Banarasi sarees are up there in terms of fashion quotient. Remember Anushka Sharma sported a Banarasi Saree at her wedding with cricket captain Virat Kohli?
Banaras is the old name for Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. One of India’s seven holy cities, Varanasi is a revered town on the banks of the River Ganges. One may also find reference to the temple town in the scared texts such as the Upanishads and the Vedas.
In due course of time, Banaras/Varanasi became a centre for cotton and silk textile weaving in the 16th century.
Ralph Fitch (1583–91) describes Banaras as a thriving sector of the cotton textile industry.
In the 16th Century, silk weavers from Gujarat migrated to Varanasi leading to the popularity of silk weaving there. In addition, the Mughal rule brought in the influence of brocades and gold & silver threads that was incorporated into the silk weaving. It thus became a specialty of Benaras.
It certainly fits royalty through and through! The pure silk, Kora silks and georgette are the main varieties of Banarasi silks. One of the best Indian fabrics, Banarasi silks are famous all over the world as well.
Furthermore, many fake or copies of Banarasi silks are in circulation these days. This has also led to a lot of unrest in the Weavers Association. This is the reason why silks and sarees from these specific areas alone are known as Banarasi silks/sarees. These include the following: Varanasi, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts.
Banarasi sarees in silk are rich in form and colour with a lot of zari work. Moreover, these sarees are popular even today with celebrities such as Deepika and Sonam Kapoor wearing it at their respective wedding reception.