Potli means a cotton bag. The history of uses of potli bags dates back to the Vedic civilization. It was used to carry utility things in the olden days, which now become fashion accessories of the modern Indian women. A simple cloth bag has changed to a fascinating look along with the embellishments. Its uses were traced back to famous Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Ramayana, when Lord Rama went in the forest on his exile for fourteen years accompanied by his brother Lakshman, who carried a potli bag containing mud of Ayodhya, clothes, and fruits. The potli bags were used in Mahabharata by Pandavas during exile to take their personal belongings. It had an essential role during the Vedic period. Potli was also used for massage during Vedic period. For potli massage, a bag filled with various Ayurvedic medicinal herbs was used for conducting massage. Later, small potlis with drawstrings were used by rich people to carry money in the form of gold coins. Larger potlis were used to carry things, clothes, and essential items. Most communities and travelers use potli bags and pouches of various sizes.
Potli bags have existed in India for a long time. The traditional simple potli bag has transformed with time. Potli bags are essentially made out of rich cloths such as silk, satin, or velvet. These are embellished with embroidery, beads, pearls, and mirrors. Typical potli bag designs vary from Bhopal beaded potli bags; Kutch embroidered polti bags to Benaras potli bags. Now a day’s potli bags gain popularity as a fashion accessory and are comes with innovative designs. It is used very commonly in marriages by Indian women to match their attire. Indian potli bags are not only famous in India but also in the international market due to their mesmerizing appearance. Potli purses, potli clutch bags, potli pouches, and the potli sack purse are new looks of potli bags. These bags suits all kinds of attire, right from traditional Indian attire to indo-western dresses. Being lightweight and eco-friendly, these are great in demand. However, artisans are coming out with innovative designs. Ms. Devika is a polti bag-making artisan from Panji, Goa. She is a master in making different kinds of bags. Various types of materials are used for making bags, such as cotton, jute, and satin. Goa is a place of tourist destination. Its beaches, nightlife, place of worship, and handicrafts attract a large number of tourists.