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Banarasi Silk Sarees 101: Everything You Need To Know About Them!

BY Sakshi | 04 Dec, 2023 | 220375 views | 16 min read

Banarasi silk sarees are Indian sarees made in Varanasi, a city which is also called Benares or Banaras. The sarees are among the finest sarees in India and are known. And you'll find very few people who don't like them! There's something about a rich Banarasi saree which is classic- something you just cannot go wrong with, whether you're including them in your bridal trousseau or choosing to wear it on your big day, and trust us, while Banarasi lehengas might be a recent trend on the wedding day, Benarasi sarees have been worn for ages and ages by brides, and even when they do today, do really stand out in the crowd! The peculiarity hidden in the prints of a Banarasi Saree is one of a kind.

Image via Tessa and Vishnu

Yes, there is a reason why some of the biggest designers in the country still include Banarasi in their creations, and we have all the info and inspiration you'd need all in one post! One ought to have a Banarasi Silk Saree for a wedding or else they’ll be missing something which carries a lot of grace.

Image via Kasvi and Sunay

The origin of Banarasi sarees

Banarasi sarees came into existence during the Mughal era when Muslim artisans and craftsmen chose Banaras as the place that blended well with their culture and started weaving silk Banarasi sarees there. Their special characteristics are Mughal-inspired designs such as intricate intertwining floral and foliate motifs, kalga and bel, a string of upright leaves called jhallar at the outer, edge of the border is a characteristic of these sarees. Depending on the intricacy of its designs and patterns, a saree can take from 15 days to a month and sometimes up to six months to complete.

There are various types of Banarasi Sarees that a bride can look up to and not just one. Silk is not the only form of Banarasi saree you get. There are different fabric varieties of Banarasi sarees, namely:

Image via Shutter Sound

1. Pure silk (Katan)

Katan is a plain silk fabric. This has woven pure silk threads which are twisted and then woven into pure silk sarees. While today these sarees are produced using looms, during ancient times Katan sarees were handwoven using handlooms. The fabric is extremely soft and fine that has made Benarasi capture love all over again.

2. Shattir

As we all know that brides require a touch of modernity in their outfits which makes Shattir, a perfect fabric to go to. Shattir is the sole fabric used to create contemporary and exclusive designs under the name Banarasi.

3. Organza (Kora) designed with zari and silk.

Brocades are the most beautiful and richly woven fabric where the patterns are patterned with different designs made by warp and weft. Silver threads are coated with gold and are then woven closely around a silk yarn to create zari brocade. This cloth is suitable for a Banarasi Saree for a wedding bride to make her look ravishing.

4. Georgette Banarasi Sarees

As you might know already, Georgette is a finely woven light fabric with a simple and plain weave. This is more popular for contemporary sarees. 

5. Resham Benarasi sarees

Resham Benarasi sarees focus primarily on resham (silk thread) embroidery rather than heavy zari work. These sarees are softer in appearance and are often chosen for a more subtle and understated look.

Banarasi sarees are also segregated according to the design process, and the different categories are:

6. Jangla Banarasi Sarees

The word Jangla has been an adaptation from the word Jungle which can be explained in this particular print which spreads a vegetation motif across the saree. It is a type of brocade characterized by intricate weaving.

6. Tanchoi Banarasi Sarees

This is the beautiful ‘Jamawar’ style paisleys or Labyrinth woven by Zari. This is another kind of Benarasi saree which is very popular for weddings and artisans from Banaras weave patterns on these sarees with colourful weft silk yarns. The pallu of this sari is often decorated with large motifs of paisleys while the border might have criss-cross patterns.

7. Cutwork Banarasi Sarees

These are the sarees which are not as expensive as the ones mentioned above, basically the less expensive version of Jamdani sarees. This one is made using the cut work technique on plain texture using some cotton mixed with the silk. The most popular motifs which are featured in cut work sarees are jasmine, marigold flowers, creepers and leaves. 

Image via Anita Dongre

8. Tissue

These have the most delicate look and work of them all. These are delicately woven sarees with golden zari weft which adds sheen to these tissue sarees. The popular designs used in tissue sarees are golden zari woven lotus floating in a radiant pond, where the water drops are designed with a cut-work technique. The border and pallu of the sari are patterned with self-woven paisleys.

