Banarasi Saree – An Exquisite Work of Art

Banarasi sarees, once popular among royal queens of India, have fallen into disfavor due to power looms and unfair trade practices. Now this exquisite art form could be threatened.

Handloom weaving of saree designs requires many days and sometimes months of hard work and requires immense skill.


Banarasi saree have deep-seated traditions in India’s rich cultural history, featuring stunning designs and intricate embroidery to make these exquisite works of art. Additionally, these garments possess an airy sheen which often comes adorned with gold or silver Zari embellishments for further beauty and appeal.

Saree designs and intricate patterns are inspired by various cultures, rulers, and religions. Some popular motifs of a saree include paisleys, peacocks and bels (a string of upright leaves). Sarees tend to be heavy.

Banarasi weavers have proven adept at meeting the challenges posed by industry, remaining viable despite all obstacles they must navigate to continue weaving sarees for women of all age groups and representing Indian culture through this craft. Although some weavers are now exploring innovative techniques like modern trends to keep their sarees contemporary, traditional motifs remain popular with women of all generations and age groups who wear the garment as a sign of Indian craftsmanship and culture.


Banarasi sarees come in an array of colours and designs. Some feature elegant silver and gold thread weaving, while others sport floral motifs or butis patterns which repeat throughout. Considered an emblem of wealth and luxury, they often pass from generation to generation.

Banarasi silks, such as Katan silk, are made of the highest-grade mulberry silk in both warp and weft for weaving sarees. Tussar, Eri and Kora varieties may also be used – Kora silk provides stiffer variants of Katan that has not been de-gummed, creating beautiful fabrics sarees that last.

Red is the classic shade for Banarasi sarees, often decorated with golden zari embroidery work. Perfect for brides looking for something extra special on their big day, these ensembles can be accessorized with designer blouses and other accessories to complete their look.


Banarasi silk sarees feature intricate floral, leaf, fruit and other nature-inspired motifs to give their garments an exquisite appearance. Each motif is meticulously hand woven onto the fabric for an impressive appearance which also pays homage to various religious and cultural traditions.

Common motifs in Iranian textile designs include floral boota motifs, mango leaves (kalghas), and paisleys. These designs have become part of our heritage and remain fashionable even today.

Sarees are embellished with intricate jali patterns known as jaals that feature either slanted or straight lines; those featuring wave-like lines are known as aada jaal and those featuring straight lines are called seedha jaal. Furthermore, gold zari thread is often added for extra elegance and charm and they are usually produced on handlooms; however more recently power loom weaving machines have gained in popularity, which produce inferior quality fabrics faster.


As part of the weaving process, weft yarns are joined together using a loom to form fabric. Once this step has been completed, Banarasi sarees stand out from other Indian textiles with the added touch of real gold or silver thread in their zari (the golden or silver thread used for embellishment). This detail makes Banarasi sarees truly special!

Step one involves investing both time and skill to craft an exquisite saree. A completed piece may take anywhere from several days to months depending on its complexity of designs or brocade use, as weavers of Banaras face great pressure due to unfair trade practices as well as power loom competition.

One that might have taken two months to weave by hand now takes only one day on a power loom – creating enormous losses among weavers and one of the primary reasons for handloom Banarasis becoming less popular over time.


Banarasi sarees are famous for their intricate designs and ornate patterns that reflect traditional Indian designs and culture. Typically embellished with zari thread and tassels, this type of saree also comes equipped with its own natural gold hue and can last through multiple washes without losing its sheen or durability.

These sarees are crafted using fine silk threads for maximum radiance in the light, with fabric threads intertwining into an intricate design woven by fine threads woven by silkworms, giving them a sheen that glitters in any light source. In addition, the sarees may also be decorated with sequins, stones, or metal embellishments, making them suitable choices for festive events and special events.

Modern Banarasi sarees combine modern weaving techniques and elements with traditional ones to produce striking pieces that stand out. Their unconventional color combinations and contemporary patterns set them apart, as is their impeccable weaving technique; available in fabrics like katan, shattir organza (kora), Georgette and Georgette they can also be classified by design type such as Jangla Tanchoi Cutwork Tissue featuring floral vines jungle leaves mangoes etc in their designs.

By Atif Mehar

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