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A Tamil couple c. 1945; the wife is wearing a madisar sari.

The Madisar or Koshavam (Tamil: மடிசார்) is a way in which the sari is worn mostly by the womenfolk in ancient India after her marriage. Later it was identified to one particular community, the Tamil Brahmins. Today, to suit modern trends and yet accommodate traditions, the madisar is worn by women on select festive occasions and religious ceremonies.[1] Normally saris are six yards in length but since the madisar is worn in a different style, one requires a nine-yard sari to wear it. It is a very important part of the Iyer and Iyengar culture. Both Iyer and Iyengar Brahmin wear madisars for all important occasions in their lives, starting with marriage, followed by Seemantham (form of a baby shower), all important Puja, and death ceremonies.[2]

Iyers and Iyengars wear Madisars differently. Iyers drape the Pallu (the layer of sari which comes over one's shoulder) over the right shoulder while Iyengars wear it over the left shoulder.Conventionally, Madisar is maroon or red in colour, nowadays Madisar is being worn in other colours according to people's wishes.

Madisars are available in a variety of materials such as silk, cotton, cotton-silk blends, polyester-cotton blends, etc. These days a version of the madisar is also tied using the 6-yard sari. Though not as traditional, it is easier and more convenient to wear. Actually Madisar is made up of two words. Madi is the portion of the long pallu which is folded into two ,lengthwise and tucked away at the back and this prevents it from slipping from the shoulder . The other word is Thaar. It means bringing a portion of dhothy or saree from front ,between the legs and tucking it at the small of back. This will make the dhothy or saree like a pajama and helps free movement of legs. Also serves as a pair of pants. This word has now become 'Saar '. Koshavam means pleats. In Iyer Madisar there will be a bunch of pleats at the back of one leg below the knee. Iyengar Madisar is Not called Koshavam . I am Saroja Chakravarty an octogenarian Iyengar lady happy that people want to know about Indian customs.


  1. ^ Usha Raman. "The Whole Nine Yards". 
  2. ^ "Madisar Pudavai". 5 February 2013.