A gharara (Hindi: ग़रारा, (Urdu: غراره) is a traditional Lucknowi garment,traditionally worn by Muslim women of Hindi Belt.
It consists of a kurti (a short, mid-thigh length tunic), a dupatta (veil), and most importantly, a pair of wide-legged pants, ruched at the knee so they flare out dramatically. The knee area, called the gote in Urdu, is often elaborately embroidered in zari and zardozi work. Each leg of a traditional gharara is made from over 12 metres of fabric.
The upper part of the gharara is called paat or kunda and the two parts are separated by a piece of cloth called rumaali or miyaani. On top would be a nefa which would be used for kamarbands to hold it up.
Traditionally there is lachka gota stitched on the joint of the paat and gote so as to hide the joint. This used to be pur silver and gold work once upon a time but is now metal lace is this joint which diffrenciates a gharara from a sharara
If you notice in this there are just two parts in the piece but no gather on the knees. This was the adaptation for modern times when material became expensive and actually not many people were available to stitch the gharara. A sharara is a cross between a gharara and a lenhga.
My beautiful niece at her wedding with my younger niece and sister in law – all dressed in ghararas but with a modern twist.
My one grouse against the Madhuri Dixit starrer Dedh Ishqiya was that she was shown wearing a sharara. Ladies from traditional families and she was shown in Mahmoodabad – didn’t wear the ‘new-fangled’shararas. They wore ghararas.
This photograph of Mrs Naazni Naqvi on her wedding used to be a must for all newly weds. I remember in Lucknow a studio called Mull used to be an expert in it and everyone from my family went there for formal wedding portraits.
Of course now that people are becoming more and more adventurous we have something called the farara. This is fitted tightly on the thighs made of stretchable material.
we also have an adaptation called a palazzo which is neither a sharara nor a pyjama but a cross of the two. It’s very popular these days and varies from a chauda paincha like the men’s pyjama to more gher or gather like a sharara.
But who can compete with the stately gharara?
Kareena Kapoor in a heirloom gharara at her wedding
I give you instructions on how to cut the gharara from Uma’s site mentioned above.
My eldest sister who learnt how to stitch it says this picture doesnt have the kalis which are part of the kanda or paat which is essential
The top part consists of this as per Apa’s drawing
Ghararas used to be regular wear at home. I remember my grandmother wearing them. Later when times were not so gracious and there was a shortage of tailors to stitch it, cloth became expensive she shifted to churidar kurta. But ghararas were a must for weddings and still are.
I still remember all the love and time that went into it into the ghararas my mother made and embroidered with lachka work the ghararas for my sisters and me.
Then there was the farshi gharara. The word comes from Farsh or the ground, which the gharara trails on .
There were two ways to wear a farshi gharara: Let it trail like a train or drape it over your arm.
I have a farshi gharara belonging to my aunt and just looking at it makes me nostalgic
There are ghararas still being made in Lucknow from where we get it made.
The brocade work is embroidered either on the patti of dupatta or as a jaal all over.
The work depends on the cost
Traditional wedding ghararas are very heavy with the dupatta itself weighing a few kgs. This is from my wedding album
NOTE : In case anyone is interested in getting ghararas made please contact Mrs A. Zaidi on 00917668123456