Origin: Origin of the term Bandhani can be traced to the Sanskrit word Bandhana, meaning tying up. One of the oldest techniques of garment art-work, Bandhani is mentioned in ancient Indian scriptures and manuscripts. The traces of Bandhani dots can be seen on the paintings from 6th century. Dying was one of the most relevant art forms of that time. Brilliant Bandhani is believed to be around 5000 years old.
Dating back to 12th century, it came to Kutch with Khatri community. 18th century witnessed this vibrant technique become an income source as it was exported to Europe via the English East India Company. Back then, the artisans used natural resources such as madder and pomegranate to dye their cloth.
Present Day: In Gujarat, this age old art form is handed down from one generation to another. Travellers can experience the making of tie and dye products in local houses of rural areas. Some Gujarati women clad in certain colours and patterns of Bandhani hinting their ethic group. Bandhani holds an integral place in a bride’s trousseau. Bandhani sarees are passed on from generation to another just like jewellery. Even today, Khatri community remains the main producer of Bandhani in Gujarat.
Procedure: The most significant element in the art of Bandhani making is the skilful manipulation of fingers and in depth colour knowledge.Pinch-size portions of fabrics are tied up with the help of a special thread. Once, the entire fabric is tied and broken down in copious pinches, it is dyed colourfully. These knots are then opened with highlighted white or grey blocks where the fabric was tied together. As a golden rule, knots should be opened in a criss-cross manner, this guard’s fabric from tearing. Post this, the dying process begins.
It’s the art of tying the fabric at different points and then dying it in beautiful bold colours. This technique gives birth to a range of patterns. Different styles are created using different techniques such as Mothra, Ekdali and Shikari. These techniques depend on how the fabric is tied. The most distinctive feature of Bandhini handicrafts is dots in different shapes, different textures like crinkled fabric and dramatic colours.
The most common pattern are florals, abstract prints, figurines, zigzags, birds, and trees. In tie-dye fabrics, the dots are either in white or yellow color (the color of fabric), this is due to the tied fabric and the rest fabric is dyed. The tie-dye fabric is mostly dyed in vibrant colours like red, maroon, pink, yellow, grey, orange, green, mauve, violet, sky blue, indigo, black brown etc. The tie dye patterns are mostly in the form of dots (circles) popularly known as bindu, triangle as tikona, and tear drop as Kodi and square as dabbi.
The most famous patterns are called Leheriya, Mothra, Ekdali and Shikari. Tie and dye is primarily done on Silk, cotton, wool, georgette, cotton-silk, jute and other fabrics.
Bandhani is flying international for quite some time. There is enormous sales of this stylish piece of craft during festive season. They are exported to different countries like USA, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, South East Asia, UAE etc. by Craffi The Karigar.
Bring Home Bandhani: You can gift yourself Bandhini Handicrafts from local markets of Jamnagar, Kutch, Bhuj, Anand district and Surendranagar. You can also find it at any government emporium shops like Gujarat State Handloom.