Traditional Banarasi Sari with Woven Bootis and Zari Weave on Pallu
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Kora-Cotton Sari from Banaras with Zari Thread Woven Bootis and Florals
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The Banarasi Sari

Banaras, or more commonly known as Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, is the origin of the Banarasi sari. The manufacturing centres are mostly found in areas like Banaras, Gorakhpur and Azamgarh. Though these classic saris are now woven in many parts of India.


During ancient times, artisans and weavers of these beautifully crafted Banarasi saris are believed to have drawn inspiration from natural flowers such as Jasmine, Marigold, Thousand Emeralds, and even the leaves of Betel Nut for designs. The diagonal stripes, floral patterns and corner motifs are some of the other patterns woven on a Banarasi sari. It is woven on a handloom by blending it with dobby or Jacquard mechanism. Normally, one sari requires about three persons to weave and may take from one to six months to complete it. The duration depends on the fineness and complexity of the designs.


It would be interesting to know that an ideal Banarasi sari is made up of around 5600 thread wires, and all of them are of 45-inch width. The weaving of the warp requires the artisans to create the base first which is about 24-25 meters long. The most notable aspects of crafting a Banarasi sari is teamwork. Out of the three, one weaves the sari, the second rotates the ring to create the bundles and the third craftsman assists in the designing of the border.


These saris are ranked as the finest traditional wear in Indian culture. Crafted delicately with ultimate perfection in the designs and floral patterns, these eye-catching saris come in striking shades and hues. These days the traditional patterns are complimented with zardozi work, sequins, colourful beads, and different bootis to enhance the glamour and charm of Banarasis.


Traditional Banarasi saris are specifically made in four types of fabrics that include pure silk, organza, Georgette, and Shatir. And, these are artistically filled with brocade designs of flowers like chameli, panna hazar, genda buti, and buits of betel leaves.


Originally, Bararasi saris were designed with threads dipped in real gold and silver liquids as these were basically used by the royal families. These days, the real gold and silver coated threads are replaced by golden and silver coloured threads that are made especially for Banarasi saris.


HOW TO DRAPE A SAREE



STEP 1


Two essential pieces of garments, that go alongwith the Sari, need to be chosen carefully to compliment the Sari. These are:


  • petticoat - which is a waist-to-floor garment, tied tightly at the waist by a drawstring. The petticoat color should match the base sari color as closely as possible. No part of the petticoat, of course, is visible outside the Sari, after having worn it.


  • blouse - which needs to be tight-fitting and whose color needs to be chosen keeping the look of the sari in mind, can be short sleeved or sleeveless, with a variety of necklines. The blouse ends just below the bust.



STEP 2


Start wearing the sari by tucking its plain/upper end into the petticoat, at a position which is a little bit to the right of the navel. Make sure that the lower end of the sari should be touching the floor, and that the whole length of the sari comes on the left-hand side. Now wrap the sari around yourself once, with the sari now coming back in the front, on your right side.



STEP 3


Make about 5 to 7 pleats of equal width of 5 inches, starting at the tucked-in end. Gather the pleats together, neatly, ensuring that the lower edge of the pleats are even and just off the ground and that the pleats fall straight and evenly. A safety pin may be used to stop the pleats from scattering.



STEP 4


Neatly tuck the pleats into the petticoat, at the waist, slightly to the left of the navel, in such a manner that they open to your left.



STEP 5


Drape the remaining fabric around yourself once more left to right, and bring it round your hips to the front, holding the top edge of the sari.



STEP 6


Slightly raise the remaining portion of the Sari on your back, bringing it up under the right arm and over the left shoulder so that the end of the Sari falls to about the level of your knees.


The end portion thus draped, from the left shoulder onwards, is called the Pallav or the Pallu, and can be prevented from slipping off teh shoulder, by fastening it at the shoulder to the blouse with a small safety pin.