The story behind the bandhani saree and its manufacturing process
The bandhani saree has a rich history behind its colourful patterns.
The word bandhani originates from the Sanskrit/Hindi words ‘Bandhna’ or ‘Bandha’ which means ‘tying’ or ‘to tie’. It refers to the Indian traditional art of ‘tie and dye’ (a resist dyeing technique that makes use of impermeable threads for tying) that is used to produce fine, beautiful circular patterns on fabrics.
Not just sarees but bandhani art has become so famous that you can find it in different apparels like dress materials, ghagras, dupattas, shawls, turbans and even some western garments.
Bed linens, curtains, upholstery are made using this art technique as well.
Let’s go back to our rich history and explore the story behind the bandhani style of making colourful garments.
History of the Bandhani craft
Bandhani craft is believed to have begun around 5000 years ago. It is one of the oldest forms of tie and dye techniques that is practiced even today.
In India, dyes have held deep meaning for several reasons for thousands of years. In the initial days, dyes were made up of natural substances such as leaves, bark, various flowers and plants. It was simply a way of changing the colour rather than dyeing. The art of dipping the cloth into a dye bath came many years later.
The earliest forms of colors that were used in dyeing were turmeric and indigo that came from plants as they readily stuck to cotton fabrics with a little permanency.
Traders used to sell these tie and dye clothes as a part of their merchandise not only in India but throughout Asia and the far East.
The earliest evidence of the Bandhani style of art dates back around 4000 BC when proof that dyeing was done was found in the Indus valley civilization. Bandhani dots were also seen in the 6th century paintings found on the wall of one of the caves in Ajanta which depicted the life of Buddha. This is mentioned by Alexander the Great in his texts describing the beautiful dyes he encountered in India.
Bandhani work is said to have started by the Khatri community of Gujarat. It was introduced in Jamnagar when the city was founded about 400 years ago. These fabrics are most popular in Rajasthan and Gujarat which are home to many other traditional forms of art and craft.
As per the historical texts, the first Bandhani saree was worn in the time of Bana Bhatt’s Harshacharitra in a royal marriage. It was believed then that wearing a bandhani saree brings good future to the bride.
As Rajasthan is a land of vibrant colours, colourful bandhani sarees and costumes are found in bazaars, fairs and festivals and in the costumes worn in the traditional paintings and murals. Even in Gujarat, the Gujarati Gharchola (the bridal saree gifted from the groom’s family) and panetar (gujarati wedding ensemble) have delicate Bandhani work.
Types of bandhani sarees
There are many varieties when it comes to bandhani sarees. While blue, black, red and green are the characteristic colours of these sarees, many other colours are mixed and matched too. Not only circular patterns but you can also find lines, rays and triangles.
Various binding techniques are also used for bandhani sarees such as single knot, twin knot, mountain patterns, teardrop form, diamond shape, etc.
The three major types of bandhani sarees are:
- JHANKAAR BANDHANI: This bandhani type is famous for its colourful, vibrant and extremely fine patterns. Unlike the other Bandhani styles, it does not have light or white colored dots. For example: A green jhankaar bandhani will have red or maroon dots.
- BORJAAL: This type is famous as wedding bandhani sarees because they have highly intricate patterns. It is quite popular among Marwari communities and they are available in many colors and even in georgettes.
- COLOR DISCHARGE BANDHANI: Bandhani is usually created by using darker colors over lighter ones but in this type, the effect is reversed and lighter colors are visible over darker colored dot patterns. For example: deep red dots on a pale yellow base.
First stage involves selecting the material for the bandhani garment. The most common fabrics used for the same are cotton, silk, and wool. The fabric is then cut to size and checked for impurities before it is washed for better dye absorption.
It is then folded to keep the layers together for printing. Motifs and different designs are handpicked and the same is then transferred to the cloth using plastic farma paper.
The next stage involves giving the cloth to the “bandhanara” (tying artist) who ties the fabric into tight knots. The number of ties per cloth can range from just a few to thousands and sometimes it may even take months to complete this process.
Dyeing is the next step and over here, the cloth is washed in hot water and the fabric is then immersed into the dye solution. It may take several minutes depending on the type of dye, preferred darkness of the fabric and the colors used.
This process is repeated multiple times if there are multiple colors to be used. After dyeing, the cloth is gently washed to remove extra dye and impurities. The cloth is then dried for several hours before it gets ready to be sold.
The bandhani saree comes in many colors, patterns and designs that can instantly light up a woman’s grace and at the same time, give a beautiful touch to the entire attire.
It is popular across many cultures because of its rich history and its significance in many Indian traditions. Even celebrities have been seen flaunting the Bandhani style with all its vivid details and colors.
At Gokul Texprint, we understand the rich history of the Bandhani craft and we consider it our duty that the Bandhani manufacturing and designing process is top-notch and efficient so that this craft stays preserved and authentic. A reason why so many dealers and distributors all over India choose to select the bandhani style garments from us.
If you have any concerns or queries regarding the manufacturing process or anything else, callus on 9328113011 or chat with us on wa.me/919328113011. We’d be happy to hear from you.