Legacy of Hand Embroidery Print E-mail

Hand Embroidery in India
Gara embroidery made its journey from China to the shores of India hundreds of years ago. Trade plying between China and the Persians in India made the art form more visible and accessible outside its country of origin. Due to the fusion of the two cultures, the Chinese embroidery was later adapted onto saris.

The earliest garas were embroidered on all four borders, a custom which gradually gave way to two, given the draping of saris. The Persian influence made itself felt in the fruit, flower and bird motifs interspersed on a distinctly Chinese background. So intricate is the embroidery, in terms of aesthetics as well as symbolism, that legend has it that children in China would sit with their grandmothers and mothers, and listen to stories that unfolded on the gara. Tales of kings and fishermen, romance and riches, were all painstakingly rendered through the embroidery. Modern versions of the traditional gara incorporate traditional motifs with Swarovski crystal and touches of gold and silver interweaving.

Traditionally, the gara was worn over the head, exposing only one ear. This is why many old sets of Parsi (the Zoroastrian Persians that migrated to India) jewelry have only one earring. Also, while original jewelry was limited to pearls, today, diamonds can be worn with them just as confidently. What a relief! Of course, there is no need to limit gara embroidery only to saris. You can find bespoke shawls, lehengas ( long skirt), and dupattas (a matching piece of cloth worn with churidar) worn traditional gara embroidery.

Armayesh Global, one of Mumbai's leading export houses have been producing custom made hand embroidered garas for over 25 years. The garas which we make are as close to the original as possible since the hand embroidery process follows the original design by twisting of the threads while continuing with the stiches. The newly hand embroidered saris have an advantage over the originals because 100 percent original, colour fast silk is used. Unlike the original garas, where cleaning would result in the fading of colour.

Depending on the design and the intricacy of the work, new garas cost a minimum of Rs. 20,000 to a maximum of Rs 2,00,000.


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