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THIS Goan saree tells tales of a tribal history, unknown to modern-day tourists

Do invest in an authentically produced Kunbi saree, next time you embark upon a retail therapy session in Goa!

Any traditional Goan celebration is incomplete without the red-checkered saree, commonly known as Kunbi saree or Adivasi saree, adorning the females of the tribe. Worn without a blouse by the tribal communities of Goa till 1940, this six-yard long saree has a different draping style that excludes the pallu which is normally drawn across the chest and back.

If this has intrigued the saree lover in you to explore more about this unique outfit, then tag along with us as we unfold the 'pleats' of its past and present.

Sociological connections of Kunbi saree

Still worn by women farmers, Kunbi saree is a staple during celebrations, such as the Shigmo Festival, or dance performances, such as 'Dhalo' or 'Fugdi'. Also known as 'kapad' in Goa, these sarees have no motifs and on a richer interpretation, one can state that the border designs convey a spiritual message for it bears a resemblance to temple archways. Further, the crossing geometrical lines are often interpreted as a version of 'nava graha' or 'nava ratna', i.e., nine planets or nine gems.

Since its inception, the fabric and colour palette of Kunbi sarees has been locally and organically sourced. The dominant red dye used in sarees worn by married women is obtained from a wild fruit called 'jafflinchi fala' and this colour is symbolic of fertility. Yellow or lilac coloured sarees are worn by widows and the material is coloured in these shades using turmeric and stones, respectively.

Knock Knock

Despite the fact that no major handlooms manufacture Kunbi saree anymore, revivalists are working to make people aware of this unique aspect of Goa before it is lost to history books. We hope that this feature was educational, interesting and informative enough for you to invest in an authentically produced Kunbi saree, next time you embark upon a retail therapy in Goa!

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