Textured with creased fabric, speckled with minute square shaped spots and dyed with bright and intense colors; Gujarat’s Bandhani or tie and die attracts all the vigilance and esteem. Intellectual, round or zigzag, numbers or animals, flora or fauna diverse patterns are conceived by the distinctive method of tie and dye stuff which is more conventionally known as Bandhani or Bandhej. As the name proposes, the complete technique of tie-dying is derived from the Sanskrit name Bandhana or Bandha. The title, which relates to both the method and the end-product is created by the wearisome method of pinching and resist binding of fabric before dyeing. The tied areas showing the patterns remain un-dyed creating dashed summaries of abstract forms. Diverse variety of the patters showed by white or yellow dots, lyrically created on brilliant deep red and very dark backdrops has always been a hitting identity of customary attire for some communities in Gujarat. This famous color contrast is always well balanced by inimitable sense of composition of symmetry of the design types. The artisans of the state today have breached all cultural and ancient boundaries and continue to develop their own creative balance in eye catchy color combinations. Cloth pieces dyed in pink, maroon, yellow, ochre, green, mauve, red, sky azure, indigo, white, black and many more hues expresses the skill and ingenuity of the dyers in the princely state. Bandhani colors are always bright and lively. The patterns are formed by dots on the fabric. Each of the spots formed are connected with cotton gist. Lahriya or Leharia, which truly means waves, is another form of tie and dye utilized in creating Bandhani textures. This unique method is taken up to adorn lengths of fabric generally utilized for turbans and used by Rajputs in Rajasthan. Saurashtra, Rajasthan and Kutch are the producers of the finest Bandhani or Bandhej saris in India.

Production Process

The method of tie-dye is moderately simple, but it is very tough and time-intensive. The fabric or cloth piece to be used is twisted more than a couple of times until reduced to a square or rectangular chunk. It is then dispersed on a wooden table and desired concepts are assessed on it with a wooden impede using “Gheru” (Red Oxide) mixed with water. After this intense process the fabric is passed on to a Bandhani craftsman, who for the mere purpose of creating Bandhani grow their finger and thumb nails so as to be able to use them as a pair of tongs to tie the marked portions into minute knots. The adorning concepts which are demonstrated by the block are skillfully joined with thread to retain the initial hue to the fabric in the portion. Then it is dyed in light colorful hues like yellow. The area which requires yellow or light hues is once again tied and dyed in red or other darker dues. This is how different hues are impressed onto the fabric. After this tedious process of tie and die the fabric is left to dry and then cleaned in clean warm water so as to eliminate the hue impurities. After this process comes the process of hitching which involves the elimination of hue knows. The two ends of the piece of cloth are held by two craftsmen. Then they purposely hitch the cloth in the sunlight so that all the knots untie themselves and the cloth becomes lump free. The customary themes mostly used are like Kori, Sikar, Badam, Kharek, Champakali etc. Bandhej is mostly used in products like Punjabi dresses, saris, long skirts and shawls etc. Odhanis are also produced with tie-die in various fabrics like cotton and georgette. Major tie-die hubs of Gujarat include, Bhuj, Mandvi, Khavda, Tera, Bara, Dhamanka and Anjar. According to a well-known survey held in 1961 on tie-dying, the entire tedious process takes about eight hours to complete. Submerging the cloth in a solution of caustic soda and hydro sulphite can furthermore help in eliminating or removing the knots from the fabric.

The final product is then washed and dried. Bandhani textiles are regularly sold in their original tied up form so as to assure the customer of their ingenuity and to prove they are not published artificial fabrics. These tied up Bandhani fabrics also serve the purpose of disclosing their delightful patters when the cloth which appears to be all in one hue after its last dye is pulled individually from its strands and unbound. While “Chunari” with a design made up of small spots is possible the most ascribed type of India tie and dye fabric, the banded zigzag “Laharia” is also widely glimpsed in Kutch today. The procedure may look identical to the tie and die Bandhej but in reality the entire cloth is rotated upwards and tied at gaps so as to shape the stripes. Only very good quality cloth, generally thin cotton known as malmal in Kutchi can be used for this procedure as the dye should breach the folds of the tightly bound material to give it a glorious look. The cloth is folded like a fan or rolled from one corner to the other to form a pattern with the stripes. If the piece of cloth is untied and re-rolled from the opposite direction, the outcome is a checked effect fabric known as “Mothara”.

