Know All About Banarasi Sarees and Their Glorious Saga

Indian Silk sarees are renowned globally. One of the most sought after silk sarees across the world is Banarasi Sarees. The richness of silk fabric and zari work makes it so popular not only amongst brides but also young women in general. With celebrities sporting Banarasi sarees quite often these days, this traditional 9 yard of elegance has found space in people’s hearts and wardrobes. 

History of Banarasi Saree

There have been mentions in Buddhist records and Rig Veda of Kashi being a popular weaving centre. Banaras also finds a relevant place in Mahabharata. There are no records of Banarasi Sarees before Mughal era. 

It’s believed that the Muslim weavers from Gujarat come to Benaras following a feminine and settled her. Over the years the patterns, motifs and styles of two different cultures, Mughlai and North India, blended and resulted in a beautiful outcome that we all refer to as Banarasi Sarees today. 

Let’s discover the types of Banarasi Sarees

Banarasi sarees are not everyday wear sarees. They have a rich texture, heavy zari work and weigh a lot heavier than a regular saree. Also, not many people know that silk isn’t the only fabric used in a Banarasi saree. They are made in Organza (Kora), Georgette, Shatir, and Pure Silk (Katan). 

If we go by design, Banarasi Sarees are divided into these categories:

Tissue sarees are lustrous looking drapes that are woven with golden Zari Brocade. to add sheen to the saree. You’d traditional notice patterns of paisleys on the borders and pallu of the saree. 

In Butidar sarees, you’d find the thread work of silver, silk, and gold. It’s called the Ganga-Jamuna work as the shade of gold is darker in comparison to the silver threads. Ashrafi Butti, Latiffa Butti, Resham Butti Jhummar Butti, Jhari Butta, Patti Butti, Baluchar Butta, etc are some of the popular motifs. 

Cutwork sarees are comparatively inexpensive than the other Banarasi sarees. They are much like Jamdhani sarees in terms of looks but cheaper. The cutwork technique is used to prepare these sarees. Colourful floral motifs are common designs that you’ll find in Cutwork sarees. 

Tanchoi sarees are most popular amongst brides as it’s heavily woven with pallu having large paisley motifs while borders have a simple zig-zag pattern. Weft silk yarn is used in the making of this saree. 

Jangal sarees as the name suggests, they have traditional jangla motifs all over the saree running vertically. It’s considered the oldest form of Banarasi saree. 

Now when you enter the store and ask for a Banarasi Saree you know what exactly you are more confident about your purchase. You can specifically ask for your preferred type of Banarasi saree and a well informed yet stylish decision.

What’s the difference between Banarasi and Kanjivaram sarees?

They are the most popular silk sarees of India. As their names suggest Banarasi Sarees are from North India, Varanasi and Kanjivaram Sarees are from Kanchipuram in South India. 

While Kanjivaram sarees are made with pure mulberry silk thread, Banarasi Sarees are made from finely woven silk. Kanjivaram sarees have pure gold thread work throughout whereas Banarasi has gold and silver zari work.  The former is comparatively thicker and more expensive than the latter. 

There’s a pinti in Kanjivaram sarees that separates the pallu from the rest of the saree whereas Banarasi sarees have a fine border throughout the saree which is their speciality. 

Types of Kanjivaram Sarees

Kanchipuram sarees are not only made from silk but also cotton-silk and cotton fabric that is known as Kanchi cotton sarees. However, the lustrous Kanjivaram silk sarees made with pure mulberry silk are the popular ones. Its royal look, rich appeal and radiant feel make it the hot favourite amongst brides for their trousseau. Not just brides, so many celebrities have an unwavering love for Kanjivaram sarees. 

Kanjivaram sarees are the finest result of impeccable craftsmanship for almost half a century. Here are four major categories of Kanjivaram sarees:


  1. Kanjivaram Sarees with Golden Border
    Quite popular amongst young women, these plain silk sarees have a finely woven border. They look extremely classy and elegant when worn to a formal event or a traditional one. 
  2. Temple Border Sarees
    These Kanjeevaram sarees have a golden chevron border, appearing like a silhouette of a temple. The width of the border varies from style to style. Temple border sarees are evergreen and equally popular amongst young and old. 
  3. Modern Kanjeevaram Saree
    The modern Kanjeevaram sarees have contemporary motifs weaved all over and are available in modern colours too. Shades of pastels and more such fresh colours are preferred by new-age brides. 
  4. TraditionalKanjeevaram Saree
    The traditional ones have conventional motifs such as chakras, coins, checks, etc. weaved on them. These are the most picked sarees for traditional functions, weddings and bridal wears. 

Now mostly available in 6 yards, Kanjeevaram sarees are of 9 yards length traditionally. With myriads of options available now, it has become a go-to fashion choice for many young women. Especially after, Bollywood’s top actresses have started donning them to red carpet events.  

Kanjeevaram Saree on a Bollywood Red Carpet

Kanjeevaram sarees’ fandom can be gauged by its ever-swelling fandom amongst Bollywood’s a-list actresses. Yesteryear’s legendary heroin Rekha is called the Kanjeevaram queen. Her collection of Kanjeevaram sarees is beyond compare. Hema Malini, Vidya Balan and Sri Devi have sported Kanjeevaram sarees now and then. 

Not only the senior actresses but also new age celebrities are swearing by Kanjeevaram silk sarees. Deepika Padukone’s wedding sarees made the hot headlines in the fashion magazines and tabloids. Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Kangana and much other new-age actresses are also seen wearing the famous South Indian Silk saree. 

With designers experimentation more with Banarasi and Kanjeevaram sarees these days, we are getting to see more evolved versions of these traditional weaves. There are varied options available too, in terms of designs and colours.  In the last couple of years, Banarasi and Kanjeevaram sarees have marked a permanent and unwavering place in the fashion world which will remain unchallenged for a few years for sure. 


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