The secret of embroidering a Parsi ‘gara’

The secret of embroidering a Parsi ‘gara’ is now being taught to those willing to learn, as a part of a five-day workshop at Khareghat Colony

Parsi gara embroidery, which is a specialty of the Parsi community has long been appreciated by the fashion industry all over the country. History suggests that this beautiful silk embroidery was conceived, designed and executed by skilled Chinese craftsmen for embellishing garment ordered by their prosperous Parsi clients.

The rich gara embroidery, originally considered a Parsi family’s heirloom, has become rare, collector’s items because of the intricate work and beauty. These intricate garas, kors (sari border) and jhablas (kid’s wear), influenced by Persian styled motifs of peacocks, fruits, flowers and birds have made quite a few appearances on Indian ramps as well.

And now, it is the UNESCO Parzor Project that has been documenting this embroidery tradition through various field trips and exhibitions across the nation. Explaining the intricacies of this art is the Foundation held a symposium yesterday at the NCPA. “At present, there are very few people practicing this craft, although it has so much demand in the market. Parsi crafts and their designs are a special contribution of this community, which have so far not received the acknowledgement deserved. So we want to give back the craft to the people,” said the project head, Mr. Ashdeen Lilaowala.

The researchers with their audio-visual presentations explained the intra-cultural links of Parsi Textiles and highlighted the designs and techniques, which make them unique. Interactive sessions were also held to demonstrate the training for this craft.

After the symposium, at 4 pm, an exhibition of a few exquisite and rare pieces of Parsi Textile and Embroidery had been put up yesterday. This workshop begins today, at Khareghat Colony Hall,” said Lilaowala, who has taken the symposium and the workshop to cities like Ahemdabad and Navsari in the last six months. The five-day workshop will include kasti weaving along with gara embroidery. “In Navsari, we had a lot of participants eager to gain the knowledge of making a Kasti, while in Ahemdabad, there were more people interested in the art of embroidering a gara,” said Lilaowala.

The participants in the workshop have been divided into groups, depending on their qualifications and training. “We have 50 to 60 participants registered with us. Those who have little experience in this kind of embroidery will be taught right from the basics,” said Lilaowala.

Original article here

  • ranu

    I liked the article. It is good to know that this art is being revived and passed on to people who are interested. Where can we buy a Gara or a kors in the local market ? Kindly give the addresses of the outlets for easy access, especially in the Northern India.

  • emily

    Hi there,
    Can you possibly suggest any scholarly works that deal in depth with the history of these saris?

  • SS

    Very informative- Being a collector I have more than a dozen Garas, borders and such! I would like to dispose a few of these for the right pricce to the higest bidder- Each of them is in pristine condition
    If anyone is interestd please contact me via email. Yes I have pictures that can be sent. Thanks

  • Annie

    I’m interested in buying gara sarees.


  • dilshad

    i have antique collection of cores and gara i very good condition for sale

  • Malaika

    I am interested in buying ghara borders if it suits my requirements. Please send pictures if possible and the expected price and I can write back.

    Thank you

  • hassan akhter

    i am interested in bying ghara borders in lace form, in a huge quantity plz send sum pictures if its possible plzreply me as soon as possible…

    thank you

    Hassan akhter

  • Hanoz Bamji

    Hello Folks,

    Its good to see so many people interested in Parsi Garas ‘sarees’. The makind of garas is a rare form of art today. Its time cosuming as well as costly. Today lots of machine embroidered sarees are mistaken for garas. The beauty of a Gara basically lies in its finely handcrafted feel which cannot be seen i a machine embroidered saree.
    For those of you who wish to see images or pics of sample garas readily available have to be discontented. The manufacturing cost is quiet high as its a labourous job to manufacture and the maket is not big for Garas. However a few images of sarees owned by people as well as custom made for customers can be available.

    I have a very small handembroidery workshop where we manufacture Garas (made-to-order only) as well as other handembroidered sarees, dresses and sherwanis based at Navsari near Surat. Those interested may feel free to contact at
    Those interested to get it manufactured

  • M.Bhathena

    Hi Dilshad,
    Am interested in buying a gara or a core its for myself can u pls get in touch with me .

  • Amina Saeed Name (required)

    I,m interested in learning the gara stitch and designs to make a core. I live in Karachi, Pakistan and love to embroider.please help…