Tie and Dye Fabric of Gujrat :Bandhani



Region & Origin:

  • The term bandhani ( बांधानी) also know as bandhej is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root bandh means “to bind, to tie”
  • Bandhani refers to the traditional Indian ‘tie and dye‘ art (resist-dyeing technique) that uses impermeable threads for tying), used to produce beautiful, fine circular patterns on fabrics.
Traditional fabric Of Gujrat: Bandhani
Traditional fabric Of Gujrat: Bandhani | Image: Craftsvilla
  • The tying of fabric with threads and then dying the tied fabrics is the simplest and perhaps the oldest form of creating patterns on a plain piece of cloth.
  • The tied cloth and the resulting dot design is what separates bandhani from other design techniques.

  • This decorated textiles’ evidence  dates back to Indus Valley Civilization where dyeing was done as early as 4000 B.C
  • There are several manuscripts, paintings and stories linked to the origin of bandhani
  • And here are a few  early references from Indian history:
  • One of its earliest visual representations can be seen in the Ajanta caves and this ancient art form is still in practice.
    Lady wearing bandhani blouse, Ajanta wall paintings. Image © V & A Museum, London
    Lady wearing bandhani blouse, Ajanta wall paintings| Image : V & A Museum, London

In Gujarat, in the medieval period onwards, and in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the earliest surviving pieces of bandhani were fragments of silk bandhani used by Jain monks to interleave manuscript pages.

Bandhani in Jain scriptures
Bandhani in Jain scriptures. Image: V & A Museum, London
Bandhani in Jain scriptures.
Bandhani in Jain scriptures. Image: V & A Museum, London

Tie-dyed silk handkerchief known as “bandanna” was exported from Bengal to London by the English East India Company. These bandannas of Indian origin have made appearances in many British paintings from that time period.

Group of women wearing Bandhani Sari,1855-1862.
Group of women wearing Bandhani Sari,1855-1862. |Image: Wikipedia
Group of women wearing Bandhani Sari,1855-1862.
Group of women wearing Bandhani Sari,1855-1862| Image: Wikipedia
  • As per some historical evidence, the first Bandhani saree was worn at the time of Bana Bhatt`s Harshacharita in a royal marriage.
  • The Bandhani work has been exclusively carried out by the Khatri Community of Gujarat of Kutchh and Saurashtra that migrated from the Sindh region, now in Pakistan.
  • Intricate designs, finesse, figurative, floral, and geometric patterns exhibited on the costumes can be seen by many renowned designers too.
  • Below is  Actress Janhvi Kapoor in an Ombre Green Bandhani Sari By Fashion Designer Manish Malhotra.


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  • Bandhani work was mostly done in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat but now it has spread to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab and to the southern states too.
  • Places in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Sikar, Bhilwara, Udaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer, and Jamnagar in Gujarat are the well-known centers producing Dupattas, sarees, and turbans in Bandhani. It is an ancient form of art that is still in practice.
PM Modi wears colourful Bandhani Rajasthani turban for R-Day 2015
PM Modi wearing a colorful Bandhani Rajasthani turban for R-Day 2015|Image: indiatv
  • Wearing Bandhani is a mark of identity in many communities and is worn in weddings, traditional and religious ceremonies.
  • Bandhani is a beautiful art and is commonly seen worn by not only women but also by men.

Colors used and its significance:

Bandhani is generally made up of natural colors and each color has its own significance. Major colors being red, yellow, blue, green, and black. As dying is done by hand and best colors and combinations are possible.

Colorful bandhani dupattas
Colorful bandhani dupattas

Red: a symbol of marriage, is believed to give good luck and fortune to a newlywed’s life.

The city of Jamnagar, located in the Gulf of Kutch, in Gujarat is well known for its red Bandhani.

Saffron: is the color of a yogi.

Yellow: symbolizes spring and joy.

Black & Maroon are the colors of mourning.

Techniques/how is it made?

Fabrics used: Traditionally, fine muslins or cotton were used to create Bandhani. The contemporary artisans then started experimenting on fine georgettes, art silks, silk-cotton blends, viscose, and cotton variants. The fabric chosen must also be able to withstand the stretching, while opening/ unraveling knots.

Technique: The art of Bandhana is a rather painstaking and highly skilled process. Mandavi, Bhuj, Anjar, Jamnagar, Morbi, Rajkot, Deesa are some of the main towns in Gujarat, where Bandhani is created.

It includes three processes:

1. Pattern Making




let’s look at each of these processes om details:

1.Pattern Making: First the raw fabric is cut of the desired finished product. The pattern is drawn on the butter paper using a pen and then holes are punched using a needle.  This pattern is then transferred to fabric using direct dye.

Pattern drawing and making process
Pattern drawing and making process

2.Bandhej/Tying: The raw fabric is tied tightly with threads usually nylon at several points to create patterns.

