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Differences between Kanjivaram and Banarasi Sarees


Differences between Kanjivaram and Banarasi Sarees

A saree can be described as an exquisitely woven, unstitched piece of fabric whose origin dates back to the 11th century CE. However, this simple fabric has cultural significance, ecological implications, and historical pertinence, which are much deeper. Often passed down to younger generations as family heirlooms, sarees emerged as the epitome of ethical fashion much before the trend's modern genesis.

Indian sarees are as diverse as the hues of the redolent flowers in a garden. From the regal weaves of the Patan Patola sarees of Gujarat, and Bhagalpur's elegant Tussar silk sarees, to Pochampally's distinct Ikkat weaves and Assam's Muga silk sarees with intricate brocade designs- the choices are diverse. The sarees of India bear versatile designs unique to its region of origin and socio-cultural heritage.

Kanjivaram and Banarasi Silk sarees are two of the most sought-after weaves in India. Their aurulent designs, woven into stunning, colorful hues, and mesmerizing zari borders, have made the sarees a wedding season staple. Despite the similarities, both sarees are quite distinct, with subtle, nuanced qualities.

This article provides insight into the key differences between Kanjivaram and Banarasi sarees.

What is a Kanjivaram Saree?

The origin of Kanjivaram sarees can be traced back to the quaint temple town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, renowned for its textile industry. Kanjivaram sarees, alternatively known as Kanchipuram sarees, are exclusively woven from pure, luxuriant mulberry silk. This silk is locally known as 'Kanchi Pattu' in Tamil. Kanjivaram sarees are delicate and satiny, with a rich silk count.

What is a Banarasi Saree?

Amongst many things, Varanasi, which is touted as India's holy city, is also known as the birthplace of Banarasi sarees. These sarees are most renowned for their ornate gilded or silvern zari work. A medley of Indian and Mughal weaving styles, Banarasi sarees often bear Mughal motifs and exuberant embroidery.

Differences Between Kanjivaram and Banarasi Sarees

Now that you have the essential introduction to both types of weaves, let's explore the key differences between Kanjivaram and Banarasi sarees.

Attribute Kanjivaram Saree Banarasi Saree
Place of Origin Originated in the temple town of Kancheepuram, in Tamil Nadu. Weavers settled into this region almost four centuries ago. Originated in the holy city, Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh, during the Mughal era, when Muslim artisans began settling in the region.
Use of Fabric Made from soft pure mulberry silk, brought from Karnataka, which is first dipped in rice water and dried. The Zari is first entwined with a silver thread and then dipped in 22-carat gold. Pure Banarasi silk saree is made from fine silk, known as Katan silk. Banarasi sarees made of other materials, such as Georgette, are also quite popular.
Design Kanjivaram saree motifs reflect the town's famous temple art and nature. The prominent Kanjivaram motifs are Mayilkan or peacock's eye, Mallinaggu or jasmine motif, Rudraksha, and the Ganga-Jamuni design with a dual-colored border. Most known for the Jhalar design resembling a fringe pattern with leaves on the edges. The floral motifs are known as Kalga and Bel. Minakari and Jaal embroidery are also commonly found in Benarasi sarees. It could also feature Mughal motifs such as Ambi and Domak.
Identifying Real Silk Saree Pluck a few silk threads and burn them. If the saree is authentic, the ash left behind by the burnt silk thread would smell like burnt leather or hair. Alternatively, you can also check for the silk mark label awarded only to pure Kanjivaram silk sarees by the Silk Board of India. Pure hand-woven Banarasi saree shall have floats on its reverse side. Alternatively, you can look for pin holes in the saree's selvage. Finally, make sure it has an authentic silk mark label.
Types The most common Kanjivaram sarees are traditional Kanjivaram, plain Kanjivaram with golden border, temple design Kanjivaram, and floral design Kanjivaram. Banarasi sarees can be segregated based on the weaving technique employed. These include Kadhua sarees, Kadiyal sarees, Minakari sarees, and Tanchoi sarees.
Colors Kanjivaram sarees are worn during festive occasions and are generally available in bright hues such as crimson red, emerald green, and royal blue. The famous bridal Banarasi sarees come in deep shades of red. However, weaves of different hues and shades, from glimmering purple to subtle beige, are available.
Special Features The body of the saree and its border are woven in different colors. In a pure Kanjivaram saree, the body and border are woven separately. Later, they are joined together through a process known as Petni. Banarasi sarees, at times, use motifs inspired by diverse Indian weaving traditions. These include the Banarasi Paithani, Jamawar, and Patola saree.

 

Final Words

The critical differences between Kanjivaram and Banarasi sarees are in the fabric, motifs, and weaving techniques employed. Whether you are looking for a fascinating weave for your special day or a dazzling festive attire, these silk sarees would be a perfect addition to your wardrobe. If you are rather baffled about finding a trusted shop from which to buy pure silk sarees, you needn't look much further. Pure Elegance has curated a catalog of the finest silk sarees.

FAQs

Banarasi Silk Saree vs. Kanchipuram: Which is More Preferable?

Both weaves have several distinct characteristics that make them unique. So, it boils down to personal preferences. If you prefer traditional Indian motifs over Mughal-inspired motifs, you can choose Kanjivaram sarees.

How can I identify pure Kanjivaram silk?

You can identify pure Kanjivaram silk using these methods:
  • The Burn Test: Burn a few silk threads from the saree. If the ash emanates an odor similar to that of burned leather or hair, it is pure silk.
  • Silk mark: Ensure the saree comes with an authentic silk label issued by the Silk Board of India.

How can I identify pure Banarasi silk?

Pure Banarasi silk can be identified using these methods:
  • Reverse Test: In pure hand-woven saree, you can find floats on the reverse end of the saree
  • Look for pinholes in the saree's hem, which is a sign of authenticity.
  • Ensure the saree has an authentic silk mark label issued by the Silk Board of India.

Article By : Sudip Ghose


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