The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 12 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Banarasi mela in capital pulls crowd

- UP weavers line up stunning saris, yarns

Exquisite Banarasi saris with Mughal-inspired intertwining floral and foliate motifs, combined with embroidery work and brocade, have left Ranchi residents spoilt for choice at a five-day handloom exhibition-cum-sale that’s on at Union Club and Library.

Organised under the integrated handloom development scheme of the ministry of textiles in collaboration with handicraft and handloom directorate, Uttar Pradesh, the fair has 15 kiosks selling a variety of saris and dress materials. The fair will continue till Wednesday and is open from 12 to 9pm.

As many as 30 weavers, from Varanasi, Mirzapur, Mau, Chandoli, Gorakhpur, Jhansi and Kanpur, have turned up for the event.

“Our government has come to our rescue. We are finally getting an opportunity to interact with our customers directly and apprise them about our age-old skills,” said Heydullah, a weaver from Chiraigaon Hasthkargha cluster in Varanasi, who is offering Banarasi saris at a throwaway price of Rs 800.

Atul Kumar, a representative of the handicraft directorate, agreed. “The handloom sector has suffered a lot as buyers tend to look for new designs every time they go shopping. We are trying our best to incorporate fresh designs… . This platform will help us attract new customers who will appreciate our products.”

Wasim Ahmed, another weaver from Chaksikti Hasthkargha cluster in Azamgarh, too, looked hopeful. “Our embroidery on dress materials and silk saris are stunners. A mix of both traditional and contemporary designs, there is no reason for not liking our handloom products,” he said.

Visitors appreciated the saris, especially the hand-spun products. “Not only is the material good, most of the saris are light and can be worn on any occasion,” said Rama Kumari.

Others praised the effort to showcase Banarasi saris, which are rarely available in local stores. “Of course, the quality is good and prices reasonable. What more do you want? This fair has given us a chance to splurge on original Banarasis,” said Babita Rai, another happy visitor.