Bandhej is a traditional method of dyeing practiced in India. The art work is also known as Bandhani is quite popular in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The technique involves tying and dyeing of pieces of cotton or silk cloth. The traditional colors that are used are quite vibrant and bright with yellow, black, red and green used generously. The base color of the textile is usually a light shade of brown, turquoise, blue and pink. The resultant effect is absolutely stunning.
The tie & dye or bandhej is a simple process and the technique of creating patterns is not very difficult. However, it can be tedious and time consuming and if an intricate design is being made it can take almost upto a week! In this, a piece of cloth is first bleached and then folded into two or four layers. It is decided on the basis of the thickness of the cloth. The layout of the pattern is then marked by wooden blocks dipped in a burnt sienna color, missed with water. The area which is not to be dyed is then tied up with a thread. Then, the folds of the material within a small motif is lifted up and tied. Each section is dipped in liquid color and tied again to bring about a contrast.
Popular Designs and Patterns
Today, bandhej or bandahni is famously used in women’s attires like saris, skirts, dupattas, lehengas, salwars, kurtas, etc. Some elaborate bandhej patterns include human and animal figures. This takes the longest process. There is also special significance associated with different designs and patterns. The attire meant for brides is known as chandokhni and chikhara. Then, there is a complex yet beautiful pattern known as ‘barah baag’, which looks like a garden when opened up. There is a pattern that depicts the vibrant flowers of spring season and is known by the name of ‘basant bahar’. There is also a peacock pattern known as ‘mor zad’. Another design that shows squares with elephants and other animals is known as ‘Chokidal’.