Keep in mind: Store your Banarasi in a cool, dry place dusted with neem leaves. Change the saree fold at least once a month to avoid any zari breakage
On the loom is spun a rich romance…
Mughal emperor Akbar’s fondness for the luxurious silk is well documented – his palace was draped with the heavy woven silk and his wives flaunted the gold and silver brocade or zari silk sarees with flourish. The Mughal influence is evident in the motifs – the jaali work, the stylised leaves and flowers as seen in the Taj Mahal.
But these masterpieces go back even further and find mention in the Mahabharata. So it is that along with Mughal motifs, there are patterns of jasmine, emeralds, marigolds, betel nut leaves, diagonal stripes and mangoes.
The exquisite Banarasi comes in different forms – from pure silk (katan) to organza to georgette, each further classified as per the designs. The silk, unlike the commonly used China silk, usually comes from south India and is of a superior, more opulent quality. The gold and silver work, the intricate motifs, the singular heritage, are other unusual aspects.
The process of creating the saree design stands apart…First, it is drawn out on graph paper. Then small punch cards are created to guide the weaver on the colours to be used.A single design requires hundreds of perforated cards to implement. Normally it takes two days to a month to complete a single Banarasi. It may take years to implement more complex designs!