The History of the Panetar

2011 Jul 1 - by Preeti
The panetar is a typical Gujarati wedding outfit for brides. Both Hindu and Jain brides wear a panetar and a gharchola.

The panetar and gharchola form an important aspect of the wedding ritual. The panetar sari is a gift by the bride's maternal uncle while the gharchola sari is the gift from her new in-laws. Historically, the bride wore the panetar at the beginning of the wedding and then gharchola at the end of the wedding ceremony.

Today, it is common for the bride to wear a gharchola chunni over her head and shoulder to symbolize her movement from one family to another.

The paneter is an unique silk sari or chenia choli with with a white body and red border. The plain white body is woven in Gajji silk with linear stripes or checks in gold zari. There are tie dyed (bandhani) motifs usually yellow/gold or green to adorn the sari. You can see the details in the photos below.

The gharchola is a sari that the bride receives from her inlaws. The weaving technique of the gharchola originate from the region around Khambat in southern Gujarat. Gharcholas are first woven by using silk and zari thread and are then later embellished by bandhani work.

The gharcola comes in a grid pattern that is dyed in red. Some communities use a green gharchola with red, yellow, and white bandhani work. The zari checks or grids appear in forms of 9, 12, or 52. The borders of each grid is in zari.

Green Gharchola, red odni

The bandhani in the center of each grid style around various themes of peacocks, floral patterns, or religious references.

Where more than two dye colors are used, the design is known as ‘phulwari’ meaning 'garden.' When animal motifs (peacocks, elephants, birds) predominate, the pattern is known as ’shikari,’ which means 'hunting scene.' Families may choose any decorated style of gharchola, though they tend to have symbolic meaning in the family.

The majestic elegance of the panetar and gharchola is breathtaking. Here is a collection of different types of panetars worn. The old photos are ones from my mom and dad's wedding. Looking beautiful mom!