Famed for their characteristic opulence and rich embroidery, Banaras sarees get their name from the ancient Indian city of Varanasi or Banaras – where they have been primarily woven for centuries. Originally crafted exclusively for royalty, each Banarasi saree was created from real gold and silver threads, taking as much as a year to make. These stunning creations have a rich history hidden within their silken weaves; they have been mentioned even in the legendary texts of the Mahabharata.
Characterised by their Mughal-inspired motifs, these sarees are favoured for their luminous textures, magnificent brocades, jewel hues, and gorgeous zari highlights. The current design of Banarasi sarees is a mix-up of Persian design and Indian artistic culture. An ideal Banaras saree consists of about 5600 thread wires. All of those thread wires have to be 45-inches wide (at least). The Banaras sarees and brocades were awarded a GI tag in 2009.
The Banaras brocade and zari found their first mention back in the nineteenth century. It is believed that silk brocade weaving began in Banaras in the seventeenth century and reached its pinnacle during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries because of the influx of silk weavers from Gujarat after the 1603 famine. The manufacturing of brocades with exquisite motifs utilising gold and silver threads became Banaras' expertise during the Mughal era, around the 14th century.
About 1.2 million individuals work in small industries that are either directly or indirectly linked to the handloom. silk industry in the Banaras area, which includes the districts of Gorakhpur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur, and Azamgarh.
The four classifications of Banarasi products listed in the GI certificate are silk brocades, textile goods, silk Banaras sarees, garment materials, and silk embroidery. However, the most significant implication is that no saree or brocade produced away from the six Uttar Pradesh districts of Varanasi, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur, and Azamgarh may be legally sold as Banarasi Sarees or brocade.
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