Motifs Speak- The Veldhaari Design

Motifs Speak- The Veldhaari Design

Shobitam is proud to present to you, a new series titled, ‘Motifs Speak’! In these blog posts, we examine the mystical motifs that feature prominently on sarees. We hope to dive into the history and evolution of these patterns and designs, and explore their rich heritage. Shobitam hand picks the most significant traditional Indian motifs, striving to create impactful discourse around Indian sarees and build awareness among a broader global audience.

At Shobitam, we carefully consider and curate our content catalogue, both for our products and our blog! The motif for the week is the Veldhaari Design!

Characteristics of the Veldhaari Design:



The Veldhaari pattern is most accurately described as a continuously wavy strip of thread which is festooned with dots etched into the grooves of the curves. This creates uniformly wide strips which adorn the body or border of the saree. It is a very popular design, featured prominently and regularly on a variety of sarees, but especially Kanjivarams. The Veldhaari patterns are some of the oldest lasting designs in the history of Indian ethnic wear. They have been historically favored by artisans and master craftsmen, and have been regularly rendered on sarees for centuries.


The Veldhaari design is convenient to craft while also being minimalistically elegant. This uniquely distinguishes it as a firm favorite of artisans and patrons alike! It is a timelessly classic design which makes an understated, but instant impact!


Mythological Symbolism of the Veldhaari:


The Veldhaari design has deep mythological symbolism associated with it. ‘Vel’ refers to a divine javelin, or spear, in the Tamil language, while ‘Dhaari’ refers to one who wields an object. Literally, ‘Veldhaari’ translates to ‘One who wields the divine spear’. In this case, the ‘One’ is Lord Murugan, or Kartikeya. Lord Murugan is the God of War, and an important deity in the religious culture of the communities of the region. Spears used by ancient Tamils in battle were also referred to as Vels.

The long and wavy patterns of the Veldhaari designs represent the spear of Lord Murugan. This spear is supposed to be so long in its reach that it is never ending, which is imitated by the continuous length of the Veldhaari pattern.

Veldhaari Design on Kanjivaram Silk


What Do Veldhaari Designs Most Prominently Feature?

In most cases, Veldhaari patterns adorn the body of the saree. They are perfect for subtly disrupting the monotony of block patterns, and retain an understated charm without attracting garish attention to themselves.This quality, combined with the relative ease with which they can quickly be rendered, makes Veldhaari patterns a favorite which have withstood the test of time.

Often, Veldhaari etchings can also be found on the borders of sarees. In this case, they tend to be lustrous and flamboyant, a long shot from their relative modesty when etched on the body. Intricate and glossy zari work is used to etch bold Veldhaari patterns on saree borders. These designs are painstakingly rendered in an elaborate and stunningly detailed fashion.

The Veldhaari patterns most usually feature in Kanjivaram sarees. Together, they represent a naturally complementary pairing of fabric and design, an effortless confluence of elegance. Of all the patterns most prominently featured on Kanjivarams, such as the Mutthu Kattam, Koorai Kattam and Kottadi, the Veldhaari retains its importance and continues to flourish unabashedly!

At Shobitam, we pride ourselves on helping our customers live out our ethos to “Look Good. Feel Good. Do Good” by sourcing authentic sarees directly from the traditional weaving communities. This helps our patrons both adorn genuine fabrics, while helping support traditional artisanry! Explore from a wide variety of authentic Kanjivaram sarees beautifully displaying the Veldhaari designs, from our product catalog!