9. Butidar Banarasi Sarees

Probably the most popular and distinctive, Butidar sarees are richly woven, and brocaded with threads of gold, silver and silk. Gold is darker in shade as compared to silver threads. Therefore the weavers of Banaras refer to this variety of brocade patterning as Ganga-Jamuna. Motifs are locally popularized as Angoor Bail, Ashraffi Butti, Latiffa Butti, Reshem Butti Jhummar Butti, Jhari Butta, Patti Butti, Baluchar Butta and many more.

10. Jute Banarasi Sarees

Jute Benarasi sarees incorporate jute threads along with silk, creating a rustic and earthy texture. These sarees are often adorned with zari borders and pallu, balancing the natural look with a touch of opulence.

11. Amru Benarasi Sarees

Amru Benarasi sarees feature rich gold or silver zari work on a contrasting coloured background. These sarees often have broad zari borders and a grand pallu, making them ideal choices for weddings and grand events.

12. Jamdani Banarasi Sarees

Jamdani Benarasi sarees are known for their fine muslin-like texture and artistic floral motifs. These sarees have exquisite jamdani work, where the motifs are intricately woven into the fabric, creating a seamless blend of pattern and texture.

So now that you know the history and the types of Benarasi sarees, one question is bound to crop up!

How is a Banarasi saree different from a Kanjivaram?

Image via Tessa and Vishnu

Both Banarasi and Kanjivaram are two of the finest silk sarees in India, which are popular globally as well. Their popularity has no bounds as mentioned people from all over the world crave such a print to be added to their wardrobe other than the Indian Brides. While a lot of them might seem similar on first glance, the basic difference between these sarees is their origin and their design, which is usually culturally-inspired. The print would look extremely graceful be it the brightest of the culture. Not just the brides from South India but all over the country, there are brides who include pure banarasi silk sarees or a Kanjivaram saree in their trousseau. While Kanjivaram sarees belong to South India, Kancheepuram specifically in Tamil Nadu, Banarasi sarees find their origin in Varanasi or Banaras in North India. While in a Kanjivaram saree golden thread is used for weaving designs, Banarasi sarees have intricate gold and silver work on them using zari. They both come in a variety of designs and motifs and not to forget, colours! We have gone all Ga-Ga about the Banarasi and Kanjivaram print as it proves to be one of a kind and a must in your wedding trousseau. Either of them can simply rock the look every bride dreamed of.

How is a Banarasi saree different from a Paithani saree?

Image via Ekaya

Both sarees are made from silk, but the type of silk and zari work differs. Benarasi sarees often use finely woven silk with heavy zari work, while Paithani sarees use pure silk with intricate, subtle zari work. Benarasi sarees are known for their heavy and elaborate zari work, covering large portions of the saree. Paithani sarees, on the other hand, have a more delicate zari border and pallu with intricate motifs. Benarasi sarees feature large and ornate motifs, whereas Paithani sarees incorporate elegant peacock and flower motifs inspired by nature.

What kind of blouses look good with Banarasi sarees?

So with brides getting more and more adventurous with their blouses, there are a lot of options to choose from or experiment with your Banarasi saree. But here are the most popular ones we came across!

1. Embroidered blouse for banarasi saree

Red Embroidered blouse with Banarasi Saree

This one is the most popular with brides, especially because they add a lot more to the bridal look and they enhance banarasi saree look for wedding.

2. Simple sleeveless blouse for a banarasi saree

Shilpa Shetty's black banarasi saree

Sleeveless blouses look chic and modern with a traditional option like Banarasi sarees- and whether you're matching the colour or opting for something contrasting, looks great either way!

3. Full sleeved plain blouse for a banarasi saree

Image via Amruta Khanvilkar

This is another subtle and simple look to pick, wearing light jewellery which is a good idea for winter weddings!

4. Plain contrasting blouse in lighter shade

Contrasting blouse with Banarasi saree

Whether you want to pick a shade lighter, darker or a new shade altogether, this is another great blouse idea for Banarasi sarees.

5. Matching border elbow length blouse for banarasi saree

Image via Pinterest

The most popular and common version, this is one classic blouse design with a Banarasi saree that'll always be in vogue!

6. Brocade blouse

Golden Brocade work blouse with banarasi saree

These plain ones in brocade look dainty and nice, and are a trendy new way to mix and match and wear your Banarasi saree. 

So now that we have given you enough gyaan on Benarasi silk sarees, lets show you some brides who rocked these sarees instead of lehengas on their big day, and styled and carried them off to perfection!

