Banarasi Sarees are definitely neighbours’ envy, owner’s pride!
Banaras– the land of the Ganges, the city with tangible holiness is also most well known for its tryst with history in weaving industry.
The Banarasi Sarees, a family of drapes whose existence dates back to 18th century – are among the finest vintage sarees that are popular not only in India but across the globe. The art of weaving them has been passed on from generation to generation and strived into a strong cottage industry in Banarasi, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts of Uttar Pradesh, India.
Banarasi sarees come in four varieties based on the material used – pure silk (Katan), Organza (Kora) with Zari and silk; Georgette and Shattir. And based on the designs they are categorized as Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tissue and Butidar. One can easily spot a Banarasi saree from the trademark flower and leaf motifs as well as the bootis that are made on the fabric.
Banarasi sarees are an epitome of craftsmanship. Depending on the complexity of design pattern, it takes about 15 days to a month to make a Banarasi Saree in an eloborate work of art. These carefully woven brocades with intricate designs in pink and orange and opulent embroidery come with one of the finest silk weft. Initial years saw Persian motifs fused with Indian designs to create distinct floral patterns which are typical of Banarasi sarees even today. However, evolution of these sarees has seen modern Indian designs making their mark to the suit the demands of the contemporary customer. Undoubtedly, the pride that an Indian woman feels in owning these six yards of silk marvel is unparalleled.
Soak in some Bengali vibe with a fusion of cotton drape with Banarasi silk which is famously called the Tant Baranasi saree. The Tant saree, a traditional fabric from Bengal, has given a casual and sophisticated twist to the Varanasi silk. Famous for their light weight and transparent material, Tant sarees are designed in line with the latest fashion trends. They are available in plethora of vibrant colors and prints.
A Little bit of caress goes a long way. Once you get your hands on a pure Varanasi silk saree, you know it is one of the priced possessions in your wardrobe. So it is important that you go that extra mile to maintain them. It is very important to preserve the saree’s luster and crisp texture. Here are a few tips for maintaining your very own Varanasi silk saree:
- It is always recommended that silk sarees should be dry-cleaned
- If dry cleaning is not an option for you,start by soaking in salt water when you are washing the silk saree for the first time. Then rinse the saree well with cold water
- Avoid using detergents and washing with brush or other harsh material
- Make sure the saree is neatly folded after use. Never place it in a bundle. Also, change the saree fold at least once a month to avoid any zari breakage.
- If the saree gets stained, clean it with cold water or take it to dry cleaners as soon as possible
- Press the saree on medium heat only
Banarasi sarees are typically made for special occasions. They have been an essential part of Indian brides’ wedding wardrobe since time immemorial. However, do not look for second opinion to wear it to your best friend’s wedding, a traditional gathering or for your ethnic day in office. In their quest to stay in competition with the modern designer sarees, weavers have come up with contemporary designs, subtle work of embroidery and use of light weight materials in Varanasi sarees which is making their presence felt everywhere and how!!
Getting the right silk is not enough, get the style right too. Women are now willing to experiment with their look more than ever. Apart from the style of draping itself, you can add a dash of contemporary style with your choice of accessories and innovative blouse designs while still excuding the old world charm that a saree brings. Try modern draping techniques moving away from the regular Nivi style like reverse draping, rajrani style or a neck drape. Accessorize with chic statement necklace and peep toes or shimmer sandals for the feet. Add some twist with a belt around the waist. Go for glam with velvet, netted or sleeveless blouse. If your saree is light on design go high on blouse work with detailed modern sequins in gold or silver. A high collar neck blouse in a contrast color is a great move too. Ensure that the blouse is well fitted and shows off the prints and patterns while you are going from conventional to contemporary.