The age-old magic of a Banarasi sari has now been recreated on a new platform. In a makeover design, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, decided the welcoming staff at the group's Luxury Hotels would be draped in the rich colours and designs of the Banarasi six yards.
Whole nine yards
- Taj says the luxury a Banarasi sari denotes is a perfect match for the brand
- Taj had adopted three villages in Varanasi and employed 25 master weavers there for the project
- The vision took shape after 14 months, once the weavers had a good work environment, understood the designs and fine-tuned the motifs.
"Banarasi sari epitomises luxury and it is Taj's way of paying tribute to the master craftsmen," said Abhijit Mukerji, Executive Director, Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL).
The new saris were unveiled at the Taj property in Mumbai on Sunday. It will be subsequently replicated at all 10 Luxury Hotels of the group across the country for duty managers and front office staff.
Taj had adopted three villages in Varanasi and employed 25 master weavers there for the project. The vision finally took shape after 14 months, once the weavers had a good work environment, understood the designs and fine-tuned the motifs.
"Before the work could begin, it was essential to make the environs humane. Hence we first supplied them with water pumps and solar lights. The aim was to instill confidence in the villagers, give them work and bring back their dignity and pride in the profession," said Mukerji.
For the Taj sari, a weaver is paid Rs 1800 directly, without a middleman. Usually, he was paid Rs 700-800 for a sari and that too in paltry installments.
"The thought for the project evolved from the fact that people have stopped using handloom products as machine-woven fabric and designs have taken precedence. Weavers were driven to poverty." Mukerji said.
Expressing his views about the venture, Mukerji said, "It is our humble way of getting the weavers back in the mould and reviving the craft."
Jay Ramrakhiyani, designer for the Taj, said, "For the first time, I have got to do Indian design. We've kept the colour palette luxurious and designed in gold and beige with a subtle nuance of a herringbone pattern. We have also intricately woven variances of Peepal leaf and paisley design with royal blue and sea green borders. They are the finest work of hand-woven fabric that I've seen."
The project will continue for Taj, as they plan to bring the art directly to the connoisseur through Taj Khazana boutiques in their selected properties.