What all colours can a Bride wear in Banarasi Sarees?

Image via merrygohearts

1. Red

Red is the king of all colours when it comes to bridal wear and gets the utmost attention. The colour makes the print outshine and rich of all.

2. Pink

Pink can make a Banarasi Saree look gorgeous on a Bride. This shade would look perfect for a day wedding. You can pick a wedding saree in any shade of pink, or in combination of different colors.

3. Yellow

If you are looking for a lighter hue for a pre wedding function such as Haldi, then you cannot go wrong with yellow. The shade makes you pop up and lively any time you get to wear it.

4. Green

The shade can be worn in both lighter or darker shade depending on the event or timing of the event. Green makes the print shine all over the fabric just like the colour Red.

Not a fan of red or pink? Check out these unique hues in benarasi!

Also, The Newest Benarasi Colour Combos We Spotted In The Market!

What are the types of Jewellery to wear with Banarasi Sarees?

Image via Tanushree and Shreeraj

1. Temple Jewellery

This type of Jewellery has been generated from Southern parts of India as well and goes perfect with a Banarasi Saree.

2. Kundan

Kundan Jewellery is the most popular and liked by all. It matches with every colour and can make your look even better.

3. Meenakari

This type of Jewellery has originated from Rajasthan and is offered in different colours using different stones in contrast with the saree and even more traditional.

4. Gold

Do not dismiss stunning traditional gold pieces that work like a dream with a benarasi saree!

Designers to consider for a gorgeous Banarasi drape

Sabyasachi Mukherjee★ 4.9

Isha Ambani in a Sabyasachi

As far as contemporary designers are concerned, he does some amazing ones which are not only big hits with celebrities, but real brides too. His Banarasi sarees have a big touch of the traditional, and if that is something which you're looking for, then Sabyasachi has some pretty ones from those in bright reds to deep purples. His Benarasi for wedding would be a tick off from the checklist of every bride.

Anita Dongre★ 4.9

Kajol in an Anita Dongre

If you're looking for a Banarasi saree that's different from the traditional drapes you usually get to see, then hit her up! She has some beautiful Banarasi sarees interpreted in contemporary georgette drapes, with her signature Gota Patti work, dori, pearl and zardosi work, which looks modern and precious! Plus, check out those offbeat shades! She is not one of those to pick common shades but colours that are so different which makes her designs something to die for.

Ekaya Banaras★ 4.6

Ekaya designer banarasi saree

They have some gorgeous sarees with a modern touch to them, which are perfect for new-age brides! Their weaves are unique, and come in so many colours and patterns that it can be hard to make a choice! But stunning nevertheless, we see quite a few brides pick this label for their big day!

Raw Mango ★ 4.4

Raw Mango Bridal Banarasi Saree

Raw Mango by Sanjay Garg has some gorgeous Banarasi drapes- after all, Banarasi is their thing! From offbeat colours to patterns, they have something for new age brides which is unique and makes a statement!

Sailesh Singhania★ 4.3

Sailesh Singhania is a celebrated Indian fashion designer known for his exquisite creations in traditional handwoven textiles, especially Benarasi sarees. With a passion for reviving ancient weaving techniques and promoting the rich heritage of Indian textiles, Singhania has carved a niche for himself in the fashion industry. His designs often blend traditional craftsmanship with contemporary aesthetics, creating timeless pieces that showcase the elegance and artistry of Indian handlooms.

Ayush Kejriwal

Ayush Kejriwal Bridal Banarasi Saree

His Banarasi sarees look fresh and different, with some gorgeous hues and interesting patterns! He even has some amazing sarees in Banarasi with embroidery on them too, and if you're looking for something unique that's not been tried out by too many brides, then give this designer a shot!

Other Designers & Stores

Sacred Weaves★ 5

This one is a hidden gem! They have so much variety, and the prices are an absolute steal for the fabric and styles! For other timeless heirloom sarees, this is your label to go to!

Tilfi Banaras★ 4.9

Their sarees are contemporary while still having a touch of the traditional. The best of both worlds!

Kankatala★ 5

This one needs no introduction! It's the queen of saree labels in Hyderabad and its absolutely stunning!

Second Skin★ 5

If you are looking for bridal benarasi sarees in unique hues, Second Skin is the place to go!

