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Not all saris are created equal. In the world of Indian saris, the Banarasi Sarees is in a class of its own. In fact, a few years ago, the Banarasi sari was granted Geographical Indication rights, which distinguishes a product as originating from a particular region, where superior quality, excellence, renown, and distinct characteristics are associated with that specific location. This means that, much like Champagne must come from the Champagne region of France in order for it to be actually called Champagne, a sari must meet certain characteristics and be produced within the six districts of Uttar Pradesh in order for it to be rightfully called a Banarasi Sari.

Sea-Blue Pure Cotton Hand Woven Bangail Tant Saree With Unstitched Blouse

So, what makes the Banarasi Sari so special? First, it’s important to understand its history. Banarasi Sarees originate from the city of Varanasi, also known as Banaras, which is, naturally, within the region of Uttar Pradesh, India. It was during the Mughal period in the 14th century when the art of intricate weaving began to flourish in the city. During those times, the exquisite silk of the Banarasi Sari was exclusively crafted for royalty and was woven using genuine gold and silver threads. It could often take as long as one year in order to handcraft these silks. Suffice it to say, when it came to garments, the Banarasi Sari represented the pinnacle of quality craftsmanship, luxury, and extravagance.

Apart from the distinct metallic sheen of the Banarasi Saree, created by the gold and silver threads, it is also characterized by rich colors, intricate designs, and brocade or zari, which make it quite a heavy garment. Persian motifs, as well as Indian themes are the customary patterns. The Banarasi Sari is particularly eye-catching because of its opulent embroidery that’s often in the form of floral and foliate motifs. A particularly recognizable design is the line of vertical leaves, called jhallar, that’s positioned in the outer edge or border of the sari. A Banarasi Sari can currently be handcrafted in anywhere from fifteen days to one month to even six months, largely depending on the intricacy and complexity of its design and patterns.


Beautiful Pure Chiffon Golden-Haze Banarasi Saree (With Unstitched Blouse)

Today, the Banarasi Sari is still among the finest silk saris that once can drape around the body. While it can be handcrafted in an infinite variety of colors and patterns, it has four main varieties, based on the fabric, which include the Katan (pure silk), Kora (organza), Georgette sari, and Shatir saree. It can also be distinguished by the design process that was used to create it, of which there are six: Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tissue and Butidar.

The Banarasi Saree is such a part of Indian culture that it is often considered an essential part of an Indian bride’s trousseau. In fact, mothers and grandmothers have been known to collect the magnificent saris from the moment a daughter is born. While Banarasi Sarees are still painstakingly made today, heirloom saris, passed down from generation to generation, are even more highly prized and cherished.

These exceedingly special and brilliant saris are not only reserved for brides. The heavily decorated saris with embroidery on rich colors are also often worn for special events and occasions. To match the lavish brilliance and grandeur of the Banarasi Sari, it is often accessorized with the finest jewels. While it is worn with stunning jewelry, the Banarasi Saree itself is a magnificent jewel in Indian culture.

Storm-Gray Designer Sari with Floral Embroidery in Peach Thread and Crystals

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