Culture in Color: Sari Shopping in Madurai
December 20, 2013 • Spiritual Adventures
Saris are a traditional type of dress worn in India, among many other places. They come in a variety of colors, patterns, designs, and are often tastefully embellished. During our South Indian meditation retreat we make sure to allow a little time to delve into the beauty of the culture with a little personal shopping. As my Guru use to always say “The way we dress is a direct reflection of the way we feel.”
However, instead of going to a large and crowded market, our experience is made wholly unique, as we go into the home of the local weaver to pick out the colors and styles we desire. Our South Indian adventure emphasizes supporting the local community, and thus we try to buy from small businesses whenever possible.
The weaver sizes each of our shoppers and also creates blouses that are tailored to size to go along with the sari. It is captivating to watch the weavers working at their looms; a true test of steadfastness and practiced patience.
Many of the traditional weavers are giving up the hand-looms for automated weaving machines. It’s sad but also understandable that the time it takes for a machine to weave one sari is significantly less than it does for a person to do it by hand. Yet, there is a demand for hand-woven saris and some keep the tradition going. Here’s a video I put together of an automated sari weaving machine that I came across in Varanasi in Northern India.
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