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Varanasi weavers prepare ‘Banarasi saree’ for Michelle Obama

NEW DELHI(PTI): The weavers of Varanasi have prepared a special ‘Banarasi saree’ worth Rs 1,25,000 for U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, who is on a three-day visit to India along with her husband Barack Obama. The weaver community believes that the handloom business will get a boost if Michelle wears the saree on her visit.

“We have high expectations because she is the First Lady and if she wears the saree, it will boost the dying Varanasi handloom industry. Everyone will get business and we all will prosper,” Imran, co-owner of a saree manufacturing unit, said. He said that the order for the saree was placed five months ago by member of International Advisory Council of the US Institute of Peace, Frank Islam.

Imran’s father, Abdul Matin also said that a special Sona-rupa Kadua saree made in the ancient days with traditional means has been prepared for Michelle.

“Silver and gold zari (even thread) and cotton have been used in the saree,” he said.

Earlier in the day, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama landed in New Delhi for their three-day visit of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at the Air Force Station at Palam to greet the visiting dignitaries. The three shared pleasantries before President Obama left for his hotel. Later, President Pranab Mukherjee formally welcomed the visiting dignitaries to India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

President Obama was accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, with a grand welcome ceremony followed by the Guard of Honour, where the battalion was led by Wing Commander Pooja Thakur of the Indian Air Force. The US President also received a 21-gun salute.

President Obama also visited Raj Ghat, paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi via a wreath and planting a sapling at his final resting place.

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