The Kanchipuram silk saree is steeped in heritage and tradition, be it the temple borders reflecting the spiritual essence of the town of Kanchipuram itself, or the rich and vibrant colours that have a symbolic connect to the cultural landscape. Even the traditional motifs are inspired by nature or they have a mystical context. While most Kanchipuram silk sarees are six yards of silk of sheet talent and beauty woven together, there is another traditional Nine Yards Silk Saree that is reminiscent of a bygone era but is still worn at iconic occasions like weddings called Madisar.
The 9 Yards Silk Saree is essentially the same as the six yards saree but its draped differently. Madisar is based on two words - Madi and Saar or Thaar. The long pallu is folded lengthwise and tucked behind is the Madi, while the pleated portion is called Saar. It is often colloquially called the trouser style saree because of the unique style of wearing the bottom half like trousers. Traditionally though it is also called the Kosavu.
Dating back to the 2nd century BC, the Madisar or 9 Yards Saree has been mentioned in ancient Tamil literature texts. It has been worn by women of a particular community in Tamil Nadu since yester years. The literary work of Silappatikaram describes the drape while the inscriptions found in one of the Chola capitals - Gangaikondacholapuram describes hand weaving techniques of the Madisar saree as early as in the 11th century. The saree is more than just a drape. It has strong symbolic and traditional references and is mainly worn during important occasions starting from weddings, baby showers to festivals.
Nine yards are traditional sarees with specific trademark motifs, colours and patterns. The extra three yards are an extension of the regular six yard and are elongated . The all inclusive garment worn sometimes without a blouse or an underskirt is a difficult drape unlike the regular six yards saree and yet it has a very special status. Although the nine yards saree is considered a traditional garment, in contemporary times, younger women are putting a spin on it and styling it as per their personality and comfort. Some even wear two pallusand experiment and explore myriad and different drapes with the unstitched fabric.
Besides the Madisar or the 9 Yards Silk Saree, there are also different types of drapes that you can try as well. The Madisaritself can be worn in two different ways by pallus on either side and now the styles are changing to keep up with the times. Giving a twist to the traditional drapes are others like the 9 Yards long Nauvari Maharashtrian drape which also includes the popular Lavani drape that gives a lot of attitude and style. The Gujrati Seedha Pallu, the Bengali Athpourey , the Assamese Mekhela Chadar, the Kodagu drape and the Kapalu of Andhra Pradesh are other drapes that can be tried with the 9 yard Saree.
Nine yards Kanchiouram silk sarees are traditional sarees with specific trademark motifs, colours and patterns. Traditional shades include Arakku (crimson red), Mambazham (Mango Yellow) and Mayil Kazhuthu (Peacock Blue). Arakkku, originally a natural dye comes from lac and is often the choice of colour for weddings. Mayil Kazhuthu as it literally translates takes its inspiration from the bluish green shades that adorn the necks of peacocks. Mango Yellow is the deep yellows of the mango fruit that heralds summer, It is not just the colours alone, even the borders of the 9 Yard Saree are distinct called Muthu pettu saree where the border has traditional gold zari as border. The Araimadam petu saree which is wider than the Muthu Petu border has temple motifs as well. The Maadam pettu korvai saree is woven using the Korvai technique and is also intricate with floral and geometric patterns and is more elaborate than the other two borders as well.