Bandhani - the exquisite tie & dye art from India

Meaning: The root form of the word ‘Bandhani’ is ‘Bandhan’, which is a Hindi word literally meaning ‘Joined’.


Bandhani’ sarees are also termed as ‘Tie & Dye’ and ‘Bandhej’ and these are the customary sarees of the Indian states, Gujarat and Rajasthan. ‘Bandhani’ sarees were popular among the ‘Khatri’ people, who were the inhabitants of ‘Kutch (Gujarat, India)’ even centuries before! The main reason for this popularity was the inspiration from the varied socio-religious ways of life that were prevalent in the region.

It is generally believed that ‘Tie & Dye’ method began almost 5000 years before! Again, it is another assumption that it was during the reign of King Harshacharita, ‘Bandhani’ saree was donned initially and the occasion was a regal wedding. It is also presumed that the method of ‘Tie & Dye’ was customary at the time of Tang Dynasty rule in China and at the time of Nara in Japan.





Bandhani Technique

Here the material used (the fabric) is firmly knotted using a cord at various places and then the process of dyeing is done. Generally the tying is done by women and the dyeing process is taken care of by men. As the initial step, the material is cleaned thoroughly and then it is bleached; bleaching is done with the intention that the dyes will get into the cloth easily. Once this process is over women start to tie up the cloth. A very small portion of the material (as small as the head of a small pin!) is raised and tied using a thread. Cotton thread (generally gathered as industrial waste) is used for this process. The knotted material is handed over to the men for lighter dyeing. Here what happens is that, the knotted parts maintain the original color, and the dye will get spread on the other parts. Then these lighter dyed portions are knotted, and the material is doused again in the dye; this method ensures that the lightly dyed portions remain lighter, even after the second dyeing process. These procedures are repeated for different colors.




Recognizing Bandhani:


The structural consistency is a notable trait. There will be detailed designs comprising of strips, dots, squares, etc. The usage of vivid colors is another specialty of ‘Bandhani’.


Visit Sanskriti website; you can very clearly see the weaving pattern and the close range images of ‘Bandhani’. Besides, we also store printed ‘Bandhani’ designed sarees. However, these sarees are machine-made, and so don’t take them as authentic hand-made ‘Bandhani’!



Understanding ‘Bandhani’ Shapes


Ekdali - There will be only one dot.

Dungar Shahi - Designs of mountain.

Trikunthi - The shapes will be in sets of three.

Boond - Dark midpoint with little spots

Satbandi - Dots are arranged as sets of seven.

Kodi - The design will be similar to drops.

Chaubasi - Design have dots fixed in sets of four.

Bandhani types:



Zari and silk cords are used to weave this brand, and subsequently, the material is decorated applying ‘Bandhani’ work. ‘Gharchola’ will have lattice design and the colors used are yellow, red, or green. The ‘Bandhani’ work will be done in white color. The ‘Zari’ work is carried out in two methods; 'Bavan Bhag' (52 segments) or 'Bar Bagh'(12 segments)








The name ‘Leheriya’ is derived from the Rajasthani slang which means wave’. This is because of the wavy appearance of designs.






This name stems from ‘Raas’, which is the name of the conventional dance form of Gujarat. The red backdrop and the distinct borders are the specialty of this brand. The stuff will be beautified with designs of ‘Amba Dal (branches of mango tree)’, dancing ladies, elephants, peacocks, etc.






Chandrokhani’ means the figure of moon. Here the designs will be spherical and the backdrop will be ‘blue-black’. Generally, brides are dressed up using this brand saree, because, the divine beauty of moon is correlated to the loveliness of the bride.






This looks attractive because of the sprinkled white spots and the basic red background.




Interesting Facts:


  • There will be more or less 75,000 dots on an elaborately done ‘Bandhani’ pattern.

  • There is a common belief in Gujarat that ‘Bandhani’ saree is auspicious for brides, and hence mothers make sure to include this brand saree in the apparel set of their daughters. The bride’s mother will be also dressed in a red colored ‘Bandhani’ saree on the wedding day.

  • In Rajasthan, men wear turbans that have diverse designs of ‘Bandhani’; this is a customary practice, though in the earlier period this system was meant to classify the community of the wearer.

  • The design, the quality of the fabric (‘cotton’, ‘wool’, ‘silk’, ‘muslin’, etc), and the occasion when it is used (marriage, festivals, other ceremonies etc) decides the socio-cultural and financial significance of ‘Bandhani’.

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