Bandhani: The Symbolic Prints of the Exotic Indian saris

Indian dyes have been a popular export to the world since 400 BC. Bandhani is an exquisite derivative of that trend. The bandhani print is a special dye set designing indigenous to the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Bandhani in Sanskrit means “To knot around’. The oldest account of the Indian saris made using bandhani style dates back to more than 5000 years. The other names for the bandhani print are Bandhej, Tie dye and Knot Print.

bandhani sari

Who make them?
Bandhani is dne by high-skilled personnel. The art of tie dying is a family heritage that has shrunk considerably over the last few decades owing to the manufacturing using power looms. The highly sophisticated process is done by dying the fabric at different places once it is tied to the pole at several points. The Khatri community of the Kutch and Thar excel in the bandhej form. The Indian saris made by the Kutch tribes use natural colors and often feature only dark shades. Light bandhani is very hard to achieve in normal conditions for two reasons

–    They darker shades drip onto the lighter shades.
–    The dye color is hard to manufacture naturally.

bandhani sarees

What are the different patterns achieved using Bandhani?
There are many patterns made by the Bandhani workers exclusively for the Indian saris. They use wooden blocks or threads to achieve the look. Popular patterns from the catalogue of Bandhani styled Indian saris are:

–    Leheriya
–    Mothra
–    Ekdali
–    Shikari

The pattern consists of geometric figures like dots, squares, waves, stripes and squares. The Bheendi print is a fashion symbol from the looms of the Kutchi workers. It resembles the print of a dissected lady’s finger. The cluster of four Bheendi patterns is called as ‘Kadi’. An Indian sari can have over hundred kadis in one single piece.

bandhani saree

How is Bandhani sari classified?
Finished bandhani fabric is classified as:

–    Khombhi
–    Ghar Chola
–    Patori
–    Chadrokhani
–    Mandvi

Significance of wearing Bandhani sari
In Rajsthan and Gujarat, Bandhani sari has a remarkable high cultural significance. A red bandhani with yellow strips signify that the woman is pregnant or has recently delivered a baby. The print is aesthetic to the eyes and connected to eternal fertility. During the wedding seasons, the families of the bride and groom exchange bandhani saris to welcome each other. In most Indian families, the Bandhani sari is given to a girl as a gift from the in-laws. The first night of the wedding spent over a lavishly spread bed sheet featuring bandhani print is considered auspicious for the couple and their new life.

bandhani saris

Export Quality
As the Indian government has begun to participate in the rehabilitation of the Bandhani print workers, the finished materials are getting popular in International market too. The bandhani print Indian saris and bed sheets are exported to countries like Eengland, Germany, Austria, USA, Spain, Russia and Canada. The South-East and Middle-West Adian countries are also a big market for the newly replenished Bandhani print fabrics and finished materials.


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