Bandhani and Leheria: An Ancient Art of Tie and Dye

Tie and Dye popularly known as Bandhini, developed in the state of Rajasthan. It is also a common belief that it was brought to Kutch in Gujrat by Muslim Khatris from Sindh. Bandhani was introduced in Jamnagar, Gujrat around 400 years ago and today it is a leading centre of Bandhani.

The term "Bandhani" derives its name from the Hindi word Bandhan, which means tying up. Bandhani is an ancient art practised by people mainly of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Jaipur, Udaipur, Bikaner and Ajmer and Jamnagar are among the important centres producing saris and turbans in Bandhani.

Bandhej, better known as 'Bandhani' or 'Bandhni' is a highly sophisticated and complex method of cloth decoration by combining various dyes.

Tying of the border is a special process known as 'sevo bandhavo'. The border is tied according to the desired pattern by passing the thread from one end to the another in loose stitch, so as to bring the entire portion together by pulling the thread from one end.

Leheriya pattern, literally meaning for waves. This is a kind of harmoniously arranged diagonal stripes. Leheria refers to the wavy pattern of a fabric processed in the tie dye technique. The material is rolled diagonally and certain portions resisted by lightly binding threads at a short distance from one another before the cloth is dyed.

The craftsmen from Rajasthan are easily recognized because, they grow a nail on their little finger to facilitate the lifting of cloth for tying or wear a small metal ring with a point. The Gujarati craftsmen prefer to work without these aids.

The main colours used in Bandhani are yellow, green, red, pink, and black. The colors commonly used signify different things like - red, a symbol of marriage, saffron, a color worn by yogi who has renounced the world, yellow, which stands for spring and black and maroon, used for mourning. Bandhani work, after the processing is over, results into a variety of symbols including, dots, squares, waves and strips.

A Bandhani work is sold while tied in a knot. The price is decided according to the number of dots in the pattern. An intricate design in a sari would have approximately 75000 dots. What is essential in Bandhni is the minute and skilful manipulation of the fingers for tying, extensive knowledge of color schemes and skill in dyeing materials.

The Tie & Die - Bandhej and Leheria have found maximum application in sarees, salwars, kurtas, and other forms of dress materials. A Bandhani garment is considered lucky for the bride.