Special features

The saree designs are first created on paper: the pattern is literally punched into paper, making it look much like Braille. A separate pattern guides each row and hundreds of such patterns, (naksha patras), are created for a single saree. It is essentially these patras that give you everything from floral motifs to jali work and more. Based on these patras the dyed silk and zari threads are wound into the handloom, to create the desired patterns. Given the effort, the sarees often come with a hefty price tag. And sarees produced on handlooms can take anywhere from 15 days to a month, and sometimes up to six months. Today power looms are replacing the hand-loom and cutting down on labor and production time. But the final machine-made product is uniform and lacks the distinctiveness of the handmade saree.

Colors

Banarasi sarees are available in a host of colors and are known more for the gold and silver zari work that adorns them.

Motifs

Back in the Mughal era, the designs on Banarasi sarees largely consisted of Islamic motifs such as floral patterns, stylised leaves, and the use of jali work (net), all of which can also be found also in their architecture. The Taj Mahal boasts of similar motifs in intricate inlay work crafted from and within stone. The effect is simply stunning. The designs were an attempt to recreate the bounty of jannat (paradise). During the British era, the Victorians often demanded geometric patterns. Today, while Islamic motifs remain popular, one can find a variety of Hindu Gods embossed on to cushion covers, wall-hangings and even sarees.

Varieties

Banarasi sarees can be categorized into four distinct varieties, namely pure silk (katan), organza (kora) with zari and silk, georgette and shattir. Of these, the pure silk variety is the most renown. On the basis of design, Banarasi sarees are also classified into jangla, tanchoi, vaskat, cutwork, tissue and butidar.

Price range

A genuine Banarasi silk saree can be bought for anywhere from Rs.3,000 to Rs.2,00,000 depending on the design and the intricacy of the work. That said, a saree with a decent amount of work would cost a minimum of Rs.8,000 to Rs.10,000.

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Milan Design