In the past, Banarasi silk sarees were only worn by royalty. Today, however, the intricate designs and diversified patterns pay homage to the rich cultural heritage and traditions. The Mughal Dynasty introduced Banarasi silk to our country, known for its intricate weaving and hand-crafted design. For instance, the Banarasi silk of today includes two different philosophies and cultures.
Attributes of the Banarasi Sarees
Although Banarasi Silk Sarees is produced primarily in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. However, despite their rich embroidery, these dresses are very hefty, making them perfect for weddings and festivals. There are three variations of the Baranasi Silk Saree, namely organza banarasi silk saree, Georgette, and Katan pure silk. Banarasi silk sarees have a variety of styles such as cutwork, jangla, brocades, and resham butidar that boast intricate designs.
Still, to this day, Persian motifs are incorporated into saree designs to illustrate distinct flower patterns. Traditionally, at first, Banarasi dresses were embellished with gold and silver threads for royalty. Meanwhile, to make the six yards more affordable for everyone, dyed colour threads are being used instead of real ones. Although this saree features eye-catching patterns and motifs, it also comes with woven shades of handloom fabric.
The Making of Banarasi Silk Sarees
A Banarasi handloom saree generally takes 15 to 30 days to weave, depending on its complexity, motifs, and embellishments. Therefore, creating a Banarasi silk saree requires teamwork as it is traditionally made by three artisans.
In the first bundling stage, the designer sketches the designs. Next, we define the colour scheme and concept, after which we create the planning board. After the final design has been selected, many punched cards are created to accommodate one specific design.
Finally, a variety of colours and thread combinations are used to weave the perforated cards on the loom. The cards are then paddled systematically to ensure that most of the weaves hoist the right colours and patterns.
The Designs Used
Banarasi silk sarees fall into several categories, including tissue, butidar, cutwork, tanchoi, and jangal.
- Hand-woven tissue sarees feature golden Zari brocade to give the saree a sheen. Its borders and pallu feature hand-woven indigenous patterns.
- A Butidar saree is woven with silver, silk, and gold threads. The darker shade of gold threads juxtaposed with the silver threads has earned the pattern a name: Ganga-Jumuna.
- Cutwork sarees are a more cost-effective version of Jamdani sarees. Cutwork uses floral and leaf motifs on plain textures.
- The Tanchoi sarees are handwoven in colourful warps and wefts with motifs of paisleys. The border of these sarees has patterns constructed by crisscrossing yarns.
- The Jangal saree is hand-woven with colourful silk threads and is decorated with intricate designs of the Jangal motifs, which makes it a luxurious fabric with detailed designs and is ideal for wedding functions.
Variations in Fabric
Banarasi silk sarees are specifically available in four main fabric varieties: Georgette, Shattir, Organza with zari and silk, and Katan.
- Georgette is a well-woven lightweight fabric made from crepe yarn interwoven with two different warps and wefts. It is commonly used to design Indo-western dresses and designer sarees.
- Shattir fabric is the sole fabric used to create aesthetic Banarasi saree designs that are contemporary and exclusive.
- Organza fabric is a lavishly woven fabric with attractive brocade patterns woven by warp and weft.
- Pure hand-woven silk threads make Katan the perfect fabric to make silk sarees. A Katan saree has simple motifs and patterns that are hand-woven using the traditional handloom, but today, this fabric is also produced by using rapid looms and power looms for a faster production speed.
In conclusion, the Banarasi silk saree is a classic heritage handloom that has distinguished itself over the years. The Banarasi saree comes with unique patterns, intricate designs, and rich motifs and remains famous worldwide for its beauty.
This handloom weave is currently the hottest trend for weddings as sarees or even lehengas. Hence, you can wear them for any festival as well as in your bridal trousseau. Banarasi silk dresses have been a staple for brides for years, and celebrities and popular personalities still wear them for special occasions. In short, the Banarasi silk saree is a wardrobe must-have.