Bandhani Tying process
Tying process

The fabric can have thousands of tiny knots known as ‘Bheendi’ in the local language (‘Gujarati’).

Bandhani tying is often a family trade, and the women work at home to tie patterns.


3. Dying: The pre knotted fabric is then dyed in natural colors.

Bandhani dying process
Bandhani dying process
It is simply dipped in the boiling color mixture and stirred with a wooden rod for 4-5 minutes so that the fabric gets soaked in the color evenly.

The tied part of the fabric does not catch color and remains of the same color as the base fabric.

The fabric is then washed with water to remove excess color.

Bandhani washing process
Bandhani washing process

The dyeing process of Bandhani is carried out extensively in this city, as the water of this area is known to give a particular brightness to colors, specifically reds, and maroons.

4. Drying: The fabric is then left to dry under the bright sunlight which fixes the color permanently. The drying process takes  4-5 hours in summers, and 6-7 hours in winters.

Bandhani dryng process
Drying process

These knots are opened thus producing a variety of patterns like Chandrakala, Bavan Baug, Shikari etc; depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied.

Bandhani knot opening process
Bandhani unknotting process

The creases on the fabric speak a thousand words. Each of the creases, a reminder that the fabric was tied at that very same point, and then put into large containers that colored them in different hues.

Yellow Bandhani Dupatta
Yellow Bandhani Dupatta

Finer the Bandhani work, more expensive the fabric is.

Types Of Bandhani :

  • Having spread across a large territory, Bandhani is now known by different names in regional dialects.
  •  Different communities wear different patterns of bandhani  depending on their region, occupations, race, caste, etc
  • These were used to identify which community the person belonged to.
  • Let us have a look at the Types of Bhandani

Types of Bandhani Patterns:

Elaborate motifs and designs of leaves, flowers, trees, human figurines are made, by repeating Bandhani dots and patterns.

  • Ek Dali or Bundi: A single Bandhani dot
  • Chaubundi: four dot bandani
  • Satbundi: seven dot bandani
  • Boond: Small dots with darker centers
  • Kodi: Tear-drop shaped dots.
  • Trikunt: Patterns of circles appearing in clusters of three
  • Chaubasi: Patterns of circles appearing in clusters of four
  • Satbandi: Patterns of circles appearing in clusters of seven
  • Dungar Shahi –  Designs of mountain
  • Laddu Jalebi – Designs of Indian sweetmeats
  • Leheriya – Designs of waves

1.Garchola: The most revered type of Bandhani. It is a wedding odhani of Gujarati Hindu and Jain brides. It is a traditional red bandhani saree with zari and silk cords woven squares pattern all over it.

The ‘Zari’ work is carried out in two methods; ‘Bavan Bhag’ (52 segments) or ‘Bar Bagh'(12 segments)Pure Venkatigiri cotton, sourced from Andhra Pradesh, is used to create traditional Gharcholas.


Alia Bhatt For Kalank promotions in Tarun Taholini’s Banarasi Gharchola

2.Leheriya: The name ‘Leheriya’ is derived from the slang which means wave’. This is because of the wavy appearance of designs.

Leheriya Dupattas

3.Rasa-mandali:  This name comes from ‘Raas’, which is a conventional dance form of Gujarat. The red backdrop and gopis performing raas in circles or mandalas.  It is beautified with designs of ‘Amba Dal (branches of the mango tree)’, elephants, peacocks, etc giving it traditional significance.Usually this pattern is used in the aanchal of the saree

Rasa-mandali bandhani
Rasa-mandali bandhani

4.Chandrokhani: The Chandrokhani is mostly worn by Muslim brides. The backdrop of this bandhani is black-blue in color. ‘Chandrokhani’ means the figure of the moon and the divine beauty of moon is correlated to that of the bride.

chandrokhani bandhani
chandrokhani bandhani

5.Khombi: This looks festive and beautiful because of the sprinkled white spots and the red background.

Khombi bandhani
Khombi bandhani


6.Sungudi- is a cotton fabric of  village Chinnalapatti, Madurai in the Tamil Nadu. In the 17th century, under the patronage of King Thirumalai Naicker some Saurashtrians who migrated to Madurai .The product has been given protection under the GI registration act. 8th Feb Is celebrated as Sungudi Day.

Sungudi Sarees
Sungudi sarees

Care And Instructions:

  • If ironed on high heat, the patterns on the bandhani tend to lose its strength, so it is advised to ONLY be DRY CLEANED (petrol washed) or steam ironed or on a low heat setting else it will lose its color.
  •  Bandhani sarees are carefully roll-pressed and finished before they are sold. A similar process needs to be followed by the wearer, before every wear.
  • A good quality saree fall must be attached to this saree, as these are delicate sarees.

So now, when you shop for any of the Bandhani Products and flaunt it, don’t forget to flaunt your bandhani knowledge to your friends and family members and stand out smart.

If you like this article, plz do comment below.

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