Coming from the land of Varanasi or Banaras, the oldest living city on the Earth, the Banarasi weave is nothing short of history on its own. With one of the earliest traces of pure Banarasi silk sarees dating back to 1000 to 300 B.C. in Ramayan, in a more modern historical sense, the weave became native to Banaras during the Mughal reign in the 14th century.
Ever since, the evolution of Banarasi has taken various courses and forms leading us to the variations in lehengas, dupattas, and the latest saree designs there are today. Authentic Banarasi weave is opulent and may take up to several days to create. The design details are fine, intricately done with Zari, bearing motifs inspired by traditional Indian inspirations or from the Mughal era. It is probably why the exquisite history, diverse and rich textile forms, and ever-evolving designs of this weave makes it a popular choice among ethnic fashion connoisseurs, brides, and even designers or fashion creators.
The new saree designs in Banarasi serve as a playground for Indian handloom artisans and designers to experiment and combine the traditional weave with modern-contemporary design iterations. Latest sarees collections in Georgette, Kora, and even pure Banarasi silk sarees have become evergreen heirlooms and wardrobe must-haves, making it the forever kind of love affair in modern textile artistry.
If you’re a bride looking for inspiration, a rising ethnic wear connoisseur, or a seasoned saree-lover looking for more insight, dive into the world of Banarasi—from old weaves to new saree designs; we’ve got details penned down for you.
On the basis of the textile or fabric, Banarasi may be differentiated as:
1- Katan Banarasi
Katan is the pure silk base fabric, threadwork of which is twisted and woven into Pure Banarasi silk sarees. Usually worn as occasion wear due to its richness, authentic Katan may take anything between 15 to 60 days to design and finish off on a handloom.
2- Kora Banarasi
Smooth, elegant, flowy, and usually lightweight drapes are quintessentially Kora or Organza Banarasi that feature extensive gold and silver Zari work. A combination of warp and weft, where Zari is woven on silk yarns, Kora Banarasi crafts an unmatched look that exuberates imperiality.
3- Georgette Banarasi
Comfortable, stylish, and contemporary are three easy words to describe how a Georgette Banarasi would feel to a saree-lover. Made in crepe yarn, Georgette Banarasi sarees are delightfully light yet lush-looking, making them a must-have in modern-day wardrobes. Featuring usually floral designs on the overall drape, a simpler variation of them features patterned designs on the border with a minimally designed drape.
On the basis of weave and design, Banarasi can be classified as:
1- Jangla Banarasi
Banarasi Jangla can easily be distinguished due to its all over Jaal-like designs on the flow of the saree. The motifs are intricate Zari work and may bear resemblances to traditional patterns like Mughal motifs. The latest saree collections of Banarasi Jangla depict modern-day design references like flora, creepers, etc.
2- Tanchoi Banarasi
Intricately woven with colorful weft silk yarn, Tanchoi pure Banarasi silk sarees feature gorgeous ‘Jamawar’ paisley patterns, ranging from small to elaborate sizes in the entire expanse of the drape. The absence of Zari adds to making the saree lightweight and a breeze to carry.
3- Cutwork Banarasi
Cutwork Banarasi is usually regarded as the high street version of Banarasi due to its inexpensive commercial element. As the name suggests, it is assembled through cutwork of warp threads placed with the regular weft, most often where cotton is mixed with silk. The designs feature flowers like marigold, jasmine, and other creepers.
4- Tissue Banarasi
Tissue Banarasi easily is one of the most sought-after Banarasis in a bridal trousseau due to its lustrous look emitting sheen that amplifies the celebratory feel. A lot of the latest saree designs depict lotus-like motifs in a pond, diamonds and paisleys, and other varying Zari work.
5- Butidar Banarasi
Truly one of the most labyrinthine weave, Butidar Banarasi sarees are rich brocades in colorful silk, decked in gold and silver. The drape features a variety of Bails and Buttis, inspired by floral variations, that give it its name—Angoor Bail, Luttar Bail, Khulta Bail, Baluchar Bail, Ashraffi Butti, Reshem Butti, Jhummar Butti, Kalma Butti,Patti Butti, Mehrab Anchal, Baluchar Butta, etc.
While we’ve listed down a few types, Banarasi sarees is an infinite space of beautiful iterations of the weave. Join us on a journey of forever exploration and discover more!