The ethnic apparels in India have a special place in all our hearts. I feel there are no other ensembles that make you look so divine than Indian wear. When it comes to wearing traditional attire, women often get confused between a lehenga and a saree. Many people perceive these garments to be the same and often interchange the two terms, creating a massive fuss. But, do you know there are significant differences between lehengas and sarees?
The difference between lehenga and saree is that sarees are unstitched whereas lehengas are stitched garments. Lehengas are from North India and are three-piece attires with lower skirt, choli, and dupatta. Sarees are draped on entire body freely.
The differences don’t end here! There are more points to illustrate the distinction between lehenga vs saree. I’ll discuss each of them in detail below. But before going anywhere, let’s find out what are sarees and lehengas.
What is a Lehenga?
Also known as lehenga-choli, lehengas are the perfect garments for a traditional occasion in India. There are three parts in a lehenga – a long-skirt, a tight-fitting blouse, and a dupatta. Lehenga covers the bottom and leaves the waist and bust uncovered. So, we wear a matching blouse and dupatta to veil the body to our satisfaction. Also, ladies carry a dupatta with lehengas variably to create different and unique styles according to the event.
A gorgeous lehenga can have ruffles, pleats, threadwork, and embroidery. Mostly, the designers use conventional motifs to embellish a lehenga. However, these days, contemporary patterns are trending in occasions like weddings.
Surprisingly, lehengas have different types and styles. Lachas and Ghagras are the most common lehengas worn in our country. These look similar to a long skirt, having blouses and dupattas as the mutual entities between them. Another lehenga-variety is the Sharara or Gharara which are lehengas with a stitch at the knees.
Now that you have the gist of what are lehengas, let me introduce you to the other warrior – the sarees.
What is a Saree?
Believe it or not, sarees identify the Indian culture. The origin of sarees dates back to 4000BC in our motherland. Unlike lehengas, sarees are absolute unstitched garments having a detailed or distinct pallu. To carry a saree, you need to wear a matching petticoat or underskirt on or below the navel-line initially. Further, you wear a saree by draping it on your body and tucking in the underskirt, with its pallu covering the bust area.
Sarees can be embroidered, printed, shimmered, and dyed. Based on the occasion you are going to attend, you can choose a specific saree among all the varieties available, silk, cotton, and net, to name a few.
Earlier, sarees had traditional motifs and Karigari running all over the body. However, under western influence, sarees are evolving to entail more off-beat designs and contemporary patterns. Also, tops are replacing the blouses, creating an excellent fusion of the two cultures.
What is the Difference Between Lehenga and Saree?
You are already familiar with the two competitors of the lehenga vs saree battle. Both are equally gorgeous and reflect our rich Indian culture and heritage. Ladies rush to treasure an embellished saree or lehenga whenever a traditional event comes up. However, both of them differ from each other considerably and have specific significance in our customs.
Enough of the suspense! Now, let’s dive into knowing how lehengas and sarees differ from each other.
1. Where are sarees and lehengas common in India?
Sarees are common in all parts of the country. Ladies in all states of India wear sarees and see them as an integral part of their culture. However, lehengas are worn in northern India mostly. Interestingly, each state in India contributes to producing a unique saree whereas the lehenga-varieties remain restricted to North India only.
2. The Dates of Origin of Lehengas and Sarees
Lehengas emerged in India back in the 10th century and evolved with the Mughal invasion of our territory. Sarees are even older and their most primitive existence was found in 4000BC. So, it’s safe to say that sarees are more historical than lehenga-cholis.
3. Physical Difference Between Lehengas and Sarees
Lehengas are stitched garments worn as a skirt to cover the bottom, leaving the waist and midriff uncovered. We wear a matching blouse and dupatta to cover the unveiled portions and complete our outfit. However, you need to drape a saree on your body in a bodycon fashion. It leaves the waist and belly unveiled partially and requires wearing a blouse to cover the essentials.
4. Length of Saree and Lehenga
The length of a lehenga varies and depends on the height of the wearer. But, the size of the dupatta is fixed and equals 2.5 yards mostly. A saree is a much longer attire and remains fixed in its size. Wherever you travel around the globe, you will get a 5.5 meters saree everywhere.
5. The shape of Saree and Lehengas
A saree settles on the feminine curves, giving off a bodycon appearance to the draper. However, a lehenga is A-cut mostly with some exceptions having a mermaid shape. The modern designers keep experimenting with the two attires and unexpected modifications in their shapes are likely.
6. Revelations in Sarees and Lehengas
Lehengas cover the below-the-navel area entirely, leaving only some upper portions uncovered in a choli. However, a saree is more revealing than lehengas and creates an unmatched appeal.
7. History of Names
Since lehengas originated in North India, people coined their name from a Punjabi word called lehnga. Sarees derive their name from a Hindi term known as a sari. As you know sarees are common in all parts of India, their name is not region-specific rather a general Hindi word.
8. Ease of Wearing Saree and Lehenga
Lehengas are similar to skirts and easy to wear. Being a sewed garment, lehengas are manageable and well-carried on all occasions. However, you need to learn how to wear a saree before carrying the attire well. Since sarees are unstitched, they depend on pinning entirely. Initially, you might find it a bit difficult to carry a saree.
So, we have covered the differences between the two iconic ensembles in Indian culture. Now, it’s time to address a popular question in the forthcoming section.
Lehenga vs Saree: What to Wear in a Wedding?
I have come across this question several times in forums and blogs and found that women are in a dilemma regarding lehengas and sarees at a wedding. Let me make it clear that both the garments are ethereal and you can choose any of them for a wedding. Are you still confused about your trousseau? Let’s make it simpler.
If everything seems overwhelming, you can follow the geographical rule. A bride belonging to northern India can try out a lehenga and resonate with her culture. However, if you belong to South India or West Bengal, you can choose a royal Kanjivaram or Banarasi silk saree for your wedding.
Do you love to experiment with your wedding outfit? If yes, then a lehenga might disappoint you. The pre-sewed garment is rigid, leaving no scope for creative wearing. But you can do whatever you want with a saree. Since they are unstitched cloth, sarees let you drape them in multiple ways and create unique styles each time.
Choosing a saree for your D-day will give you a variety of options. There are so many types of sarees, making you appear like a princess before your wedding. Moreover, you can wear a saree even after your ceremonies. Whereas, a lehenga becomes too tacky to be worn during regular events.
Lehenga or Saree – regardless of what you choose, you will appear ravishing in both of them. For ages, these attires are the most favorite choices among Indian women of all ages. Sarees and Lehengas have come a long way since their origin and will continue evolving in the years to come.
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