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Benares Cotton

Varanasi or Benares is one of the most ancient cities recorded in history as a silk and cotton handloom weaving center, patronized by many rulers. In the 16th century Ralph Fitch, an English merchant, described Benares as a thriving sector of the cotton textile industry.

The traditional Banarasi sari craft is an intense and skillful labor. Sari-making is a cottage industry of about 1.2 million people associated directly or indirectly with the handloom weaving in the region around Varanasi, encompassing Gorakhpur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts.

There is a Banarasi innovation called “Jamdani”, which involves laying designs by hand, without using any mechanism. The Jamdani technique works with cotton thread and is still often executed on traditional pit looms. It is a magical technique and involves hand-weaving each motif separately.

A Banarasi sari typically features a main field with floral butis (motifs) or all-over jali (lattice) design along with borders on the sides. One end has a wide ornamental border called the pallu (edge). Some popular motifs include asharfi (coin-shape), genda (marigold flower), makhi (fly pattern), chand-tara (moon and star), paan (betel leaf), lateefa (floral bouquet), among others.

Related Weaves

Korial Benarasi

Korial comes from the Bengali word “kora” that means plain, white or simply, spotless. Typically, a Korial sari has two categories, the Garad-Korial and the Korial-Benarasi sari.

Begumpuri cotton

There is no better sari to turn to in the heat of the Indian summer than the Begumpuri cotton sari.

Vanavasi Cotton

Vanavasi is a town in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu and home to many ancient temples. It is also well known for its handloom production of cotton and silk saris.

Sambalpuri Cotton

Sambalpuri fabric is created by an original style of craft known as Baandha. Traditionally, craftsmen created Baandha with images of flora or fauna or with geometrical patterns.