Potli Bags: little bundles of embellishment.
From the viewpoint of convenience, every Indian outfit should be complimented with a small bag in which to carry your necessities such as your money, lipstick,mobile phone etc. From the bride herself to others, one such bag which is used very frequently is the much talked about Potli bag. Usually small in size, these little pouches can be made to match a particular outfit and have the same colors and embroidery or contrasting pieces can be matched and teamed up with your Indian wear for a more varied effect. Rather then carrying a standard designer bag, such pieces also express a certain amount of individuality and sophistication in fashion sensibility. They speak of a woman who has moved beyond labels and is able to marry tradition with style.
Historically, Potli bags have been around in India since the Vedic civilization. Mentions of these bags have been found in ancient literature and references are to be found in many paintings and artworks as well. Such bags were also used in the Ramayana and Mahabharata period. When Lord Rama went in forest on his exile for fourteen years, his brother Lakshman accompanied him along with a potli bag containing clothes, medicinal leaves, fruits, water and mud of Ayodhya.
In the Mahabharat, Arjuna used a potli bag to hide his weapons in a tree, and the Pandavas carried their personal weapons in such bags during their exile. Sudama was also known to carry a Potli of rice when he went to meet lord Krishna. Massages given with Potlis filled with herbs were famous during the Vedic period, a tradition that continues to be popular even today.
For the modern Indian women, these bags have increased their span of use from merely being a utility to a stylish fashion accessory. Many designer bags can be found made of various materials such as silk, brocade linen, velvet etc.
The embellishments can range from Gujarat embroideries from Kutch, sequins, Zari, mirror work, beadwork, stonework, Chickankari and Phulkari to and endless list of traditional and modern embroideries. Adornment to the strings in the form of tassels, fringes, shells, pom poms and ghongroo bells further add a look of attention grabbing style to the Potlis. The closure for these bags is traditionally a drawstring, but for the sake of convenience in modern times zips and buttons are added to increase the utility .In Australia and New Zealand, large potli bags are being used as money swag bags.
These swag bags are also used by foot travelers or swagmen for carrying personal belongings especially bedroll.
In some countries, Santa Claus is also portrayed carrying a potli bag (instead of other type of bags) on his shoulder filled with toys and sweets to distribute on Christmas festival.
At Pookaari we have a special section of Potli style bags from various designers such as Aiyana, Karmic Kabira, Plumeria and Seetam. These bags are available in a varied variety of styles and colors to match your ethnic wedding outfits and can later be used with indo-western dresses or beach wear as well.
However you choose to use them, Potli bags are effective was to marry style and convenience in a stylish and memorable fashion.
References for historic and cultural facts: www.articlesbase.com