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The sand dunes, nonchalant camels, mystical forts, majestic palaces, and myriad hues of colours splashed across the vibrant culture of of Rajasthan is ‘the’ cynosure for tourists around the globe. But there is something else that is emblematic of this dessert state – Bandhani or Bandhej, a traditional tie-n-dye legacy that has stood the test of time and has gone on to generate admirers through the ages!
The term Bandhani traces its origin to the Sanskrit word Banda that means “to tie”. The unique feature of this technique is to tie the fabric at several points with thread and then to dye it which on conclusion culminates to interesting patterns and motifs. Although the inception of Bandhani is credited to Jaipur, some also believe that it originated in the Kutch region of Gujarat and is the product of an influence of Muslim Khatri settlers. Bandhani originated in Jamnagar when the city was founded 400 years ago. Bana Bhatt’s Harshacharita bears the earliest testimony of this primeval tie-n-dye technique. For the brides a red Bandhani is deemed to be auspicious whereas a Bandhani with yellow background symbolizes a new mother. There are also evidences engraved in the Ajanta wall paintings where the maids are found wearing blouses in tie-n-dye patterns.
Jaipur, Jodhpur, Barmer, Pali, Nathdwara, Sikar, Bhilwara, Udaipur, Bikaner and Ajmer in Rajasthan and Jamnagar (Saurashtra) and Ahmedabad in Gujarat are important centers of Bandhani known for their odhnis, sarees and turbans. The art of Bandhani in Gujarat and Rajasthan can be distinguished on the lines of their technique. The Rajasthani Bandhani artists grow a nail on their fingers or wear metal rings to accomplish the art whereas their Gujarati counterparts prefer to work without any aid. In case of the latter, the free hand tie-n-dye ensures a smooth flow of the designs and zero damage to the fabric.
The dominant colours intrinsic to this art form are red which is associated with marriage, yellow that symbolizes spring, saffron that is an insignia of renunciation and hence embraced by the yogis, and black and maroon that stand for mourning. The fabric for Bandhani includes muslin, handloom or silk, ordinary thread for tying and vegetable dyes for dyeing. In these contemporary times vegetable dyes have been substituted with chemical dyes.
The process of this tie-n-dye technique never fails to amaze! The fabric is tightly tied in knots with threads at different points and then dunked into the colours for the purpose of dyeing. The knotted regions of the fabric retain the original colour of the fabric and remain uninfluenced by the colour of the dye. Once dyed, the fabric is allowed to dry which can range from 4-5 hours in summer to 6-7 hours in winter. During monsoon the drying time can go up to a couple of days.
The cardinal designs of Bandhani:
Ekdali which is a single dot
Boond which is a minute dot with a dark centre
Kodi which is in the shape of a tear or drop
Tikunthi in which circles and square patterns appears in clusters of three
Chaubasi which denotes a cluster of four
Satbandi which denotes a cluster of seven
Dungar Shahi which is a mountain pattern
Laddu Jalebi which means swirling
Bandhni in Fashion Week:
Deepika Govind’s Collection, “The memoir of a yogi who loved blue”, at the Lakme Fashion Week Summer-Resort 2015, featured Bandhani as a placement design on various parts of garments in earthy colour tones. Designer Rahul Mishra, the recipient of the Woolmark Prize, and Anita Dongre have all interpreted Bandhani according to their sensibilities and won the hearts of fashion mavens. At the Lakme Fashion Week Summer-Resort 2016, the label Vrisa by Rahul and Shikha presented their summer collection titled ‘Ahir’ that seamlessly merged Bandhni and Kutch in a template of strong layering, pompoms and trendy separates. Sonam Kapoor was seen donning a hot pink Bandhani jacket with a skirt to one of her promotional appearances for her movie, ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’.
So, all you fashion girls, it’s time to make way for Bandhani in your closet! Always stay in style and don’t forget to wear your smile!
Picturesource: http://images.indianexpress.com, https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com, http://2.bp.blogspot.com
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