The Fascinating Story of Banarasi Sarees



The saree is the national dress for Indian women and it’s a very important part of the women’s life. Most women adorn the saree to any occasion because of its elegance and sophistication. The Banarasi saree is not only popular as part of the bridal wears in Bengal weddings but women from all religions and social status love this saree. This Banarasi saree is not only making waves in the Indian fashion industry but also in the international fashion world. 

This ethnic wear has many intricate and complex designs woven into the six yards that make this saree stunning. Even with technology, Varanasi still uses hand-weaving techniques to weave intricate designs with gold and silver threads to make this Banarasi saree. These beautiful and elegant sarees have become very popular and every woman’s first choice when it comes to sarees. Their fashionable and exotic weavings by designers who use zari, motifs, and emeralds have become a favourite among women across the world. 

History of Banarasi silk sarees

Source – Dennis Jarvis via Flickr

The history of Indian sarees dates back to the Hindu mythology of Ramayana in the 1000 to 300 B.C. Banarasi silk was introduced to India by the Mughal Empire with its intricate weaving and designing craftsmanship. The Banarasi silk today has a mixture of two different cultures, the Mughals and Indian. In the olden days, silk for this saree was imported from China; nowadays the silk is sourced from the Southern parts of India. 

Indian sarees are divided into two broad categories the traditional bridal and the designer segment. Banarasi sarees are bridal sarees that are very popular because of their various textures, colours, and designs.

Features of Banarasi Silk Sarees

banarasi saari
Image – Wikimedia

The Banarasi sarees are made in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. They are one of the finest traditional sarees in India and very heavy due to its rich embroidery which makes them ideal for parties, festivals, and weddings. This saree is traditionally made in four varieties namely organza (Kora), Georgette saree, Shatir saree, and pure silk (Katan). The many varieties of Banarasi silk saree are organza, satin borders, jangla, Brocades, Tanchoi, cutwork, and Resham butidar that have interesting designs of animals, birds, floral, fruit, human figures, and geometric patterns. 

Persian motifs are also included in the Indian designs to create distinct flower patterns of the saree used even today.The Banarasi sarees were originally embellished with threads made from real gold and silver for the royal family. For them to be affordable nowadays for everyone, the threads have been replaced with coloured gold and silver threads. This famous saree has eye-catching patterns and shades woven on a handloom and shipped all over the world. 

Making of a Banarasi Saree

Making of a Banarasi saree
Image – Robert Gold via Flickr

It usually takes around 15 to 30 days to complete weaving a Banarasi saree. However, it depends on the complexity of the design and patterns. Normally 3 weavers are required in the creation of this saree. One weaves the saree, the second one handles the revolving ring in making bundles, and the third one assists in border designing. Making the Banarasi saree requires teamwork. Ideally, a Banarasi saree has around 5600 thread wires and all are 45 inches wide. The craftsmen make a base of 24-26 inches long. Designing the motifs begins at the bundling stage. 

An artist created design boards by sketching the designs on a graph paper along with colour concepts. Punch cards are then created before selecting the final design then hundreds of perforated cards are created to accommodate a single design for a saree. To knit the perforated cards on the loom, different colours and threads are used. The perforated cards are then paddled in a systematic manner to ensure the main weave picks up the right colours and patterns. 

Banarasi Saree Designs

Banarasi saree designs
Image –

The Banarasi saree is divided into categories like Tissue, Butidar, Cutwork, Tanchoi, and Jangal. Tissue sarees are woven with golden Zari Brocade to add sheen to the saree. The saree’s borders and pallu are patterned with self-woven paisleys. Butidar sarees are woven with brocade threads silver, silk, and gold. The darker shade of gold compared to the silver threads has earned the brocade patterning the name Ganga-Jumuna. 

Cutwork sarees are the less expensive version of Jamdani sarees. They are products of the cutwork technique on plain texture. Leaves, jasmine, creepers, and marigold flowers are popular motifs featured on Cutwork sarees. Tanchoi sarees patterns are woven with colourful weft silk yarns. The decorations on this saree are large motifs of paisleys and the border has criss-cross patterns. 

Jangal sarees are woven with colourful silk threads it’s decorated with intricate patterns of Jangala motifs and vegetation that fall along the saree. The luxurious fabric with intricate designs and detailing makes this Banarasi saree ideal for weddings functions that can be found at stylecaret online stores.

Banarasi Saree’s Fabric Varieties


The Banarasi saree has four main fabric varieties, Georgette, Shattir, Organza with zari and silk, and Katan.

Georgette is a finely woven light fabric that is made of crepe yarn inter-woven with both warp and weft. It is popular in designing salwar kameez outfit designs, Bollywood sarees, and designer sarees.

Shattir fabric is used to produce beautiful contemporary and exclusive Banarasi saree designs. 

Organza is a richly woven fabric with the most beautiful Brocade patterns and designs that are made by warp and weft. Gold-coated silver threads are woven around the silk yarns to produce zari brocade.

Katan is a plain fabric that has woven pure silk threads that make pure silk sarees. In the old days, katan saree’s beautiful motifs and patterns were woven using handlooms but nowadays, they are produced using rapid looms and power looms. 


India is second to China is silk production. India exports its silk to over 200 countries around the world and the demand is increasing especially in Europe and America. These traditional and stunning Banarasi silk sarees are recognized globally due to the unique patterns and intricate designs made on the sarees. Bollywood celebrities and popular personalities are now wearing Banarasi sarees for weddings, special occasions, or functions. The Banarasi saree is a must-have in the wardrobe.


  1. Very detailed and impressive blog. Every banarasi saree has its own story behind it which makes it unique, these sarees have eye-catching patterns and shades woven on a handloom and shipped all over the world. Awesome article, looking for more in future!

  2. Must say…These are just beautiful classy sarees. Thank you for sharing. Sarees are a timeless piece of clothing that never goes out of style and with the right accessories to pull off the look; they can be perfect for any occasion.


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