Banaras, the city which is known to be the land of Lord Shiva and its own diversity in culture. One side it has serenity and peace of Ghats, on the other side there is tingling of numerous bells, uncontrollable traffic and hullabaloo of life all around. The two faces of this city are in complete contrast with each other. But the city is undoubtedly a hub of culture and art. Be it painting, sculpture, music, dance or textiles, the city has its own precedents and one such example is the Banarasi silk sarees. Ther
Banaras was a thriving sector of cotton textile industries in the sixteenth century. The earliest mention of the brocade and Zari textiles of Banaras is found in the 19th century. With the migration of silk weavers from Gujarat during the famine of 1603, it is likely that silk brocade weaving started in Banaras in the seventeenth century and developed in excellence during the 18th and 19th century. During the Mughal period, around 14th century, weaving of with intricate designs using gold and silver threads became the specialty of Banaras.
The traditional Banarasi saree is done with lot of hard work and skillful work using the silk. The saree making is a cottage industry for about 1.2 million people associated directly or indirectly with the hand loom silk industry of the region around Varanasi encompassing Gorakhpur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts. There are certain laws introduced by the government for the betterment of the silk weavers if this region, as per the GI certificate, Banarasi products fall under four classes (23–26), namely silk brocades, textile goods, silk saree, dress material and silk embroidery. Most importantly this means that no saree or brocade made outside the six identified districts of Uttar Pradesh, that is Varanasi, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts can be legally sold under the name of Banaras saree and brocade.
Besides the beauty and elegance of this unmatched work of weaving, these sarees also possess traditional importance in India, especially among the people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Women drape themselves in Banarasi silk sarees for any of the special occasions such as weddings, preachings and other small functions. Brides are gifted a set of five or seven Banarasi silk sarees as a symbol of gratitude in their wedding. Despite the emergence of different other clothes which are less expensive and easy to wear, this woven wonder never lost its popularity and continued beautifying the women of India and many other countries in its own unique way.
~Author : Karishma Srivastava