One of the finest sarees of India, they are popular for their gold or silver zari that makes you feel like a traditional diva.
1. Thank the Mughals.
Though Banarasi cotton is mentioned in the Buddhist texts dating 500 to 800 CE, Banarasi fabric grew in popularity during the period of Mughal Emperor Akbar with the influence of Persian motifs. These sarees derive a lot of their intricate designs from intertwining floral and foliage motifs, kalga and bel, jhallar at the outer edge of border which come from Persia.
2. Banarasi Sarees have their own GI rights
Geographical Indication rights means the law identifies a particular type of product with the region where it is produced. In simple language, this law ensures that no state other than the 6 identified districts of Uttar Pradesh which are Varanasi, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts, can be legally sold under the name of Banaras saree and brocade.
3. The Varieties
Banarasi sarees are made in varieties ranging from pure silk to Georgette. Pure silk is called Katan; Organza is made from zari and silk; Georgette, and Shattir. Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tissue and Butidar are the varieties in designs.
4. The Gharanas
Just like music, weavers of Banarasi Sarees have their own Gharanas. Each Gharana specializes in its own kind of weave.
From northern Varanasi, we have the Mauval Gharana that specializes in Shikargarh designs, mainly comprising of Konia and ari jhari.
The central southern parts have blessed us with the Banaraswal Gharana which is more open to design experimentation and has a pan-India trade.
5. The symbolism
The Butidar saree is a paradigm of how various cultures have made their way into the weaves of Banaras. These sarees are made with gold and silver threads, showing the convergence of rivers Ganga and Jamuna, who are said to have black and white waters.
6. What the brides wear.
Any wedding trousseau is incomplete without a Banarasi Tissue saree. Gold zari is used to weave beautifully patterned lotuses, shown to be floating in the water. Intricate cutwork makes it appear as if drops of water are falling into the pond.
7. It needs resuscitation.
Although one of the most beloved cultural items of India, it is losing itself because of the mass produced thus cheap, China-made look-alike sarees flooding the market.
Apart from this, the rampant power cut forces the electrically powered looms to stay idle, which delays production.
Do your bit to support these industries by purchasing fabrics originally manufactured and directly sourced from weavers. Visit luxurionworld.com to know more.