All the ladies out there, don’t you think that pre-stitched sari is a wonderful drape of obvious reasons? But if you belong to the purist category and love to drape and pleat rather than slip in and out, I have two things line up for you.
First of all, ask your mother to give you a crash course on draping and if you are a techno freak simply download a useful sari-tying iPhone application.
Second of all, follow this guide to the Mumbai’s best wedding saree shops for you to go shopping.
1. Kala Niketan, the Exclusive Wedding Saree Store
Kala Niketan is known for the rich variety it produces.
In crunch-infested Mumbai, there are two stores at Marine Line and Juhu occupying over 3,700 square meters. Both the stores are seen lined wall to wall and floor to ceiling, with sarees and salwar kameez materials of all varieties.
From Banarasi weaves to south silks, cotton, bandhini and printed to the new fangled embroidered and sequined numbers they have it all in the best of quality.
You will find some really busy men behind cloth topped counters unravel, pile, slide and fold saris with the same expression. They might at times break into a smile when a young woman makes a beautiful comment about her blouse design.
- Price: Start at Rs 500.
- Address: 95, Maharshi Karve Road, Marine Lines; +91 (0)22 2200 5001 and Navyug, JVPD Scheme, VM Road, Vile Parle (West), near Juhu police station; +91 (0) 22 2611 5689 / 2614 7910
2. Khatri Jamnadas Bechardas, the Quality Wedding Store
Two years ago when saree shop Khatri Jamnadas Bechardas celebrated its anniversary, the event could hog much limelight as they had to slam the doors shut because of the unexpected crowd.
You might not find fancy mannequins and shiny billboards in the store, but it has such strong word-of-mouth promotion that any Gujarati or Marwari shopper can direct you to the city’s best bandhini saree store.
The quality of a bandhini saree is determined by how closely it is tied and therefore it is difficult to put them on display. At Jamnadas, instead of a glass display, the saris are wrapped in cloth bundles so that they retain their wound up pattern for longer.
You will find Bandhinis in all colors and materials for all season here. The shop sees a huge rush in weddings and occasions for sarees like the Gharchola (sari with red checks and gold thread) and Panetar (red and white checks).
- Price: Start at Rs 3,000.
- Address: No. 2, Third Bhoiwada, Gulalwadi Corner, third Bhiwandi Road, Kalbadevi; +91 (0)22 2242 5711, 2242 4947
3. Warp ‘n’ Weft, Women’s Clothing Store
Warp n Weft are known for their intricate weaves and traditional motifs.
Owner Sagrika Rai shop not only stocks the city’s best Banarasi sarees but she also offers a crash course in weaving techniques.
“I’ve been trying to revive old Indian motifs like Shikargah (woven sari with animal and bird imagery),” says Rai.
At Warp ‘n’ Weft you won’t find any unnecessary sequins, haphazard zari borders and embroidery on the hand woven sarees.
Only intricate weaves with traditional motifs like paisleys, kamal booti and jangla (twine) will be found in her store. Though people in Mumbai often equate Banarasi saris to heavy silk, materials like silk, cotton, tussar and georgette are bought too because of its light weight.
“This is what real Banarasi weaves feel like,” says Rai.
- Price: Start at Rs 2,000 and go up to Rs 100,000 or US$2,000.
- Address: Sethna building, ground floor, 55 Maharshi Karve Road, Marine Lines; +91 (0)22 2200 0554
4. Nalli, the Famous Silk Saree Store
If you are a kind of person who who’d rather stay within city limits to satiate your desire for South Indian Kanjeevaram silks, the Mumbai Nalli is the best store for you.
The store is extended to over three floors but its ground level is the most special of all. The silk saris with gold-colored weaves are found here.
The sarees are made of heavy silk and found in colors of bright greens, purples, yellows and pinks. The price varies according to the use of thread which might be artificial, silver dipped in gold or real gold zari. On estimation the price start at about Rs 1,000 and can go up to over Rs 100,000 or US$2,000.
The workers at stores are helpful and earnest. They’ll drape the sari on you and then drape it on themselves.
But, if you still don’t appear convinced and become tired of choosing, they’ll offer you a cup of their special south Indian filter coffee.
- Address: Shop no 7, Tirupati Apartments, Bhulabhai Desai Road, opposite Mahalaxmi Temple; +91 (0)22 2353 5599, 2353 5577 and Nalli Next, ground floor, Oberoi Mall, Goregaon (East); +91 (0) 22 4276 3377
5. Dadar market, the Super Market of Wedding Sarees
Lazaree is one of the affordable saree shops in the Dadar market.
If you ask me to pick up one shop for here, it would be almost impossible. For over four decades, the market near Plaza cinema has been taking care of the wardrobes of Dadar’s women.
Lazaree, Paaneri and Rangoli Annexe face Roopmilan and Dadar Emporium and store the best quality sarees for all ages.
They were originally meant to cater to the middle class Maharashtrian population, but today, curious sari shoppers have been dropping in too.
The USP is its affordability. “Original Paithani saris (peacock designs woven on silk) sell for around Rs 200,000 to 300,000 (US$ 3,800-5,700) but we have some for Rs 20,000 to 30,000 (US$383 to 575),” says Harish Patel from Lazaree.
- Price: Start at Rs 400.
- Address: NC Kelkar Road, Dadar (W), near Plaza cinema, opposite Tilak Bridge