Banaras, Varanasi, or Kashi however you name it is widely known as the city of temples, mysterious holy men, and bustling ghats along the River Ganga. The Indian city of Varanasi also produces some of the world's finest silk saris, has a long-lived history of textile designing. Lusion Wear went on a little exploration tour in a village near Banaras, where we were amazed to see that almost every house has its own Karkhana and karigars (weavers), who traditionally weaved Banarasi Silk Sarees on their Pit Looms. However many of them switched to Jacquard looms with time.
The weavers of Varanasi are best known for their skill in brocade weaving and known as Kinkhabs. There is a wide variety of these handwoven designs and is next to impossible to copy the intricate designs.
The earliest signs of weaving in Banaras find mention in the Rig Veda. The Vedic text mentions weavers as Tantuvayas who make clothes of various types such as cotton, silk, and brocades. Brocades were then known as “Hirayana", The age-old technique depicts floral patterns and hunting scenes which showcases the Mughal influence on the art form.
A hand-woven Banarasi Saree is still considered as the epitome of the marvelous craft in Banarasi weaving. Banarasi sarees are amongst the finest in India and are known for their Gold and Silver Brocade or zari fine silk, highlighting its luxurious embroidery. Creating a Handloom Banarasi saree can take from 15 days to a month or sometimes stretches up to six months long period, whereas the power loom takes up to 10 to 12 hours to complete a saree. The price of a Banarasi Handloom varies from ten thousand to lakhs, depending on the craft as well as the material used. however, Powerloom sarees cost from three thousand to ten thousand.
Nowadays, The traditional handloom weavers in Varanasi are facing competition from modern power looms that can produce silk sarees cheaper and faster. The widely growing demand has forced industries to search for ways to make finely crafted sarees. However, it is an undeniable fact that the use of power loom reduces labour, cost, time enhancing the ease of availability. Earlier the Banarasi sarees took labor-intensive work and a time-consuming process. With the time changing its paths, we are leaving behind the authentic craftsmanship which has contributed to the rich cultural heritage.
Lusion Wear will be launching a new collection that carries the beauty and grace of Banaras.