And then comes the night when women don sarees to hunt!
Indian sarees have such delightful stories behind them that they are worth a hear and a share. The ‘Aath Haath’ saree of Koraput or Kotpad, Odisha is one such saree
It is the Paush lunar month. A full moon. A clear sky and a bright pure white ball shimmering in the sky. Down below in the Kotpad or the Koraput district of Odisha, the tribals are gearing up for the night expedition!
The moon, in India, is meaningfully intertwined in mythology, poetry, classic literature, folklore, and music as also astrology. To think that even Indian fabrics and textiles are connected to the moon and earth is intriguing then again not surprising.
The Chaand, considered a feminine gender, marks the start of the hunting season. Sometime in the month of January, this blood sport is associated with the weaving of distinctive dance saris and hunting shawls, in Kotpad.
And so the festivities begin. There is food, music, and dance. The beautiful tribal women wear the handmade sarees called ‘Aath Haath’. As the name suggests it is 8 hands long. Come to think of it, it actually is anything but long. It is knee length!!! The women wear it for the dance. It is also called ‘pant-ki-dhoti’. It is called so, due to it is the resemblance to a man’s dhoti which is worn like a dhoti and is till the knees.
THE AATH HAATH KODAPUT SAREE IS UNIQUE BECAUSE IT HAS TWO PALLUS!
Both ends of the saree have a differently designed pallu so that when it is worn as a pant the panel displays both the designs between the legs. They are beautifully decorated with weaves.
The festivities do not end of the full moon night. It continues the next morning when the hunting troops set out for the wilderness. The men are escorted by the women till the beginning of the forest, where they gift them a coconut and a hunting shawl.
Like the Aath Haath, even these hunting shawls made by the Indian tribes and Indian artisans have embroideries of wildlife creatures including crabs, fish, and peacocks.
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