The wedding trousseau of an Indian bride is never complete without a Banarasi Saree. Banarasi sari is one of those few Indian attires that have retained their alluring magic for centuries. The reason being, that these saris not only symbolize tradition but are epitome of rich finesse and exquisite workmanship.
Banarasi Saris get their name from Banaras, local name for the city of Varanasi, as a majority of them are made in the districts surrounding Banaras, Uttar Pradesh. A Banarasi sari is known for its gold and silver brocade, fine silk and intricate embroidery. The weaving of Banarasi sari involves teamwork. Ideally three people are engaged in making the Sari. To make a single saree, at least three people are involved while the time taken can be from 15 days to six months depending upon the designs being made on these sarees.
The materials used for making them include pure silk, organza, georgette and shattir. The crux of the Banarasi Saree is the use of gold and silver threads to weave the motifs. Since Banarasi saris became more popular during the Mughal era, most motifs on these saris are a beautiful blend of Indian designs and Persian motifs. Other distinctive features are heavy gold work, compact weaving, metallic visual effects, rich pallus, jaal (a net like pattern) and mina work.
Banarasi Saris come in various styles including Jamdani, Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tissue and Butidar. Apart from the ever popular traditional designs, many designers are nowadays experimenting with designs and patterns to churn out attractive Banarasi saris and accommodate the modern demand for these saris. And that has opened the vistas for bringing in more variations in this ever loved sari treasure and has increased its popularity multi-fold.
Because of the fine material, thread used, intricate designs and meticulous labor involved, Banarasi saris are exquisite and usually expensive. But that has not stopped Indian women from making it their proud possession. From the good old status of being a traditional bridal wear to being the most coveted attire today for festivities, weddings and parties, Banarasi sari has surely come a long way and has not lost even a drop of its popularity or charisma.