Bandhni, or Bandhani, is among the oldest and considered as one of the authentic Indian handicraft skills by many Indians, and it is now making a comeback in the fashion industry. You know sarees are a hallmark of the traditional wear in the nation, but not all sarees are created equally – and this type of saree reinforces that fact.
This is not limited to Indian women though; it is also making a comeback for men’s clothes. It has design patterns that show the unique beauty of the fabric itself, and also gives a certain special identity – therefore establishing it as a style statement around the world.
However, what makes the sarees special? Is there any significant factor that makes them stand out from other sarees made in different parts of India, each with their own unique characteristics? We seek to find out in this article.
The history of Bandhani silk
The Bandhani fabric is actually a tie and dye technique that has two steps – the tying ofvarious sections of a cloth then dyeing it into various colours. This method is one of the oldest techniques of dyeing fabrics in India, used mainly for cotton and silk materials. It was also used when making turbans worn by the Rajputs and odhnis worn by the women. [Read:5 Latest Women Ethnic Wear For This Diwali]
The word ‘Bandhani’ itself comes from a Hindi word Bandhan, which means ‘to tie up’. The art form was mainly practiced in the ancient days by people from the Gujarat and Rajasthan regions of India. In particular, most of the well-known epicentres for fabric making using this method included Jamnagar, Jaipur, Bikaner, and Udaipur.
The whole process involves the tying and dyeing of the cloth, while the colours used are usually black, green, red, and yellow. After this process, the end result features a variety of shapes that include strips, squares, dots and waves. It is also important to note that each caste has their own designs that feature in the final products.
The sarees were popular among the Khatri people
Within the northern regions of India, different castes exist – and the Khatri is among them. They are considered to have played a vital role in the maintenance of trans-national trade in India throughout the years of the Mughal Empire (1526 to 1857 AD), and they even had roles outside the Punjab region. These sarees and fabrics became popular in this period thanks to the various ways of life in the region, mainly in socio-religious terms.
It is generally presumed today that the method started more than 5000 years ago, but became popular during the reign of King Harshacharita during a regal wedding.
The technique used to make the fabric
Before the fabric goes through the dyeing process, it is cleaned thoroughly (this makes the dye penetrate the fabric easier). The weaver will then make firm knots using cords, and these knots are positioned at certain intervals, then the fabric is immersed into the dye. The usual circumstance is that women will tie the knots, and then the men handle the dyeing process.
Once the dyeing process is over, the women tie the cloth up. Using a thread, a very small part of the material is raised and tied, usually cotton threads. Once all knots are complete, the men then take the material for lighter dyeing – the knotted parts are left alone, while they spread the rest of the dye on all the other parts. The sections of lighter dye are then knotted again and the material re-inserted into the dye, until the final result.
In the past, extracts from leaves and trees were used to make dyes, so the process was all-natural. However, they have been replaced by chemical dyes.
How can you recognize Bandhani silk?
It is quite easy to recognize this form of silk due to its consistency in its structure. There are always highly detailed designs that comprise of squares, dots, stripes, and so on. these fabrics also use very vivid colours.
Note that there are a variety of shapes that Bandhani silk sarees use in their patterns. These include Satbandi (dots are arranged in sets of seven), Ekdali (only one dot is present), Chaubasi (sets of four dots are used to fix the design), and Trikunthi (as the name suggests, dots are in sets of three). Others include Kodi (dots are similar to the shape of drops), Boond (the dots have a dark midpoint with small spots), and Dungar Shahi (dots are arranged in the shape of a mountain).
Types of Bandhni silk
Gharchola is prominently known due to the use of silk and zari cords in the fabric, then the application of Bandhni work to finish the job. The designs are in lattice form, while the main colours of the fabric are green, red, and yellow. The Bandhani work itself is done in white.
The second type is Leheriya, which is derived from a word in Rajasthani slang that means ‘wave’. This is due to the designs, which feature wavy patterns.
The other is Rasamandali, which uses the root word ‘Raas’ – a conventional dance form from the Gujarat region. The materialnormally features a vivid red backdrop, and also has unique borders that make it stand out. The designs also feature beautiful designs of dancing ladies, peacocks, elephants, the ‘Amba Dal’ (branches of a mango tree), and so on. [Read: 16 Elegant Designer Blouses for Wedding Sarees]
Another is Chandrokhani, which literally means ‘the figure of moon’. The designs are typically spherical, while the backdrop is a ‘blue-black’ colour blend. This is also normally worn by brides, since the elegance and beauty of the moon is a symbol of the bride’s beauty.
Khombi is an attractive design even in its simplicity. It features sprinkled white spots against a red background. In fact, when a woman is getting married, her mother is also dressed in this type of saree on the day, since it is considered to be an auspicious design for the bride.
Bandhani sarees are beautiful, and they are a worthwhile gift. You can also find them everywhere, including online stores such as StyleCaret, so head over there and see the great variety on display – you might even find something that interests you.
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