- For the neighborhood in Karachi, see Bandhani Colony.
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Bandhani is also known as Bandhej or Tie Dye or Bandhni, etc. as per the regional pronunciation.
The art of Bandhani is a highly skilled process. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with a thread at several points,thus producing a variety of patterns like Leheriya, Mothra, Ekdali and Shikari depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied. The main colours used in Bandhani are yellow, red,blue, green and black. Bandhani work, after the processing is over, results into a variety of symbols including, dots, squares, waves and strips. Bandhani pieces can be dyed by natural and artificial colours.
The main colours used in Bandhani are natural. In fact all colours in bandhani are dark, no light colour is used, and the background is mostly in black / red cloth.
The Bandhani work has been exclusively carried out by the Khatri community of Kutchh. A meter length of cloth can have thousands of tiny knots known as "Bheendi" in the local language ("Kutchhi"). Four bheendis are known as a "Kadi". These knots form a design once opened after dyeing in bright colors. Traditionally, the final products can be classified into "khombhi", "Ghar Chola", "Patori", "Chandrokhani" etc.
Bhuj and Mandvi of Kutch District of Gujarat State in India are well known for the finest quality of bandhani.
Saurashtra region of Gujarat state in India are also known for the Bandhani work but the taste of bandhani is different from other district.
Bandhani work is also done in Rajasthan state but having different types of colours and designs than the Kutch and Saurashtra of Gujarat. In Bandhani, different colors convey different meanings. While red represents a bride, a yellow background suggests a lady has become a mother recently.
The history of dyeing can be dated back to pre-historic times. This art finds its mentions in the Alexander the great time texts about the beautiful printed cottons of India. As per evidences in Historical Texts, the first Bandhani saree was worn at the time of Bana Bhatt`s Harshacharita in a royal marriage. It was believed that wearing a Bandhani saree can bring good future to a bride. Ajanta walls stand for the evidences of these Bandhani sarees. The dyers have experimented with the use of different elements both natural and man made for ages. Also there are experiments with different binding/tying techniques to create patterns on cloth immersed in containters of dye. Different types of tie and dyes have been practiced in India, Japan, and Africa for centuries. Tie-dye became fully developed in China during the T`ang dynasty (618-906 A.D.) and in Japan during the Nara period (552-794 A.D.).
Bandhani work in India was started by the Khatri Community of Gujarat The term `Bandhani` is derived from the word `Bandhan` that means tying up. It is an ancient art practise that is mainly used in the state of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Some 5000 years ago Indian Tie & Dye or Bandhani was started. Places in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Sikar, Bhilwara, Udaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer, and Jamnagar in Gurjarat are the well known centres producing odhnis, sarees and turbans in Bandhani. Different communities in Rajasthan have for ages followed the tradition on tying turbans with different patterns of bandhani on their heads. These were used to identify which community the person belonged to.In the early days dyes were extracted from roots, flowers, leaves, and berries. The art of Bandhani is highly skilled process. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with a thread at several points, thus producing a variety of patterns like Leheriya, Mothra, Ekdali and Shikari depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied. The final products are known with various names like Khombi, Ghar Chola, Patori and also Chandrokhani etc.
Bandhani is being sold all over India and the demand has increased over the past few decades. Sales go up during the festive and wedding seasons in India. The bulk of the market is domestic with the main market being in Gujarat where most women wear Bandhani saris, shawls or odhnis. The most exclusive Bandhanis are being sold at well-known retailers like Khatri Jamnadas Bechardas at Mumbai and Mangalya Heritage Bandhani in Ahmedabad(as per customers` feedback).