During the Mughal period, around the 14th century, the weaving of Banarasi Sarees with intricate designs using gold and silver threads became the specialty of Varanasi. The Banarasi Sarees are made of finely woven silk and decorated with an intricate design using zari and because of these ornamentations, it is relatively heavy. Their special characteristics are Mughal inspired designs/elements such as intricate floral and foliate motifs kalga and bel. Other features are gold work, compact weaving, figures with small details, metallic visual effects, jal (a net-like pattern), and meena work. Twofold twisted mulberry silk yarn, locally called “Katan” is used in both ground warp & weft with gold and/or silver zari for designing. Banarasi Sarees and woven on conventional Varanasi handloom jacquard and sometimes with jala, pagia & naka attachment for creation of motif. For the weaving of the ground fabric, 5 to 8 heald shafts and designs are woven in the weft of different materials and colours. The satin weave is used in the ground fabric.
Banarasi sarees are categorized into four distinct varieties, namely pure silk (Katan), organza (kora) with zari and silk, georgette, and shattir. Of these, the pure silk variety is the most renowned. Based on the design, Banarasi Sarees are also classified into jangla, tanchoi, vaskat, cutwork, tissue, and butidar. Banarasi sarees now have the GI (Geographical Indication) certification for Banaras Brocades and Sarees. It has also gained acceptance not only in India but all over the world.