Khinkhwab- The Essence of Banaras★ 5

For brides who want work on their benerasi sarees, you cannot go wrong with Khinkhwab- The Essence Of Banaras!

Kanchi Kamakshi Silks★ 5

Don't let the name fool you, they have a stunning range of benarasi silk sarees

Ratanshi Kheraj

This one is the true secret of absolutely gorgeous sarees in Mumbai. Whatever your heart wants, Ratanshi Khiraj will have it for you!

That not it, there are many other well-known designers who have some beautiful collections of benarasi sarees, click here to shop for banarasi sarees online

Can a bride only wear Designer Benarasi Sarees?

Image via Khushi Kapoor

It is not necessary for a bride to wear only designer for their wedding. Whether to wear a designer piece or not totally depends upon the bride's choice and the budget they have in mind. Benarsai sarees for weddings come in different price ranges. You can either wear a simple saree with heavy jewellery and make your look perfect or you can wear something heavy and go light with the jewellery.

Check out Banarasi Sarees We Found Online For Less Than 25K

What can one wear other than a saree?

Image via Weaver Story ★ 4.9

Apart from the traditional benarasi sarees, you can also wear these stunning ensembles that are made of a benarasi weave.

1. Benarasi Lehengas

Benarasi lehengas look super grand, without you having to carry all that weight. They are royal, they are opulent and look so so stunning on your wedding day!

Check out how to DIY a benarasi lehenga and where to source your fabric from!

2. Benarasi Indo Western Outfits

From Jumpsuits to suits, you can take your pick. For smaller events and post-wedding events, whenever you need to look like a million bucks without looking like an OTT bride, these benarasi outfits will come to your rescue

Check out 10 Legit Cool Girl Ways to Do a Benarasi! *Apart from the Usual Sarees & Lehengas!

3. Benarasi Dupattas

Perfect addition to your bridal trousseau or even for gifting. Again, very rich looking but weighs next to nothing. We recommend adding atleast two variants of these to your trousseau!

Check out 8 fab labels for the most stunning benarasi dupattas!

Some Real-Bride Inpiration For All You Brides-To-be!

Classic Red Benarasi Saree

Image via Priyanka & Jeevith

This bride's bright pink Banarasi saree

Bright Pink Bridal Banarasi Saree

Image via Neeraj & Maya

Dia Mirza Wore The Most Stunning Raw Mango Benarasi For Her Wedding!

This bride who wore Benarasi from head to toe!

Red Bridal Banarasi Saree Bridal Banarasi saree

Image via karunaezara

This bride in her light pink Banarasi saree on her reception

Light Pink Banarasi saree for weddings

Image via Samaira & Dilkash

This bride's mix and matched print Banarasi saree

 Printed bridal banarasi saree

Image via @shreyasenphotography

This gorgeous fuchsia Banarasi saree

Fuchsia banarasi saree with embroidery

Image via Dhanika Choksi Photography★ 4.9

This bride's beautiful orange banarasi saree

Orange bridal banarasi saree

Image via Lakshya Manwani Photography

This bride who wore a Banarasi South Indian style!

Red banarasi saree

Image via Pooja & Vivek

This bride in her red Banarasi saree and Gujarati drape

Banarasi saree with gujarati drape

Image via ekayabanaras

How to take care of your Banarasi sarees

Image via Masoom Minawala

Banarasi sarees are silk sarees, which require a lot of maintenance on your part. Here are some tips and tricks which can help:

  • Do not leave the saree hanging on a hanger for too long as the crease could become permanent. 
  • Try keeping them in a dark spot in your cupboard after wrapping them up in a muslin cloth.
  • The muslin cloth allows the air to pass through the fabric but keeps the moisture away which can damage the saree.
  • Keeping them in a dark corner can help avoid discolouration of the saree. 
  • Iron the saree with utmost care on a low setting or get it steam ironed.
  • Water and perfume cannot be sprayed on certain Banarasi sarees as it could stain them.
  • Getting these expensive sarees dry cleaned professionally is a better idea than trying to clean them at home. 

These sarees can never disappoint you and even though it has turned out to be every bride’s go to look, you ought to see something different every time which is the reason for its popularity these days that A Banarasi has become a must for your wedding day.

So, got all the info and inspiration you need? Browse the WMG Photo Gallery for more bridal trends and looks to take ideas from!

Also, check out Banarasi lehengas and here is a bride who designed her own bridal lehenga with traditional Banarasi weaves!

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