Varanasi is the place where we find master craftsmen of traditional Banaras saree handloom weavers, brass utensil makers, goldsmiths, silversmiths, terracotta, metal work, Carpet and Durries weavers, Musical Instrument makers and wooden toy makers who have been recognized and appreciated by our honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Youngsters of Varanasi are so enthusiastic, energetic and quite liberal.
Art is taken in a different attribute when it comes to the ancient city Varanasi. The lion capital of the Ashokan pillar from Sarnath, the Buddha stupa, toys and terracotta sculptures are some of the discovered artifacts at Rajghat, Varanasi in history Varanasi can be represented has a museum of Indian art and culture. We still see the old traditional antiquated buildings and lifestyle of people in this 21st century, thus the title “Cultural Capital of India”. Varanasi portraits her art on the streets with various co-ordination of forms, like Rajasthani, Mugal and company art on the front walls of the buildings. Wall paintings are spread across the city, which contributes for the beauty of the city. Previously paintings were discovered on the stone blocks and walls of several cave walls in and around the city like Rajgarh region, Gwalior, Manikpur, Singhanpur, Bhopal, Mirzapur and many places.
Varanasi or Banaras word itself correlates to the famous Banarasi Silk Sarees. Silk saree weaving was adopted by the migrant’s Guajarati silk weavers. Varanasi is very prosperous in cotton textile industry from ages. They are very popular in typical Varanasi Zari/Zardozi embroidery and Brocade weaving. They are about more than 12 lakh hard working and skillful people associated in the handloom saree weaving cottage industry in Varanasi. Banaras silk has gained demand in the international market.
Wood and Lac Turnery is one of the crafts were the people of Varanasi is so familiar with. In Hindu weddings the grooms apply vermillion powder onto the bride’s forehead in the center from the traditional Sindora (Traditional container for vermillion). The Sindora is made out of the eucalyptus wood in lac turnery process. Likewise many new designs of toys, bangles and many designs of containers are crafted.
Wood carving in Varanasi is very special and unique for its amazing detail carving of tiny mythological characters (Ravana, Ram, Krishna and many more), animals, birds, gods and goddess. They look so bright and fancy to display in cabinet. The articles are painted with bright colors and to enhance it black strokes are made.
Repousse is one of the art forms done on the metal sheet. Repousse is nothing but metal sheet decorative engraving to reveal the design relief. This craft is also one of the traditional crafts on Varanasi. Floral and flower motifs are most repeated in this craft. This craft is made on utensils, trays, plates, masks for gods and goddesses, bowls, ornamental doors for temples, ritual utensils and most of all temple accessories.
Carpets and Dhurries of Varanasi are world famous, high quality and most of it is exported to European countries. Wool and silk yarns are used in knotting them on cotton warp base in vertical loom. The knots are in Persian and Tibetan style. There are multiple processes followed through to make one carpet like spinning, dyeing, designing and weaving. Most of the carpet weavers in Varanasi are farmers. This craft initially began at the time of Mughals for prayer rugs and huge carpets to spread it around in the meeting halls.
Meenakari is a form of art in which enamels of bright colors are used in ornamenting the intricately designed metal articles. Many of the jewelry artisans have taken up Meenakari art because of its demand and beauty. The metal base is engraved enough for the bright color enamels to set in place, later it is kept inside the furnace for fusing and hardening the meena. Enamel colours are nothing but metal oxides mixed with a tint (chemicals with color contents) of finely powdered glass where the oxide content controls the shade obtained.