The History of Banarasi Lehenga: A Deep Dive into its Roots

The Banarasi Lehenga , also known as the Banarasi Ghagra Choli, is a traditional Indian garment that originated in the city of Varanasi, also known as Banaras, in Uttar Pradesh. This exquisite attire is a popular choice for weddings, formal events, and religious ceremonies, and is highly prized for its intricate designs and luxurious fabrics. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of the Banarasi Lehenga, tracing its roots back to ancient India and examining its evolution through the centuries.

The history of the Banarasi Lehenga can be traced back to the Vedic period, which began around 1500 BCE. During this time, the people of the Indian subcontinent were known for their rich cultural heritage and artistic sensibilities, and this is reflected in their clothing as well. The earliest examples of Indian textiles were made from materials such as cotton, silk, and wool, and featured intricate embroidery and other decorative elements.

Over time, the art of weaving became more refined, and Varanasi emerged as a centre of excellence for silk production. It is believed that the city's silk industry dates back to the 14th century when it was established by a Muslim weaver named Yusuf Ali. Under his leadership, the weavers of Varanasi developed a unique style of silk weaving that blended Indian and Persian motifs to create intricate designs with a distinctively Indian flavor.

One of the hallmarks of the Banarasi Lehenga is its use of pure silk, which is renowned for its luster, sheen, and durability. The silk used in Banarasi Lehengas is typically sourced from South India and China and is woven using a technique known as brocade. Brocade is a type of textile that is woven on a special loom using a combination of silk and metallic threads, which creates a raised pattern on the surface of the fabric.

The patterns used in Banarasi Lehengas are often inspired by nature, with motifs such as flowers, leaves, and birds featuring prominently. Other popular designs include paisleys, geometric shapes, and abstract patterns, all of which are executed with great skill and precision. The embroidery used in Banarasi Lehengas is also highly detailed, with intricate patterns worked in gold and silver thread.

One of the most famous examples of the Banarasi Lehenga is the one worn by the late actress Sridevi in the 1983 Bollywood film "Himmatwala". The outfit, which featured a heavily embroidered choli and a full skirt with a gold border, became an instant sensation and set a new standard for glamour and sophistication in Indian fashion.

Today, the Banarasi Lehenga continues to be a popular choice for brides and other formal occasions. While the basic design of the outfit has remained unchanged over the centuries, modern designers have introduced new variations that incorporate contemporary elements such as metallic hues, off-shoulder styles, and crop tops.

The colors used in the Banarasi Lehengas are also significant, and they often reflect the traditional symbolism associated with Indian weddings. Red, for example, is considered an auspicious color and is often used in bridal attire. Other popular colors for the Banarasi Lehenga include pink, gold, green, and blue.

One of the key factors behind the enduring popularity of the Banarasi Lehenga is its association with Indian tradition and heritage. The outfit is deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of the country and is seen as a symbol of feminine grace, beauty, and elegance. It is often worn at weddings and other auspicious occasions, where it is regarded as a mark of good fortune and prosperity.

In addition to its cultural significance, the Banarasi Lehenga is also prized for its quality and craftsmanship. Each garment is painstakingly crafted by skilled artisans who have honed their skills over many years, using traditional techniques that have been passed down through the generations. The result is a garment that is not only beautiful to look at but also durable and long-lasting.

Banarasi silk lehenga is a beautiful and delicate piece of clothing that needs proper care and attention to keep it looking good for a long time. Here are some tips to take care of your Banarasi Silk Lehenga :

  1. Dry Clean Only: Banarasi silk lehenga should always be dry cleaned. Do not try to wash it at home, as it can damage the delicate fabric and embellishments.
  2. Store it properly: After wearing, hang the lehenga on a padded hanger to avoid any creases. If you need to store it for a long time, wrap it in a clean muslin cloth and store it in a cool, dry place.
  3. Avoid direct sunlight: Do not expose the lehenga to direct sunlight, as it can cause the colours to fade and the fabric to weaken.
  4. Avoid perfume and deodorant: Do not spray perfume or deodorant directly on the lehenga, as it can leave stains on the fabric.
  5. Handle with care: While wearing or handling the lehenga, be gentle and avoid pulling or stretching the fabric. Also, avoid contact with sharp objects, as they can damage the fabric.
  6. Iron with care: If you need to iron the lehenga, use a low heat setting and place a clean cotton cloth on top of the fabric to avoid direct contact with the iron.


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    Author - Aditi Bapna