History

People in India wore mostly cotton clothing. India was the first place where cotton was grown, even as early as 2500 BC in the Harappan period.

By the Aryan period, women wore one very long piece of cloth called a sari, that they wrapped around themselves in different ways. The word "sari" comes from a Sanskrit word that just means cloth. Saris are first mentioned in the Vedas, about 600 BC. Rich women wore saris made of silk, but most women wore cotton ones.

There were many different ways of draping saris to dress up women wore them like skirts with a top part thrown over their shoulder or worn over their heads as a veil. Working women often pulled their sari up between their legs to make a sort of pants. Women who were fighting with the army tucked in the top part of the sari in the back, to free up their arms for fighting. Most saris were five or six yards long, although some saris were nine yards. Younger women generally wore brightly colored saris, but widows and other women in mourning wore only white ones.

Men also wore one long piece of cloth called the dhoti, which was generally white. They wrapped the dhoti (DOE-tee) around their legs to make sort of pants like the working women. Dhotis though were shorter so they didn't have the part that covered the chest and shoulders. Men also often wore long cotton cloths wrapped around their heads as turbans.

The coir manufacturing industry producing coir mats, matting and other floor coverings, was started in India on a factory basis, over a hundred years ago when the first factory was set up in Alleppey in 1859 by the Late Mr. James Darragh, an adventurous Irish born American national. Enterprising Indians followed the trail blazed by this foreigner.