Wedding trousseau, the Parsi style


September 22, 2008

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Culture | Customs | Fashion

Women display Parsi wear at the exhibition on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Jamshedpur, Sept. 19: After wearing saris of Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra and south India to your relatives’ weddings, if you want something unique then head for the Parsi Association Hall at Sakchi.

Mumbai-based Parsi community is organising a two-day exhibition in the city where snacks, clothes and household items were are on display.

The main attraction of exhibition are the Garas. These are heavily embroidered trousseau worn by Parsi women during weddings.

The Chinese traders sold these dresses in the 19th century in India. They use to frequent to Surat and Navsari in Gujarat to sell them to woman there.

“During noon, the Chinese traders used to take rest at Parsi houses and the Parsi women would learn the skills of making Garas. They used to fused their style with this and come up with some unique wedding trousseaus. They looked attractive due to heavy embroidery and embellishments,” said Bakhtawar Percykarani, a kiosk owner.

Since Garas were made of natural silk, it could not be washed and a lot of care had to be taken. If the dresses were not used for long the quality deteriorated.

So they were stored in teak chests, with pepper corns tied in muslin cloth and sandalwood sticks, to keep away insects and moths that fed on the natural silk.

“Garas were woven by women now we make it through machines. The type of silk has also been changed —we use butter silk, laser georgette and satin. However, it has to be dry washed,” he said.

The purple and violet coloured Garas are the ones that Parsi women wear on the wedding day. Apart from these two colour, Gara in red, navy blue and white are also available. Garas are considered to be family heritage. “If preserved properly, it can last for 300 years. For my collection, I give customers a high quality polythene bag that they can use to keep the saris,” said Percykarani.

And if you want the traditional Chinese Garas, it is also there. These saris depict the Chinese way of life and motifs.

Depending upon the designs, the cost would range from Rs 6,500 to Rs 30,000.

Apart from the Garas, the exhibition had sari with embroidered border, western outfits, fancy jewellery and some typically Parsi delicacies.

This is the third time Parsi exhibition is being held at the steel city.

“Parsi specialities such as dalni puri, a sweet dish made during festivals, patrel, mawani puri, khajurni puri and Poona biscuits and cakes are there. These are particularly in demand in the steel city,” said Persi Limboowala, one of the organiser of the exhibition.