Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Sharara and Gharara

Every Pakistani woman loves the sharara. It would be a mistake not to own one, not just in Pakistan but also in the entire South Asian region. Having none could mean no weddings or special occasions. And we all know the craze about weddings and festivities in these regions. But did you know the sharara has a cousin called the gharara? Many people do not differentiate between the two. They think the sharara is the gharara. The truth is they are very similar though they have their differences. In this article, let’s explore the differences to help you identify them the next time you’re making your purchase. 


Sharara refers to a Pakistani outfit that is loose flared. It consists of a long or short tunic known as Kurti, a dupatta or veil, and a pair of wide-legged pants.  The pants are free-flowing and not lurched at the knee. 

Sharara is of Lebanese origin but traces its roots to the Hamdan tribe in Yemen. The sharara originated among the Mughal royalty and came to India with the arrival of the Mughals.

In the 1970s and 1980s, they were popularized by Bollywood actresses such as Meena Kumari and Kareena Kapoor Khan in the 2000s. It is mainly worn by Pakistani and Muslim women all over the world.

Pure gold and silver were initially used to adorn the outfits. Currently, artisans use zari, sequins, stones, zardozi, and beads. The materials used are silk, net, velvet, chiffon, and cotton.

They are not everyday wear and are worn commonly for weddings and other special occasions.

With different ways to adorn the sharara, it remains a trendsetter in today’s fashion.


Gharara refers to a Lucknowi traditional outfit. It’s worn by women in the Indian subcontinent, notably Pakistan and the Hindu belt of modern-day India. It is made of a short mid-thigh length Kurti, a dupatta, and a pair of wide-legged pants. These pants lurch at the knee so that they flare out dramatically. The knee area has a band known as the gota in Urdu to hide the joint and is often embroidered in Zari, sequins, Zardozi, beads, and stone. Gharara is made from over 12 meters of fabric mainly silk brocade.

It was introduced by the Nawabs in Utah Pradesh of the Uwadh region. It was every-day wear during the early 19th and 20th centuries by Muslim women of the Hindi belt. They were also popular in Pakistan and Bangladesh in the 1950s and 1960s with popular figures like Fatima Jinnah and Begum Liaquat Ali wearing them.

They are popular wedding attires among the Muslim women of the Hindi belt, Pakistan, and Bangladesh regions.

They also come in a variety of designs today.

Similarities between Sharara and Gharara

  • Both the sharara and gharara are popular outfits in India, Pakistan, and South Asia
  • Both the sharara and gharara are common in the Muslim and Hindu cultures
  • Both the sharara and gharara are worn mainly at weddings and other special occasions
  • Both require large amounts of fabric, requiring 8-12 meters of fabric
  • Both the sharara and gharara are decorated with zari, zardozi, sequins, stones, and bead-work
  • Both were fashionable in the 1960s and 1970s but have since resurfaced
  • Both the sharara and gharara were popularized by models and celebrities in Bollywood
  • Both the sharara and gharara date back to the Mughal era in the 16th century.

Differences between Sharara and Gharara

Place of origin

The sharara is of Lebanese origin while the gharara originated in the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh, introduced by the Nawabs.


The sharara is a loose-flared Pakistanian outfit that consists of a long or short-length Kurti, a dupatta, and a pair of wide-legged pants. The pants are free-flowing and continuous with the dress. They do not lurch at the knee.

The gharara, on the other hand, refers to a lucknowi outfit worn by Indian women notably Pakistanian and Hindus. It consists of a short Kurti, a dupatta, and wide-legged pants that are lurched at the knee.


The sharara is fitted at the waist and flares down gloriously while the gharara is designed close to the body from the waist until the knee where an extra fabric is added and allowed to flare down dramatically.

Presence of a gota

The sharara lacks a gota (joint at the knee). The gharara, on the other hand, has a gota which is a joint at the knee area where the flaring begins. An ornate silk band is used to hide the gota. 

Kurta length                                                                                                             

The sharara consists of a long or short kameez/Kurti while the gharara consists of a short Kurti

Sharara vs. Gharara: Comparison Table 

Sharara vs. Gharara: Conclusion

Fashion never gets old. Some things get better with age while some don’t age at all. Whether you are shopping for a wedding dress, Eid, or any festivity or just going out to see a friend, the sharara and gharara are perfect options for you. And the best part is you will still look chic and fashionable in these traditional outfits as they are both good comfort outfits. The decor and style will be different for different occasions, and different occasions might call for different color choices. But the choice between the sharara and the gharara depends on you. That is the occasion, and the style you wish to rock. 

Now that you have the information, you are better-placed to choose on your next visit to the store.


Is a sharara Indian or Pakistani?


What is a gharara dress?

A gharara dress is a lucknowi traditional outfit worn by women in the Indian continent.  It is made of a short Kurti, a dupatta, and wide-legged pants that are lurched at the knee.

Which color is best for sharara?

Neutral colors that include white, grey, binge, brown are best for a sharara.

How many types of sharara are there?

Two types: sharara and gharara

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References :

[0]Savita Khanna. Milestones Social Science – 3 with Map Workbook. Vikas Publishing House. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=cucvDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA109&dq=Differences+between+Sharara+and+Gharara&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi4uqSYyoD0AhVFExoKHVhZAbEQ6AF6BAgKEAI#v=onepage&q=Differences%20between%20Sharara%20and%20Gharara&f=false

[1]Valerie Burnham Oliver. Fashion and Costume in American Popular Culture: A Reference Guide, Volume 45. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=10UuwYcg9hMC&pg=PA36&dq=indian+clothing+styles&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjc1-DiyoD0AhUNy4UKHY1oDOIQ6AF6BAgKEAI#v=onepage&q=indian%20clothing%20styles&f=false

[2]Emma Tarlo. Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 1996. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=8wyM5heEc9gC&printsec=frontcover&dq=indian+clothing+styles&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=indian%20clothing%20styles&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gharara.jpg

[4]Image credit: Bollywood Hungama: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kriti_Sanon_walks_for_Sunil_Jewellers_at_IIJW_2015_(1).jpg

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