The Lehenga Choli, also known as Lehnga, is a three-piece attire comprising the lehenga, a long Indian skirt worn by Indian women across India. Secured at the waist with the mid-riff left bare, lehenga is usually worn on ceremonial occasions, festivals and weddings. It is generally embroidered, printed or embellished and is worn with a fitting blouse called ‘choli’. Additionally, the lehenga-choli is paired with a ‘dupatta’ which acts as a sari pallu and covers the mid-riff and head, depending on how one wishes to drape it, going by the occasion.
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Lehenga Choli became popular as an attire amongst women mainly in North India, during the 10th century. The lehenga evolved through fine craftsmanship with the arrival of Mughals in India and their subsequent rule from the 12th to the 18th century. The original, ancient form of lehenga was mainly stitched from cotton, after which royal fabrics and embroideries like silk & brocade were used, making lehenga further evolve into royal attire.
The intricate stitching of a lehenga choli dupatta set or a ghagra choli takes about a minimum of twenty days depending on factors like the fabric, embellishments. Hand-stitched, hand-woven Lehengas end up taking longer owing to the detailing that goes into it. Often, communities exclusively into designing lehengas have clear tasks allotted to them, which forms part of the whole making process.