The Weaver's Story - Part 1 : Vipul Bhai, A Weaver from the Ghats of Banaras.
Coming from the small galis of Banaras, evolving through the rule of the Mughals- is the craft of making a Banarasi Saree. Zari and Brocade materials perhaps the hallmarks of the city of Varanasi.
Vipul Bhai, one such Banarasi Karigar tells us about the history of this intricate and prudent craft of creating and manufacturing Banarasi Sarees. He developed his interest in weaving at a very young age. He talks about his grandfather who was one of the silk weavers who has faced a lot of hardships while relocating from Gujarat to Kasi in the 17th century and brought the handloom industry to Varanasi. The skill of making a simple cloth of silk into an intricate and valuable saree has been passed down to the younger generations by the ancestors who were once connoisseurs of the Indian clothing culture and handloom industry.
Vipul Bhai says, weaving for him is like healing. He keeps knitting reality in his tapestry. Hence, behind every motif, every design, there is a story of its own. He quotes; “For a wearer, it may just be an attire, but for an artisan, it is an asset.” In appreciation of the rather skillful and sporadic craft of creating these silk sarees, Vipul Bhai talks about the distinct features that help a Banarasi saree stand out. Complex botanical and foliate, kalga and bel, and a jhallar can usually be identified on the borders of a Banarasi Saris, today. The patterns and the motifs on the sarees are often the determining factors of the names kept of the saree, to name a few- Immaculate silk (Katan), Organza (Kora). They are one of the finest conventional sarees in India and exceptionally overwhelming due to its wealthy weaving which makes them perfect for parties, celebrations, and weddings.