Indian potli bags have been in usage since Vedic period for multiple functions. Today, these have become appealing fashion accessories for stylish women as well as for modeling, corporate and promotional events, trade shows etc.

Potli Bags are being used in India since Vedic civilization. During the long journey of several centuries, today these bags have got an appealing and tempting look, which make them a must-have fashion accessory for the style-conscious girls and ladies.

Indian Potli bags in Vedic period:-

Potli was used in Ayurveda in form of today's poultice (cataplasm) for carrying out potali massage. The potli was created filling several herbs in a small cloth. The name of some Ayurvedic medicines are based on potli like Hemgarbh Potli Ras, Ratangarbh Potli Ras etc.

Small potli bags with separate strings were used for carrying money like gold coins. While, Large potli bags were used for carrying personal belongings and their four corners were used to tie the knots.

Indian Potli bags in Ramayana and Mahabharata period:-

As per Ramayana, when Lord Rama went in forest during his exile, his brother Lakshman followed him along with a potli bag, in which he put garments, medicated leaves, fruits and mud of Ayodhya.
According to Mahabharata, Pandavas also used to carry personal belongings in potli bags during exile. Arjuna is also mentioned to hide his potli bag of weapon on a tree, while staying in Virata Kingdom.

Indian Potli bags in medieval period:-

In addition to herbal potli and money potli bags, masala potli (spice potli), dry fruit potli and several other potlis emerged. In sync with foreign trade on the rise, use of these potil bags also increased.
Large as well as small potli bags were used by the travelers, merchants as well as Hindu Saints and Muslim Fakir. They have been portrayed putting a potli under their arm.

Indian Potli bags in modern period:-

Today's Indian potili bags come in mesmerizing look along with the embellishment of embroidery, sequin, mirror, beads, stones, pearls, diamonds, foil work, fringes, tassels on various cloths like silk, velvet, satin etc.
Potli bags are attached with drawstring and also called as drawstring bags, drawstring pouches, potli purses, potli pouches, potli clutch bags, potli sack purse and so on. These also come with zip atop.

These designer potli bags go well with both Indian and western outfits and are superb for wedding and festive parties as well as for modeling, corporate & promotional events, trade shows etc.
The craftsmen of Kutch (Gujarat) make these handcrafted potli bags using eco-friendly material and eye catching artwork.
Popular writer Gulzar gained popularity with serial “Potli Baba Ki Kahani (Baba's Tales)”. In this serial, a story-teller in form of an old man called as 'Baba' carries in his potli bags various stories, which enjoyed the craze of little children.

Potli bags in other countries:-

In Australia and New Zealand, large potli bags are being used as money swag bags.
These swag bags are also used by foot travelers or swagmen for carrying personal belongings especially bedroll.
In these countries, large swag bags are also associated with thieves. Thieves have been depicted carrying plunder or booty in a swag bag hanging from a pole over their shoulder.
In some countries, Santa Claus is also portrayed carrying a potli bag (instead of other type of bags) on his shoulder filled with toys and sweets to distribute on Christmas festival.

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Author's Bio: 

Satyajit Banerjee is an expert writer in handicraft space and writes for, an eCommerce portal for handcrafted and handmade bags. It offers wide range of products across various categories ranging from Fashion Jewellery, Hand-made Bags, Women Apparels, Accessories, Necklaces, Home Décor & Furnishing products and much more.