This brilliant piece of textile, rare in grace, elegance and gorgeousness, is a sari, the Indian woman’s most characteristic wear. An unstitched length – a tailor’s worship nowhere between, a sari discovers itself as a wear in its form woven with well-defined parts – a magic of loom or artisan’s skilled hands. No other article, a component of ensemble or any, so exclusively reveals the wearer’s Indian identity as does a sari. Sari is the essence of a woman representing India on any international forum, or in an international event. Its natural simplicity, a sari’s inherent character, imparts to the wearer all her grace, distinction and magnificence – in being naïvely simple. Its gorgeous look and exclusivity as a class of wear astonish the viewing eye with rareness of beauty.
A sari is composed of three segments: field – the sari’s broader expanse, borders defining length’s edges, and pallu, the end-part. Well defined and each with its own identity, such segments afford immense scope for embellishment and variety, each of the three being differently conceived, and each sari representing a class. Thus, with such segments differently patterned a Baluchar sari is a class different from a Banarasi brocade. Similarly, a sari – Baluchar, Banarasi, Paithani or any, conceives its field with a scheme different from that which it has for its border or pallu. This affords it immense variety.
Though manufactured using Satin silk, not pure silk, and synthetic zari, this piece represents the truest idiom of Banarasi brocaded sari. Skilfully crafted even the Satin silk and synthetic zari reveal the same level of magnificence as would the pure silk piece worked with pure gold thread. A small buti consisting of tiny Paisley and two leaves adorns the field. The pallu had been designed with closely woven horizontal creepers consisting of bold stems, tinier leaves but large flowers. The inner side has been crested with a course of conceptual leaves and flowers; the flowers are framed within large Paisleys. Border has two parts. The band on the bottom consists of a linear frame with a course of conventionalized vine. Above it is a course of waving creeper consisting of flowers and tiny leaves.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient India. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.
When it comes to choosing from a variety of elegant sarees to be
worn on any special occasion or big event, a Banarasi saree is
always the top pick for all women. As the name suggests, a
Banarasi saree originates from the ancient city of Varanasi
(formerly known as Banaras) in Uttar Pradesh, India. These sarees
are made of finely woven high-quality silk and bear opulent
embroidery with metallic threads. The main characteristic feature
of a Banarasi saree is gold and silver brocade or zari work upon
the silk fabric. The end of the saree called Pallu is heavily
decorated with the work of embroidered designs and sometimes with
The making process of a Banarasi silk saree is elaborate and a lot
of manual labor and dedication goes into it.
Before working on the original Banarasi saree, a template is
prepared by making a detailed design on graph paper. This
template contains the designs of the base, pallu, and border.
When these designs are approved and agreed upon, the process
moves further into the next step.
The Patta is a stencil made of cardboard on which the designs on
graphic paper are put into the handloom machine and holes are
punched into to create its exact pattern/copy. The stencil is
then installed into the machine from where the weaving process
High-quality silk yarns from South India are selected for the
making of the finest Banarasi sarees. These raw yarns are then
processed and dyed as per the color shade of choice. The excess
water is drained out and the colored yarns are allowed to dry in
Zari is one of the distinctive features of Banarasis that makes
the saree look graceful and beautiful. The selection of Zari is
done as per the base color of the saree. Usually, in most sarees,
copper zari is used but sometimes real silver and gold zari may
also be used.
After the silk yarns are processed and ready, the process of
weaving begins on a handloom attached to the machine. This is
the most complicated step in the whole process. The longitudinal
threads (the Tana) and the latitudinal threads (the Bana) are
set on the loom. With the back-and-forth movement of the shuttle
of the machine, the desired design is obtained and the weaving
of the Banarasi saree is completed. The weavers of Banaras are
highly skilled and thus they are able to exhibit excellent
skills and the fabric comes out with the right details.
When the weaving of the saree is completed, it is made ready to
be sent out for sale. Extra or loose threads are cut to make the
The colors of Banarasi sarees are always vibrant and eye-catching.
Every step of the process of making these sarees is carried out in
such a way that the richness and magnificence of the fabric and
its design do not go for a toss and the saree turns out just the
way it is required. The splendor of Banarasis is undoubtedly
unmatched and this is the reason why they are in high demand even
in the international fashion world.
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