One of India’s biggest legacy is its clothing, fabrics, and iconic patterns. The Banarasi saree, with its roots stretching back over 2,000 years, is one such symbolic legacy of India’s Handloom. The opulent brocade work from Varanasi has come a long way in recent years and has won the hearts of women throughout the country.
The saree is famous for its vibrant varieties, playful colors, and bold zari work; but beyond that, Banarasi sarees come from one of the holiest places in India. This symbolic outfit represents a sacred and special connection, adding to its popularity.
Origins of Banarasi silk sarees
Banarasi sarees originate in the city of Varanasi, which was also called Banaras. The saree dates back to the Mughal era. The silk was brought to India by the Mughal Empire, and the details and work in these sarees often show off a beautiful blend of the two cultures.
In the past, Banarasi silks were a symbol of abundance and were often adorned as a bridal offer, owing to the golden and silk work. Real threads of gold and silk would be woven into the borders and pallus, marking a rich outfit. Today, the sheer number of varieties ensures that one can find a Banarasi saree for almost any occasion!
Key features of Banarasi silk
The Banarasi sarees are made from one of the finest silk blends available in India and are usually heavy with rich, elegant embroidery. They are ideal for parties, weddings, and festivals and are available in a wide spectrum of shades. Traditionally, you can find a Banarasi saree made from materials like Organza, Georgette saree, Shatir, and Pure silk. To add on, materials like satin, jangla, zari brocades, and more are used to weave the patterns.
It is common to find interesting geometric, floral, and animal designs on Banarasi sarees. You can also find birds and human figures woven in. You will find Mughal and Persian motifs used to create detailed flower patterns as well. Today, not all Banarasi sarees are made from real gold and thread so they can be affordable to all.
It takes around fifteen to thirty days to finish weaving a single Banarasi saree and could take longer depending on intricacy and complexity. Three weavers usually work together on this saree, where one weaves the saree, the second weaver handles the revolving ring, and the third works on border designs.
The fabric used in making the Banarasi saree
The main fabrics used in making the Banarasi saree include georgette, shattir, Katan or pure silk, and Organza. Georgette is a light fabric that is finely woven with crepe yarn, and both warp and weft are used to weave it. Designer sarees often use georgette as the primary material.
Shattir fabrics are used to create contemporary Banarasi designs and are the sole fabric used to create such exclusive designs. Organza is a rich fabric and is interwoven by warp and weft. This material is used to weave beautiful brocade patterns. The use of gold and silver-coated threads to weave around the silk yarns is what produces a zari brocade.
Lastly, Katan is a plain, pure, hand-woven silk that makes the finest silk sarees. In the olden days, these sarees were completely hand-woven due to their fine and delicate nature. Today, the motifs and patterns can be woven with powerful yet delicate looms as well.
The Banarasi Saree is a jewel of Indian Legacies and is a crowd favorite. Almost every Indian woman across the country owns at least one of these fine sarees. Due to global recognition, fashion shows, and designer Banarasi sarees, the once traditional saree has now also taken on a blend of contemporary in the modern era. So if you’re looking to buy a saree, the Banarasi silk is something to consider!