A Banarasi saree is arguably one of the most popular forms of sarees from India. This saree is made from an extremely delicate variety of silk that originates from Varanasi, which is in Uttar Pradesh. Within the category of silk sarees that can be found in India, the Banarasi silk saree is considered to be the most coveted and, more importantly, the most regal of all sarees. One of the reasons why this type of saree is so popular is that the designs used to create them have been inspired by Mughal designs and aesthetics as they originated during the Mughal Era in India. Largely worn by women belonging to the court and the royal families, these sarees exude an extremely regal and opulent air. The sarees are known for predominantly either having a brocade made of gold or silver, or zari work (which is essentially embroidery work created by using threads of gold or silver to create intricate patterns or embroideries). Their largely Mughal aesthetics include floral prints and foliate motifs which is also another widely known characteristic of this type of saree.
On an interesting note, a Banarasi sari is usually handmade and can take anywhere between 15 days, a full month or even six whole months to complete, depending on the intricacy of the designs and the skills of the craftsmen. This is one of the reasons why this type of saree in India is priced a little on the higher side.
A Banarasi saree collection can include different styles of sarees that are classified on the basis of the work done to create them. Jamdani is a popular category that refers to an interesting variation of the figured muslin. In this style, cotton is brocaded with the silk in order to create an interesting effect. When it comes to extremely important and formal occasions or celebrations, such as a wedding ceremony, the Jangla style is the preferred variation of the Varanasi sarees. This is because threads of different colors are used along with scrolling designs that are spread widely throughout the fabric to create an elaborate and heavy garment. One of the most kaleidoscopic styles of the saree is the Tanchoi saree which uses silk yarns that have extra wefts in them in order to create an interesting outline, making the overall designs of the saree look like an intricate maze. Younger women who prefer a slightly more shimmering look usually choose tissue sarees to wear to formal occasions. These sarees are designed in a special way due to which the zari brocade work done on the saree makes the fabric look like golden cloth. Another popular style of this saree is the zardosi Banarasi saree which is a heavily embroidered type of saree. Apart from the beautiful Banaras pattu sarees made of silk, one can also find gorgeous sarees woven and decorated in this unique style made of other fine fabrics. For instance, the Banaras georgette sarees are extremely popular today because of their rich yet light weight look.
Styling a Banarasi Saree
Styling a Banarasi saree is an extremely straightforward procedure as these sarees are mostly worn for formal occasions and are paired with accessories that are appropriate for such occasions only. Indian jewelry is the preferred style of jewelry for these sarees and depending on the occasion, different types of ethnic jewelry can be worn to accessorize the garment. For instance, for wedding ceremonies, Kundan sets are the preferred style of jewelry as they do the best job of reflecting the opulence of a wedding. At the same time, Polki sets and Meenakari sets are also strong contenders. For less formal events that are not meant to be as opulent as a wedding, simple gold jewelry as well as diamond sets can be worn with this garment. Gold is one of the preferred metals to wear for less formal occasions whilst wearing this saree as, more often than not, it complements the gold zari work on the saree and adds to the overall luster of the look. Other forms of jewelry such as bangles, earrings, rings and mang tikkas can also be worn, depending on the occasion.
When wearing any saree, including the Varanasi silk sarees, the preferred style of footwear is high heeled sandals as they tend to add to the elegance of the saree by complementing the fall of the body of the saree and, of course, by adding to the height of the woman wearing the saree. These factors make the look more chic than it already is.
Silk clutches that are embroidered or created with brocade work are usually worn with these types of sarees as the material of the bag complements the material of the saree in an elegant fashion. Matching silk potlis with drawstrings can also be carried.