What an extraordinary way to begin 2016! This month I was blessed to be able to fulfil one of my dreams as a traveler: to make a pilgrimage to the ancient, holy city of Varanasi in India. This trip was made possible through the generosity of the Lighton International Artist Exchange Program and the hospitality of Varanasi's Kriti Gallery, which hosts artists from all over the world. For three weeks, my research focused on devotional communities and the pluralistic nature of religious expression in this sacred center. I also had the great privilege of visiting a number of handloom weaving workshops that specialise in preserving the traditional Banarasi sari. Woven by Muslims of Central Asian lineage, the Banarasi brocade is truly the queen of saris and a textile rich in sacred symbolism, cultural significance and design ingenuity. One of the highlights of my visit was making contact with the workshops of master weavers who take tremendous pride in preserving and transmitting heritage design sensibility and handloom weaving practice. Some of their current sari designs can be traced back through at least 6 generations of family workshop activity; many others echo classic Banarasi sari types that one can see in the historical textile collection of Varanasi's Barat Khala Bhavan. Sadly, globalisation and machine weaving have rapidly endangered the livelihood of handloom weavers throughout India. The Banarasi weavers are a moving example of how hardworking artisans are finding ways to navigate these challenges through the intelligence and resilience of traditional practice.