When two people marry, two families too, invariably, marry! This stands especially true in the context of the Indian marriages, where a bride is traditionally considered the honor and grace of the family she marries into. Also, with marriage, the bride becomes an integral part of her new family – her security and respect, the new family’s responsibility.
- There are many cultural practices and religious/ ritualistic symbols associated with this integral aspect of Indian society. Gharchola is one of them! This auspicious wedding staple from the Indian states of Gujarat has been used since years with this beautiful thought behind it.
- Ghar+Chola – made of two words ‘ghar’ (home) and ‘chola’ (cape/clothing)– the word gharchola literally translates to ‘home apparel’ or the outfit worn at home. However, the contextual meaning of the word is more complex. Here ‘Ghar’ refers to the bride’s new home, her husband’s home. And, ‘Chola’ contextually means her wedding costume. The new bride enters her marital home wearing a Gharchola on her head and shoulders – implying she comes with everyone’s blessings and good wishes
- Gharchola is a saree, traditionally used as a head/ shoulder drape, Since it is a wedding apparel, it is usually in auspicious colours of red/ maroon and green/ yellow. A variant of the popular Bandhani saree, Gharchola is distinguishable by its typical grid pattern.
- Traditionally sought and culturally rich, Gharcholas (sarees/) are a way of welcoming the new bride into the groom’s home – with respect and affection. Groom’s mother gifts a Gharchola – traditional grid-patterned, unstitched length of embellished fabric – to the bride. The daughter-in-law drapes it over her head – as a way of her mother-in-law’s aashirwaad (blessing) – at the time of wedding rituals.
- Then the other end is brought to her right shoulder, draping the saree from the back. Many contemporary brides do not drape the pallu over their head. The Pallu’s loose end that falls over the bride’s right shoulder is tied to the groom’s sacred stole, during wedding rituals.
- A sub-set of Bandhani (Indian tie and dye art), Gharchola was earliermade by traditional weavers and Bandhani workers. The dying process of Gharchola is historically associated with BHUJ KUTCH
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