Dresses and Style

The dyes used today, in all kinds of Bandhej work are artificial. The prevalent dyes were initially considered from the ancestry of Morinda Cordifolia. Dye combinations like blend of double sulpahte of Aluminum and Potassium caustic for “Pakka” red, petals of sunflower for Kusum, Carthamis Tintorius for Kutch red, tuber of Curcuma Domestica for Haldi and yellow derived from Chhach. Their financial records of slanting sharply with the fabrics of difference of several days and powerful with simple summary are much needed for the chemical dyes to create the end result. The tedious work of assembling the dye plants and extracting the dyes is not even referenced by the writers of the 19thcentury, but it is astonishing to see how the current dyers have taken passionately to the conveniently tinned colors that have taken the former’s place.

In Gujarat, Bandhani is finished with fine cotton fabric, “gajji” thread, muslin, fur etc. The suave weave renowned as “Gajji” which was used for more exorbitant Bandhani textiles up to the starting of the 20th Century donates richness to the carefully crafted concepts which are the charm of Gujarati tie and die culture.

Even though the remarkable silk saris and “odhanis” adorned with blossoms, peacocks, dances or a ‘Rasamandala’ are designs for a jovial dress. The high-quality Bandhej of Gujarat is commonly made not from silk but cotton. Profusely known as “Gharcholu”, the traditional marriage “Odhanis” from the Hindus is furthermore legally taken by the Jain women and even fashioned as saris by guests at wedding ceremonies. The fine cotton fabric is separated by the partitions of fiber stripes of gold brocade, the gold checkered fabric homing from Porbandar which used to be formerly imported from Varanasi. The most widespread “Gharcholu” designs are called “Barah bhag” or “Bawan Bhag” which means 12 parts and 52 parts respectively. This relates to the number of adorning designs and squares in the fabric. To be cost effective, sometimes the designs are tie-dyes into a plain red cloth fabric without weaving the gold intense fabric. For the more affluent buyers, “zari chowk sari” is a better bet. This fabric can be accomplished by stitching gold ribbons in narrow pieces of the tie-die Saree, yet another move away from the traditional techniques in made when the designs on the Saris are machine imprinted.

The “Gharcholu” designs are often presented to the bride by her husband during the time of wedding. The bride mostly takes the fabric over her head. It adorns her head throughout the ceremony.

Dyeing Work

According to the review, more perplexing concepts in Bhandhanis are completed in villages of Kutch. A number of them are dispatched to Jamnagar for dyeing and promotion. As stated in the well-known survey of 1961, there were about 4000 people working in the tie-dye industry in Kutch, more affluent in Bhuj and Anjar. Since the middle aged times, Khatris have consumed a productive monopoly on textile output. The Khatris have actually originated from Sind.

The tie-dye fabrics fashioned by Muslims are totally different from the one adorned by Hindus. Both the Hindus and Muslims are known to make comprehensive use of Bandhani textures, as “Chunaris” as well as “Skirts”.

According to thereview,moreperplexingconceptsin Bhandhanis arecompletedin villages of Kutch.Numerousof them aredispatchedto Jamnagar for dyeing andadvocating.As stated in the survey of 1961, there were about 4000 people functioning in the tie-dyecommercein Kutch mostly in Bhuj and Anjar. The leadingindividualsin Kutch are ‘Khatris' who haveconsumedproductivemonopoly on textileoutputsince middleelderlytimes. It is said that the Khatris have come from Sind.

The tie-dyedfine threadfabricsproducedby the Khatri Muslims areabsolutelydistinctfrom the Hindus. The Hindus and the Muslims countrygroupscommonlymakecomprehensiveuse of Bandhani textiles, both as ‘Chunaris' and ‘skirts'.

