The holy city of Banaras is a touristed destination for spiritual travelers. The first few things that comes to our mind when we think of Banaras / Varanasi are its temples, Ghats, people taking holy dip in Ganga, vocalizing sounds of mantras and prayers etc. Apart from all these apparition things another thing that makes Banaras very popular is the Banarasi Sarees. It is considered a royal drape that compliments every Indian woman’s wardrobe. If you want to make a woman feel feminine, elegant and delicate at the same time then just gift her with a beautiful Banarasi Sari done up in gold and silk! These saris are not just famous in India alone, they have gained overseas fan following as well! (thanks to the rising NRI community and Bollywood Movies).
These Banarasi sarees are the result of some unusual an nonparallel example of fine craftsmanship which was brought to India by Moughals. During moughal era there existed some talented Muslim craftsmen who were experts in intricate art of weaving and designing. This was the time when sari weaving art was on a rise and Persian motifs were being used with the Indian traditional attire.
Majority of these beautiful Banarasi sarees come from the cottage industries of Banaras now known as Varanasi. Varanasi, today is a renowned saree weaving destination where saree weaving has become a family tradition where most of the members of the family are experts in designing the intricate motifs onto a banarasi saree. The silk for Banarasi saree unlike china silk is quite expensive and comes especially from South India, mostly Bangalore.
The process of weaving a Banarasi saree involves 3 people. One is weaver the other is the person who revolves the ring to create bundles and the third one is the motif artist. The weaver creates basic texture on the handloom or power loom. The designing work starts later. Motif artist creates colorful sketches on paper. After the final selection, punch cards are created. For a single design it takes several prof-iterated cards which are knitted together with different colored threads.
A normal Banarasi saree involves 5600 thread wires with 45 inch width. It takes about 15 days or a month or even longer for a Banarasi sari to get completed depending upon the design and pattern! The Banarasi saree is then adorned with intricate embroidery designs known as Zardozi is favorite in every age group.