A dupatta is a large scarf that is often paired with many ethnic Indian garments for women, such as a kurta, kurti, salwar kameez or ghagra choli. Traditionally, it was worn as a symbol of modesty, but today it is also used as a fashion accessory to make a style statement. In fact, it is not uncommon to see young women draping attractive dupattas over shirts or t-shirts, to jazz up their formal or semi-formal outfits. Smaller dupattas are also called stoles and are often used as a scarf around the neck.
A dupatta is alternatively known as orni, orna, chunri, chunni, chadar or ghunghat in various parts of India.
Just as with sarees, most centers of handloom weaving in India also produce dupattas, reflecting their traditional weaving patterns and motifs. Silk and cotton dupattas in a variety of colours and textures, with woven, painted, printed or embroidered patterns form a delightful addition to a woman’s wardrobe.
Dupattas with Kantha embroidery: Pure silk or tussar silk dupattas have intricate kantha embroidered patterns decorating them. They come in a variety of colours and designs ranging from light and elegant to gorgeous and ornate. A combination of kantha work with tie and dye patterns can also be found on these dupattas.
Dupattas with Baluchari weaving: Plush silk dupattas from Bishnupur (in West Bengal) adorned with gorgeous baluchari patterns woven in rows along the borders of the dupattas. The patterns feature tales and scenes from ancient Indian epics and religious texts. These dupattas are very light-weight and can also be worn as scarves with Western outfits.
Dupattas with Banarasi weaving: Rich, katan silk dupattas from Banaras decorated with gorgeous gold and colourful weavings all over the body. The intricate, hand-woven Banarasi brocade patterns and the plush silk texture give an extravagant look to these handloom dupattas.