The equitably rudimentary linear concepts are generally from Sind. The arid localities of Northern Kutch and Banni are just like wastelands and a number of communities recount their origin from Sind. Intricate embroidered patters are often supplemented over the rudimentary tie-dye fabric and this practice is also glimpsed in more complex levels both in designs and methods among the Khatri Muslims.

Love to Wear

The Bandhani has been traditionally very highly rated as a bridal dress, in particular the “Gharchola Saree” which is generally red or green in color in conjunction to yellow patters and accompanied by white spots with floral themes. Without a “panteri sari”, the trousseau of a high society woman in the Saurashtra society is deemed incomplete. The Bhatiya community of Jamnagar locality has always favored the customary design called the “Zari kyara” which fashions rectangle grid work of diverse Bandhej patters on fine cotton fabric mostly depicting elephants, birds, floral patterns, dancing figures and other brilliant themes. The Kutch, Jamnagar and Surendranagar localities are renowned for their Bandhani craftsmen. The Jamnagar Bandhani is well known for the shores of Nagmati and Rangmati, two streams whose mineral rich waters are known to increase the richness of the hues after the product is finalized.

Bandhani is considered as a symbol of love, girlhood and marital happiness and has been an auspicious and important part of a wedding ceremony for ages. From playful patterns of Ras Leela to the flamboyant depiction of blooming flower beds, the topics that are discovered and created by the artisans express communal topics, rituals, nature and originate from many other inspirations. Simple dots also recognized as bindi or bundi are created with varying pattern of circles which are widely known as laddu and rectangular ones which are known as dabbi. The stitch resist technique gives rise to tear shaped dots. These minute spots are meticulously composed to form patterns of desire exuding elegance, style and exquisiteness on a diverse range of fabrics. Wool, silk, cotton, cotton-silk, jute and many other widespread fabrics constitute the material paraphernalia of a Bandhani artist in Gujarat.

Each dress has an exact name and is adorned on a particular occasion. The names are mostly based of the patterns they represent such as, “Chandrakhkdi”, “Ambadal”, “Shikari”, “Kalger” and various others. The circular patter well known as the “Ras Leela” which is based on the dance of the “Gopis” and “Lord Krishna” is a very widely used topic.

Each pattern has agrantedname and isgenerallydamagedforexactoccasions. Names are based on the patterns they most represent, such as 'Ambadal','Chandrakhkdi','Kalger','Shikari' and many more. The circular patternrenownedas 'Ras Leela’ based on the dance of the ‘Gopis' and 'Krishna' is a commontopic.

The creative genius of the craftsmen today is conveyed by an array of goods with assorted new themes and patterns. From fashion accessories like stoles to curtains of a living room, the artisans and craftsmen of Gujarat express their knack and passion in Bandhani designs today.

The Bandhani saris are famous all over the world because of the vibrant colors and patterns. These saris when worn gift a sense of compassion to the bearer and reflect the exquisiteness of true modern Indian taste.

Traditional Trivia

Bandhani is one of the most ancient forms of superficial embellishment finished on fabrics. The oldest quotation of its antiquity goes way back in time to the Jain Manuscripts. The Bandhani textiles are often referred as a significant pattern of attire by both Hindu and Muslim women today. It forms a vital part of a woman’s wardrobe during her marriage.

The scrupulous process of tie and dye adorned by diverse communities is mainly created by Khatri craftsmen. The meticulous method engages many hands and minds and is created by the pleasant unanimity of labor and love of all engaged in the process.

The “chitrakar” or the creative person sketches the patterns on the fabric, the “bandari” or knotter pinches and binds the spots and the “Ranganaar” or dyer who does the dyeing on the textile. When there are more than three to four colors used in a textile, the lightest hue is dyed first which is then pursued by tying and thereafter the brighter colors follow suit.

Each Gujarati community has its own unique persona of Bandhani displayed with rich colors and patterns which signify the eccentricity of the group. In the pastoral and rural sectors of Gujarat a woman can be easily recognized as a part of a particular community by the kind of Bandhani she adorns.

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