Thursday 29 September 2016

Benarasi Shalu

Benarasi saree is a speciality saree made in Varanasi, popularly known as Benaras.
These sarees are considered one of the finest sarees of India and of late you will see a lot of Indian Fashion Designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee using Benarasi silks in their collection.

Benaras is believed to have developed as a textile centre when it was the capital of Kashi, a kingdom whose prince was Siddhartha (Gautam Buddha).
During the famine of 1603, a lot of weavers from Gujarat were forced to migrate to Varanasi for survival and it is believed that brocade and silk embroidered fabric weaving started here somewhere in the 17th century.
This art of weaving Benarasi received maximum encouragement during the Mughal era, and hence we see a lot of Mughlai influence in the designs and patterns of a Benarasi sarees like florals and jaal.

The Maharashtrian variant of the Benarasi saree is called a Benarasi Shalu, and how it became popular in Maharashtra is quite interesting too. It is believed that the Peshwa of Pune had visited Varanasi during the reign of Shahu Maharaj, and discovered this saree. He brought this saree back home and handed it over to the Paithani weavers in Yeola and asked them to make something similar.
That is why the Benarasi Shalu bears resemblance to Paithani, since it was woven by Paithani Weavers.

Depending upon the intricacy, a Benarasi Shalu takes 15 days to a month to complete, and some may even take as long as six months to complete. And that is what makes these sarees special. They are hand woven and intricately made.

Last month I had the opportunity to adorn a Benarasi Shalu. It was my cousin's wedding and i knew I wanted to wear a Benarasi Shalu for the wedding.
But due to my travel plans I did not have time to shop and hence ended up borrowing one from my sister.
My sister's Benarasi Shalu has to be the most beautiful saree I have seen till date, and believe me when I say it, as I have seen quite a lot of sarees.
The fabric of this saree is thick, smooth and heavy. The brocade/zari is a dull gold shade and has the most beautiful motifs and patterns. I did feel like royalty while wearing this saree. Scroll down and see for yourself.


  1. I love Banarasi fact I wore a blood red Banarasi at my wedding! You are looking fabulous!

  2. Sundar shalu loved to read abt the history

  3. Wow what a lovely sari and you wear it so gracefully!

  4. thats such a beautiful saree,love the color
    keep in touch

  5. Thanks for writing about Benarasi sarees and the weavers who carve intricate art. Hope we can give the weavers what is due to them.

  6. Beautiful images!! You can get to see a variety of these sarees by visit:

  7. Clearly you guys got tough cometition from because otherwise you guys wouldnt have been able to bag this story so easily!



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