The Story of Banarsi Silk

Banarasi Silk, widely recognized as Benarasi Silk, is a refined variety of Silk originating from Varanasi (Banaras), Uttar Pradesh, India. The sarees woven from this exquisite Silk are referred to as Banarasi Silk Sarees and have earned remarkable fame both within India and across the globe for their exceptional quality and craftsmanship. It is  well-engrained in the rich culture of India and has been a part of it for centuries. Back then, it was made particularly for the royals. Every Banarasi Saree used to be adorned with real gold and silver threads, and this process used to take a whole year in the making of Banarasi Saree. It is also a pure symbol of craftsmanship. Historical evidence demonstrates that the Mughals were responsible for developing the Banarasi weaving industry to make this reach its highest peaks. They brought this skill to India and added a whole new spirit to the rich culture of India, similarly.

Pakistan and the Banarasi silk

Moreover, Pakistan has also been famous for silk weaving since the first millennium B.C. in the Middle Ages. The main centers where the fabrics are woven in large quantities are Orangi town and Shershah of Karachi city. After the partition, many weavers migrated from Banaras and Delhi to Pakistan and established workshops in Karachi, Lahore, and Khairpur. Though, after the partition of Bangladesh in 1971, most of the weavers left Khairpur. People who were originally from India migrated to Karachi and settled in Orangi town, which has developed into one of the largest land loom markets in Pakistan. The skilled weavers from this town continued weaving the traditional designs and also incorporated newer patterns, and their inspiration has always been from the Mughal skills. Furthermore, in Pakistan, Banarasi fabric making is mainly done in the underdeveloped parts of Karachi, such as Orangi town. This town has been a great Centre for sustaining the beautiful Banarasi craft. There is no doubt that cottage industries play a vital role in the development of any economy. In Pakistan, the Banaras cottage industry plays a significant role in making the Silk fabric popular worldwide. Banaras town in Orangi was established in 1964; the weavers and their families settled in this town with the ability of silk making. In contemporary times these dedicated artisans practice this traditional business and weave beautiful fabric.
It is also true that with each day, the profit of Banarasi silk is decreasing because of the fluctuating cost of production, huge taxes, and lack of interest of the government towards the cottage industry. The artisans of this industry need support and appreciation to continue putting their hard work into making this beautiful art.

Takeaway

Banarasi Silk stands as a timeless symbol of India& rich cultural heritage and exceptional craftsmanship. Originating from Varanasi, this fine Silk has adorned royalty for centuries, with Banarasi Silk Sarees crafted meticulously using real gold and silver threads. The influence of the Mughals further elevated this art, spreading its legacy to Pakistan, where skilled weavers in places like Orangi town have kept the tradition alive. Despite challenges like production costs and lack of government support, dedicated artisans persist in weaving this exquisite fabric, emphasizing the need for appreciation and assistance to sustain this beautiful and significant art form.