The city of Varanasi or Benaras or Kashi, has always turned out to be the opposite of the mindset that people go there with. The city’s name is synonymous with many of the old temples, fabrics and exquisite pans. When Gautam Buddha was the prince of Kasi kingdom, it flourished in the textile business especially fabrics of silk and cotton. During the 5th and 6th century, the exquisitely woven cotton fabric of Kasi was most sought after all over the world. The city specializes in Zari and Brocade textiles which was an outcome of innovations undertaken in the 19th century when the weavers from Gujarat migrated to Kasi. This development led the city to new heights during the Mughal Empire especially during the reign of Akbar.
Over the years, the textile industry in this city has seen various changes in demands and flavor in terms of colors, borders, motifs, patterns and styles as well. The fashion trends now revive these traditional patterns by mixing them with the latest style and colors. The Saris are named depending on the patterns woven on them or the motifs such as Pure silk, Brocade Sari, Jangla Saris, etc. The special Brocade of Benaras fabric is a weave in which the thrusting of Zari threads at regular intervals is done to create the pattern. Earlier, a loom called Jalla was used for weaving of this brocade but now Jacquard looms are used. Another innovation of Benaras called ‘Jamdani’ is created by laying designs by hands without the usage of any mechanism and it works in cotton only. Varanasi has two types of weavers- Alaipura who are known to experiment with new designs and techniques and Madanpura who do delicate and fine work which is neater to than those of Alaipura fabric which are purposely kept uneven and rough.