The term Garad (or Gorod) means white and refers to silk that has been undyed. Garad silk sarees are thus, characterized by a plain white or off-white body, an unornamental coloured border and a striped pallav. The most traditional of garad sarees have a white body and red border and pallav.
Variations in the colour of the border and pallav of the garad saree are usually available in blue, orange, green, brown, black, gold, etc. Often, small paisley and floral motifs line the border and pallav of the garad saree, but there are little or no designs in the body of the saree.
Garad silk sarees are produced in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal. They are very fine, pure silk sarees, and their texture resembles tissue paper. They are quite light-weight and easy to carry.
The term Korial is derived from the word ‘kora’ meaning plain or blank. Garad-Korial sarees are gorgeous versions of the simple garad sarees. The white/off-white silk base of the saree is plusher and the coloured border and pallav are more ornamental with intricate and elaborate motifs. The richer fabric and the complexity of the weavings add to the grandeur of Garad-Korial sarees.
The undyed, white colour of the garad and garad-korial sarees represents their purity, making them suitable for wearing to auspicious occasions such as a puja or religious ceremony. During Durga puja, Bengali women can be seen offering their prayers to the goddess draped in one of them.
As the name suggests, Korial-Banarasi sarees are ‘kora’ or white Banarasi sarees. They are lavish silk sarees with a white/cream base and the characteristic heavy gold/silver embellishments of Benarasi sarees, adorning the pallav and border. They make for fine wedding-wear, especially for older women in the family accompanying the bride.