The art of mehandi application is one of the most ancient folk arts of Rajasthan. Mehandi is also known as 'Henna' and is considered to be quite auspicious. Mehandi is applied on all special occasions such as marriages, festivals, etc. It is a symbol of prosperity and life. The art of mehandi is popular across India and there are various types of mehandi art. However, the Rajasthani mehandi art is the most popular and also the most complicated.

Mehandi can be applied on any part of the body, and after it dries and is removed, it leaves a dark brown coloured pattern behind, where it was applied. The mehandi artists of Rajasthan are skilled and make designs that represent the culture and tradition of the state. Rajasthani mehandi is also popular as Marwari mehandi, because it was made popular by the Marwari caste of Rajasthan. The Rajasthani mehandi designs are quite heavy and distinctive and give a royal touch.

For brides, adorning their hands and feet with mehandi is a tradition in almost all of the cultures across India. It is believed that when a bride adorns herself with mehandi, she carries good luck and prosperity into her married life. As per Indian tradition, grooms also adorn their palms with beautiful mehandi designs. Mehandi art has also garnered a lot of attention from tourists, who love the various patterns and designs.

Mehandi also holds medicinal significance. It works as a cooling agent and protects the skin from bacterial and fungal infections. It is also useful to reduce headaches, to keep the body at normal temperature, as a remedy for burning feet and for a fever. Mehandi is widely grown across Rajasthan, as it requires less water and does not need much attention from the farmer, making it an ideal crop.


The use of mehandi dates back to the ancient times. Henna was originally discovered in Egypt and was used for colour fingertips, palms, nails and soles of the feet. In the Middle East, henna has been used since ages for adorning hands and feet, and also as a conditioner or for hair colour. The tradition of decorating hands and feet was usually carried out on auspicious occasions and festivals.

In India too, mehandi has been used since ages for decorative and medicinal purposes. There are many traditional designs that are popular till date and adorned on various occasions.


During ancient times when mehandi was applied on hands, it was done by making a paste of mehandi leaves and then applying it with the help of sticks. Today, mehandi is readily available in the market, in the form of mehandi powder or mehandi cones. One can buy the powder and prepare mehandi paste at home. These days, mehandi is applied with the help of plastic cones which are easy to handle and make the application process quite convenient.

There are numerous patterns that can be chosen. The Chowk design is among the most popular. There are special chowk mehandi patterns for different festivals such as Teej, Gangaur, Holi, etc. Another popular design is the Chauper design, which represents the game of dice and is also a representation of the love between a man and his wife. The Beejani pattern, also known as Pankhi, is also famous and is in the form of a hand-fan. The Lahariya design or the Ripple design is among the most commonly used mehandi patterns in Rajasthan.

There are various tips and tricks to get a darker colour of the applied mehandi. It can be done by covering the applied area with plastic or tissue, to lock in body heat. Many people prefer applying a mixture of lemon juice and sugar over the applied mehandi. Others suggest clove oil; some even suggest rolling hands over the smoke of heated spices to get a darker shade. Despite all these tricks and tips, experts suggest that hennas should be soaked in water for a long time before application, in order to get the dark colour.

The mehandi should be left on the applied portion for a minimum time of 6-8 hours. Once the mehandi dries, it is scraped off and use of water should be avoided for the next 24 hours, so that a dark colour develops. Use of soap, cream or any chemical should be avoided after application of mehandi, as it can hamper with the colour.

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