This blog is in continuation of my post ‘The Attire Of Elegance Sari'
There is hardly any Indian woman whose wardrobe does not include Banarsi sarees. Even the trousseau of a bride is incomplete without this much-coveted possession and rarely fails to flatter a woman, making her feel delicate and feminine. Banarasi Saree holds a unique status in the world of fashion also. These beautiful & traditional Banarsi sarees comes from the land of Varanasi (Kashi) , the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Often referred to as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. These few lines by Mark Twain say it all: "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together".Benaras or Varanasi has the pride of being the one of the most famous Handloom centers in the entire world. In fact it is among the few centers in the world that has painstakingly preserved the ancient tradition of hand weaving.
This tradition is very old and none can rightly predict the date when it was first started in Benaras. But it has continued to be passed down from one generation to another and continues to flourish. The weavers are mainly Muslim and are known as 'Karigars' that means artist. The Mughal era was the time when the fame and recognition of Banarsi silk sarees of India reached its pinnacle. Even the motifs underwent a change and the sari saw new designs, resulting from the combination of Indian and Persian patterns.
Created in eye-catching shades and pattern, the Banarasi sarees of India are so famous today that they are exported all over the world. There are following four basic varieties of Banarasi silk sari:
• Pure Silk Saree (Katan)
• Organza Saree (Kora), with Zari And Silk
• Georgette Saree
• Shattir Saree
Weaved on the power loom, normally three people are required to make one Varanasi sari. Each Banarasi silk sari can take 15 days to six months to complete depending upon the intricacy of the designs. Typically, three weavers are involved in the creation of the saree. One of them weaves the saree, while the second one is engaged at the revolving ring, where bundles are created. The traditional Banarasi sarees are basically made of pure and fine silk that used to be imported from China. Of late the fine silk comes from South India mainly from Bangalore. Traditional designs include; chameli (Jasmine), panna hazar (Thousand emeralds), genda buti (marigold flower), paan buti (betel nut leaf), tircha (diagonal stripes) or the sought after konia or a corner-motif with a mango buta or flower. At the commencement period of Banarasi sarees, the artisans used to embellish the sarees with threads made of original gold and silver and were used by the people of royal families. The designs were elaborate and intricate as they were the royal attires. Gradually, the zari and simple threads that resemble the original gold and silver threads came into reputation. The artisans started creating motifs and designs out of those threads and it was easy for the common people to afford the royal and traditional Banarasi sarees. The Banarasi saree apparel is also exported all over the world.
Banarasi sarees are no doubt expensive due to its material, thread, design and meticulous labor involved but even then it is a must have possession for every Indian woman.
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