While talking about the Indian fashion industry, the rich heritage of Indian sarees deserves a due mention. One saree that weaves the tale of opulence and richness is the benarasi saree. These sarees often feature luminous texture and brocade details that make this saree a piece taken out of regality. Deeply rooted in tradition, the benarasi sarees are mostly used for bridal wear. The silk fabric and zari motifs add a dash of luxe to any bridal look making the bride an epitome of elegance. What makes these sarees pricey is the sheer amount of hours spent on hand-weaving one piece and the high-quality raw material used. As we talk about the benarasi sarees today, let’s look at the history, process of weaving, market significance, etc.
The rich heritage of Indian sarees dates back to 1000 B.C. The benarasi silk was brought to India by the Mughal rulers because of its intricate weaving process and craftsmanship. Previously, the fabric was imported from China but today, as we have become self-reliant, we source the fabric from our own nation which is the southern part of India. Making this saree a true piece of Indian culture is its mention in the different Vedas.
An ample amount of work goes behind the making of the benarasi saree. Though it takes 15 to 30 days to weave a single saree, the amount of manpower invested in one saree also depends on the intricacy of the designs. Did you know benarasi saree has almost 5600 thread wires which are 45 inches wide? The process generally involves 3 weavers, one who handles the loom, one who weaves the body of the saree, and one who helps with the border design.
The benarasi sarees are made in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. There are mainly four different types of benarasi saree namely, organza, Georgette, pure silk, and shattir. Several other variations include satin borders, jangla, brocade, tanchoi, cutwork, resham butidar, etc. The motifs featured on these sarees often reflect the history or societal inspirations.
4. Market significance
Being a rich and opulent piece from our traditional wear, the benarasi sarees rule the wedding scape of the nation. These sarees are considered auspicious for the brides and hence rule the weddings. Comparatively expensive, the hand-woven sarees are a true embodiment of luxury whereas, the advent of the power loom has negated the sense of exclusivity from this traditional piece.
This exquisite piece from the rich heritage of India still rules the fashion industry. Today, the benarasi silk is going through a transformation to become a part of the modern wardrobe. We see brocade pantsuits and benarasi silk kaftans coming up in many designer collections. Even as the consumer mood and demand change, it is needless to say that the fabric will find a way to seep into your style.