Have you ever seen an Indian bride? Doesn’t she look absolutely stunning on her big day? She has on exquisite jewellery and her face is lit up with a bright smile as she sits there contemplating the new beginning. But what adds to the beauty of the gorgeous bride is her million-dollar smile and the bright red Banarasi saree. For many generations in India, the word "wedding saree" has been synonymous with a Banarasi saree. We owe a debt of gratitude to the handloom clothing of Uttar Pradesh for making the special day that each Indian woman celebrates even more memorable.
So, what exactly is the story behind the beautiful handloom clothing of Uttar Pradesh? To know this, one has to take a deep dive into the history and culture of the state. Believe me when I say that just doing this seems like you're experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime trip into Indian culture and its civilisation.
Banarasi Saree—Straight from the Ghats of Banaras
The saga of handloom clothing of Uttar Pradesh is incomplete without the Banarasi Saree. Bright coloured silk woven with gold and silver thread, carefully crafted with designs and patterns inspired by nature, is what makes the saree unique. The Banarasi saree has come a long way since it was used to drape royalty; it is now a dominant force in the world of contemporary fashion. Their magnificent style and elegance make them the most sought-after sarees in the whole wide world.
The sarees are well-known for the elaborate brocade-zari work that is done with gold and silver, as well as for the skilfully woven silk and precise engravings that adorn them. What makes it more special is the hard work and precision of the artists and weavers who put their heart and soul into weaving a saree of gold and silver threads.
The Banarasi saree is a wonderful example of how Mughal and Indian cultures can be combined to create something truly unique. The impact of the Mughal empire is clearly visible in the Banarasi silk that is being used today for draping, which features Persian themes that were frequently mingled in. During their power, the Mughals were responsible for bringing in the extraordinary artistry required to create beautiful designs by weaving silk. With the growing popularity of the Banarasi silk saree, with gold and silver thread, gained popularity worldwide, Banaras became the textile capital of northern India.
Chikenkari – Art of Embroidery
From the city of Lucknow comes the work of Chikenkari. The stories of its origin are many, but they all relate to the Mughals introducing the art of chikenkari into India. Many historians are of the opinion that the art of chiken originated in Persia and was brought to the Mughal court by Mehrunissa, the imperial bride of Jahangir, who was known for her beauty and brilliance. Chikenkari is an ancient method of embroidery in which white flower designs are produced in a complicated manner using a needle and raw thread. This delicate white tracery embroidered on a sheer white cloth has been a source of happiness for the hearts of kings and commoners alike for generations. The beauty of Chikenkari is a testament to the talent and determination of the craftsmen who have passed down this method from one generation to the next.
Zardozi - The Golden Beauty
The needlework technique known as zardozi has its roots in Persia. The term comes from two Persian words: zar, which means gold, and dozi, which means embroidery. Therefore, the direct translation of the term is 'gold embroidery'. Since the time of the Rig Veda, India has been home to the intricate needlework technique. The usage of zari embroidery as a decoration on the clothing of gods is mentioned in a number of different historical accounts. Initially, the stitching was completed with wires made of pure silver and leaves made of actual gold. However, modern-day artisans now employ a combination of copper wire that has been polished to a golden or silver finish and silk thread in their work.
Ethnic Elements is an exclusive online store for handloom clothing that offers you the right combination of art and modern attire. We have travelled the length and breadth of the state to study the handloom clothing of Uttar Pradesh. Our handloom products are gathered from some of the most accomplished weavers in India, and we are proud to offer them to you. We wish to provide our customers with the opportunity to have the very best experience possible when it comes to donning an authentic handloom that has been designed to satisfy the standards and preferences of contemporary fashion. Make sure you follow us on Instagram and give us a like on Facebook so that you can get updates on our latest collection.