Bandhani Saree: The Most Celebrated Traditional Attire Of India

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The word ‘Bandhani’, also known as Bandhej, is descended from the Sanskrit word ‘bandha’ meaning ‘to bind’, a craft predominantly practiced in Gujarat and Rajasthan. This tie-n-dye technique dates back to the 6th century and was traditionally used by the Khatri community in rural areas of Gujarat, India. At present, it has gained immense popularity in mainstream fashion. As per the historians, the first Bandhani saree was sported at the time of Banabhatt’s Harshacharita in a royal marriage. Bandhani is an ancient art. Earliest references to this technique of picking the cloth with fingernails and tying it before dyeing are found in Indus Valley Civilization records. Even the Buddhist paintings, in the famous Ajanta caves, have Bandhani testimonials. Texts dating back to the times of Alexander the Great, have also inscribed Indian Bandhani.

Places like Jaipur, Sikar, Bhilwara, Udaipur, Bikaner, and Ajmer in Rajasthan and Jamnagar in Gujarat are well-known centers of Bandhani art. They produce Bandhani sarees, dupattas, and turbans. Bandhani fabrics, considered auspicious, have traditionally been used by Hindu and Muslim communities in Kutch, attired by the bride during her wedding.

Bandhani Gharchola Sari with Zari Weave and Tie-Dye Motifs

What is The Process of Creating Bandhani Saree?

 The art of Bandhani is as exciting as its history. The process of creating the Bandhani fabric is long and tedious, as every single dot has to be tied separately to create patterns before the material is dyed. 

The fabric is first washed to remove the impurities for an even dyeing. 

It is then folded twice or four times depending on the design requirement before the pattern is printed.

Three tools are required for tying the fabric- dheri (strong cotton thread), bhungali (glass pipe), and naklo (thimble). 

There are two types of dots, aniwali bheendi, the basic dot, and mathawali bheendi, which form a fine ring. 

Once the tying is completed, the fabric pieces are returned to the workshop where they are dyed.

Normally the bandhani dots are white and yellow. In the first stage, the dots that should be white are tied to secure those areas, and the piece is then dyed in a yellow dye bath. 

The piece is again sent out for tying, and wherever the dots are to remain yellow, the cloth is tied.

The fabric is then dyed in the required color. 

Great care is taken while dyeing a Bandhani piece so that the tied dots do not loosen in the dyeing process when the piece is turned in the dye- bath for even dyeing.

Once the cloth is dyed, it is left for drying in the open air.

After it is dried, it is pulled on a cross-grain to open the tied knots to see the dot pattern.

Little grains (like mustard) and cereals are tied manually on the fabric with the help of a thread to create patterns after the fabric is dyed. This is a highly popular technique now and is used greatly in today’s fashion.

Some intricately patterned sarees could take over six to eight months to tie before dyeing.

Vibrant Bandhani Tie-Dye Sari from Gujarat with Brocade Border

How Many Varieties and Patterns are there in Bandhani Sarees?

When Bandhani is finished, it makes a variety of patterns like dots, waves, strips, and squares. Bandhej designs are done on light lehariya sarees and lehariya gotta Patti suits, and include Mothra, Ekdali, and others, based on how the material is knotted.

A rich brown-gold georgette Bandhni saree with pure zari motifs across its body and pallu is royal in every possible way. Floral and leaf-shaped motifs run across the border and the pallu. An elaborate jaal on the body of the saree gives it the richness worthy of any festive/wedding attire. Pair it with some gold jewelry to hypnotize the evening.

There are floral prints, animal prints, ombre color blocks, and embroidered, checkered, or geometric prints in Bandhani sarees to create styles to choose from, matching with ambiance and occasion. fabulous bandhani, intricately patterned patolas, brocade benaresis, laheriya, and mothadas exhausted with gotta Patti work, chanderis, maheshwaris, embroidered sarees, and Hand-painted sarees are numerous choices for enhancing an artistic touch to your look. One can cherry-pick among sarees made of chiffon, pure silk, georgette, Brasso, jacquard, lycra, satin, or nylon in addition to pure cotton.

