-yard sari and, if wrapped properly, requires no other undergarment or upper garment (such as a blouse). “With one of the folds pulled through between the legs (and tucked into the back on the belt), the style fulfils the requirements of modesty and protection.
So, the 9-yard is one particular garment which needed nothing other than the saree itself. and imagine wearing only a saree and going to the war! How cool was that! This drape seemed to be made for warriors, it’s a no ordinary saree, mind you!
Even though the saree I have worn here is not a Madisar, it’s just a normal saree made to look like one Madisar, as I could not figure how to wear it, as it needs a little bit of practice. But the way it turned out made me immensely satisfied. I felt like the soul of my granny was satisfied in the era of dresses and denims.