The disappearing art of hand weaving

VARANASI, INDIA

Offered by: Vinay Tripathi (Street photographer, journalist and local Varanasi expert)

$250 for entire experience

up to 3 people

approx. 3 hours

Travel photography

Want to learn about the ancient and exquisite art of Benarasi silk weaving?

Varanasi has an ancient history of textile history and designing. The most exquisite silks and gold threads are woven by the weavers of Varanasi, best known for their skill in brocade weaving, locally known as Kinkhabs. The origins of this old technique have been obscured by time but the Moghul influence is seen in motifs, many depicting floral patterns and hunting scenes. With such an impressive history associated with weaving in Varanasi, it is no surprise that the skills have been inherited by generations. Today, however much of the handwoven textiles are being replaced by power looms and modern technology. Over 90% of silk textiles are now woven using power looms. This experience gives you an exclusive look into some of the few remaining silk and textile weavers, who still weave by hand.

Hand weaving is a disappearing art and exclusive to Varanasi. Whether it’s silk sarees, exquisite brocade on fabrics, or zaree work, they all originate from Varanasi. No travel story to Varanasi is complete without looking into rich heritage of textile design and workmanship. This experience gives you yet another authentic facade beyond Varanasi’s numerous interesting characters – temples, priests, street food, and its timeless lanes.

Anybody visiting India or Varanasi with an interest in age-old traditions, arts, and crafts. Get an insider’s look into the few remaining silk artisans who still weave textiles and fine brocades by hand. Travel, documentary and portrait photographers will particularly find this very rewarding.

  • Behind-the-scenes tour of an artisan’s workshop to get an exclusive look into the hand weaving process, see in-progress and completed samples, brocade work and designs
  • A first-hand account of the art of hand weaving, silks and brocades, and the generations that have inherited the skills
  • One-of-a-kind photo opportunities, including portraits of artisans, family members, and workers
  • Tour of facilities around the workshop, including visits to some nearby shops

Additional information

Meeting point
Rajendraprasad Ghat

Recommended equipment
Any camera and lens are fine. A fast lens such as f/1.8 is helpful as some parts of the ashram are poorly lit

Activity level
Medium

Important Notes


Related content