Green-Flash Shaded Bandhani Tie-Dye Gajji Silk Sari from Rajasthan

What Are Gaji Silk Bandhani Sarees?

Since pure silk lacks the tensile strength required for the Bandhani process, fabrics are strengthened with poly fibers, cotton, etc. The resulting blends are more agile and less expensive. One such poly-silk blend, used avidly to craft Bridal Bandhanis, is Gaji Silk. This base material is thicker, lustrous, and smooth, can be dyed in vibrant colors, and is strong enough to withstand heavy embellishments like Zari borders, Zardozi embroidery, etc. Gujarati Gharcholas, Panetars, and Bandhani wedding lehenga cholis are also crafted in Gaji silk.

What Fabrics Are Used In Bandhani Sarees?

The benefit of the Bandhani saree is in the prospect of creating more and more diverse designs since it is done manually. The main fabrics used in the bandhani saree are Muslin, Silk, Handloom, Cotton, and Voile. With time, new techniques have been launched and now sarees like georgette sarees and silk sarees are also dyed in Bandhej to cater to everyone’s preferences. Bandhani is also used for bridal sarees with other embellishments adorned with mirrored work or gotta Patti, embroidery, and lace work. 

Which Colours Are Popularly Used In Bandhani Saree?

The more sophisticated the Bandhani work, the more expensive the fabric. Natural shades dominate in Bandhani. Reds, maroon, ochre, tangerine, indigo blues, turquoise blue, and deep greens are traditional Bandhani colors. These days, one may also find colors like purple, mustard yellow, beige, pink, and even black. It is one of the most adored materials in every woman's wardrobe because of its bright spectrum of colors and sophisticated designs.

Bandhani Tie-Dye Marwari Sari from Jodhpur with Zari Embroidered Flowers

How Should Bandhani Sarees Be Maintained?

Maintaining Bandhani sarees (and all fabrics with Bandhani) is very important, as it is a delicate craft that can lose color and vibrance, owing to neglect. Bandhani sarees should be carefully roll-pressed and then stored after every wear. Use only a steam iron to iron these sarees. Each Bandhani saree must only be dry-cleaned, or it will lose its color. A good quality saree-fall must be fastened to this saree, as these are delicate sarees.

What Are The Cultural Connects Of Bandhani Saree?

From weddings to births, the Bandhani saree finds a sacred relationship, especially in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Legends have it that wearing Bandhani Sarees invites good luck. There was a time when all brides in Western India wore Wedding Sarees or Bridal Lehenga Cholis decorated with fine Bandhani. The Gujarati Gharchola (the Bridal saree gifted from the groom’s family) and Panetar (Gujarati Wedding Ensemble) have delicate bandhani work. In Rajasthan, the varying Bandhani patterns and colors of the turbans worn by menfolk indicate their castes and communities. Bandhani is also used to convey life stages. While red suggests marriage, yellow signifies motherhood and green denotes fertility.

Explore The Richness Of Indian Bandhani Sarees This Festive Season:

For casual wear, one can opt for plain bandhej and leheriya sarees with lace borders while for a formal occasion like a party or birthday celebration, Navratri functions, festive appearance calls for an outfit with a little ornamentation like a mirror work. At special wedding parties and receptions, you can always choose a bandhani saree entrenched with luxurious embellished with gota Patti, embroidery, zari, Naxi, sequin, Resham, zarkan, jewelry, etc. A heavy Indian saree blouse with a light-bordered bandhej chiffon saree is also a good choice for an occasion like that. With different shades of Silk Bandhani saree, you can light up every occasion with a beautiful nose-pin as the perfect accessory. These beautiful and eye-catching handlooms and contemporary apparel are readily available to keep your wardrobe updated with the latest trends.

We encourage our customers to celebrate the creativity and talent of rural artisans. To support their livelihood by procuring these masterpiece products. The sheer brightness of the vivid colors and the abstract designs will mesmerize the spectator. Handcrafted sarees, like special munga silk, Ajrakh Kutch Bandhani, cotton bandhej saree, or Bandhej prints and Bandhani cotton sarees will honestly add a charm to your wardrobe. 

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