You don’t necessarily have to wait for a wedding or a party to wear tie-and-die sarees. The technique used for heavy and bright silk sarees, looks equally beautiful when worn to work in your comfortable cotton fabric. One of the most ancient known textile dying techniques, Bandhni or Bandhej sarees, similar to ours, were probably worn by our ancestors, centuries ago, connecting us to a culture that has long disappeared. Even if the history angle doesn’t fascinate you, there is no way you will not be mesmerized by their beauty. Take a look!
One of the oldest forms of decorated textiles, Bandhini or Bandhej, originated in the regions of modern day Rajasthan and Gujarat, about 5000 years ago. Bandhini sarees and clothes have also been mentioned by Alexander, The Great, in his records. Being equally popular in the Japanese and African cultures, its popularity in India wasn’t just fueled because of its aesthetic appeal; earlier, the different design patterns worn by different people helped identify their communities as well.
The word Bandhini or Bandhej, come from a Sanskrit work meaning ‘to tie.’ Its English name ‘tie-and-die’ will also make you think that there is no mystery surrounding its technique; however, it’s a little more complicated than that. To create one beautiful saree with uniform patterns, a skilled technician will tie several similar knots in one saree before beginning the dying process- which may be done several times to achieve the desired colour combination. The colours used in these sarees are almost always natural and primary colours, with the designs mainly constituting of dots, squares, waves and strips.
Unlike most ancient decorated textile sarees, Bandhini continues to be equally popular among saree lovers today, as they were centuries ago. The diversity in terms of fabrics and designs that can be used, the colours, etc.- all contribute towards the increasing demand for Bandhini everywhere in the country. Both Gujarat and Rajasthan produce different types of Bandhini sarees, beautifully designed using their unique techniques.
Some of the most common designs, according to India Craft House, being:
- Dungar Shahi – the mountain‐pattern
- ‘Chaubasi’ – in groups of four
- Tikunthi – circles and squares appear in a group of three
- Satbandi – in groups of seven
- Ekdali – a dot
- Boond – a small dot with a dark centre
- Kodi – tear or drop shaped
- Laddu Jalebi (after the name of Indian Sweets) – the swirling
[Featured Picture Courtesy: Nonage]