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Bandhej of Rajasthan

The technique of resist dyeing by binding indivdual area of cloth to shield them from the dye is usually known in India as Bandhani or Bandhej. This form of tie and dye is also referred to in south east Asia and in the west by the Malay term plangi,and in Japan as shibori Our earliest evidence for the use of bandhini cloth in India is its depiction on the walls of Ajanta caves which dates back to 6-7th century AD Tie-dyeing has been used through out the subcontinent for a huge range of textiles ,from the course cotton odhanis of Rajasthan,to the astonishingly fine silk saris and veils of Gujarat with their intricate patterns an the Bengal silk hankerchiefs.


RAJASTHAN the land frequently

described as colorful, vibrant that spring not from any natural luxuriance but rather from the traditional way of life and in particular the brilliant costumes of Rajasthan. In Rajasthan the glowing red and yellow odhani or turban is valued as an affirmation of life in the face

of hardship.

Fine muslins, georgette and chiffons in novel color-scheme are basically the preserve of urban banya,mahajan or merchant community. The choice of clothing here is dictated not by changing patterns of fashion or taste as

in cities but by a traditional

community based aesthetics.

The colors mostly used are the bright tones of yellows, reds, greens and blues where in red and yellow are considered to be auspicious

Likhai- The design, which is to be worked on, is printed on

the fabric by using a wooden block and washable colors.

Bandhai- The printed design which is tied in the form of small dots. So that the dye does not penetrate through the tied area.

Rangai-The tied fabric is then dyed in the ground or base

colour. And after dyeing these knots are cut open to reveal
the dots. Lipai-it is extra incorporation of small dots called buttis in or around the motifs.

Holi-In spring around the festival of HOLI, clothes of pastel
coloured leheria stripes or blue and lilac clothes tie-dyed with red are very common. Diwali-At the time of diwali, dark indigo dyed clothes are worn.Blue and pink chunari patterned odhanis , skirts and

turbans are also worn.

Teej-At the time of teej,clothes with striped leheria designs

are given to young women by their brothers.

Apart from these festivals, crudely dyed red, green and yellow bandhni clothes are offered to sitalmata the Goddess

of small pox.
And tie-dyed chunaries are traditionally offered by mothers to the 7 female deities known as Bayasar and Mahamaya in Rajasthan, to ensure the health of their children. The tie-dyed chunaries are also believed to be connected with female divinities. For e.g. oParvati worn it at the time of her marriage with lord Shiva. oLakshmi worn it during Diwali. oAnd even Holika , the wicked Goddess used to wear it.

Significant use of stylized lotus flower can be seen. The most basic form is piliya with red border and a yellow field with a pattern of large red circles in the centre and four smaller ones surrounding it. Piliya can also be decorated with a design of tie-dyed white dots within the borders. And over that , it can be embellished by sewing on flat gold ribbons or sprinkling metallic dust.

Odhanis are fully patterned with coloured diamond shapes called Laddu or Dabbi.

Shikar bandhanis are also very intricate part incorporated

with hunting scenes. Stitch and wax resist bandhni patterns are also created. Leaf shaped motifs are used and are known as Kodi ( Cowri ) Wrap resist leherias are produced. Another wrap resist is Mothara which is a resist on two diagonals are also used. The best example of this is Khat ka


Western Rajasthan
This particular region is recognised by red skirts printed wirth black circles and tie-dyed red odhanis edged with black.

Sind (the desert region) is famous for the wearings of

distinctive large odhanis of coarse rust coloured cotton with simple linear patterns of white dots.

Sind including Barmar and Jaisalmer traditionally produces

some simple tie-dyed designs.

Eastern Rajasthan (Including Jaipur , Kota, Ajmer, Alwar)

In these regions, series of dots or sequences are used. But complex designs featuring floral patterns, hunting (shikaar) scenes and auspicious subjects such as Raasleela scene is very famous in Kota.

Kota is also very famous for its extremely fine masuria

malmal cloth. And local muslins are brought from Multan, Barhanpur and Kashmir by cloth merchants.

Bandhani work of Alwar are wonderfully soft and pleasant. Udaipur, Nathdwar and Chitor produces simply tie- dyed Odhanis in dark red and purple colour incorporated with

white dots.
Bagru and Sikar ( located 70 miles north of Jaipur) produces boldly patterned cotton odhanis in rich earth tones.

Preservance The City Palace Museum, Jaipur. Royal belongings containing a larg number and variety of tiedyed costume pieces of. It is also having a good product range in kurtas, kanchalis,

angarakhis of fine leheria fabric.

The Victoria and Albert Museum It has a good collection of laharia turban clothes which are

the master pieces of complex dyeing.

A dominating collection of pieces are also there bought from Paris exhibition of 1867, majority of which are the belongings of Jaipur.




The name sungri, shungri or sungudi is given to cotton tie-dyed (and wax-resist dyed) fabrics in South India, and by extension to other types of sari,cotton or silk, with all-over dotted patterns, even if the dots are woven rather than dyed.

The name is derived from Jaganadh in saurashtra,but it seems more probable that these are forms of chunari,the north Indian term for dotted patterns. The method of tie and dye is locally known as Chungidi and Madurai is the key place in Tamilnadu


Designs are usually in a somewhat limited palette of dark reds and pinks with small-scale patterns using white and yellow dots. The colours mostly used are red, Purple, blue and black. The specialty here is the kolam or rangoli patterns. The kolams are all geometric in nature and the borders of the sari are in contrasting colours.

Madurai has led to an unusual variation on the traditional bandhani methods, where by the dots or squares of the design are not reserved by wrapping but by wax-resist. The wax is applied with wooden blocks, and the cloth is immersed in a cold dye-bath. Then the wax resists are removed by boiling the complete cloth in water. The borders are not tied or stitched as is usual in North India, but usually dyed by dipping after the field has been folded and clamped between boards to resist the dye.

Bandhani technique is used at Madurai in Tamil Nadu to make bold patterns out of an single color in making Sungri sarees.

The textiles seem to have been exclusively of cotton, in spite of the fact that South India is best known for its silk-weaving. Tie and dye saris of sungri are in traditional bandhani patterns having borders of gold brocade with the rudraksh (bead) pattern beloved of South Indians, and frequently gold brocade pallavs (end borders). The south Indian tie-dyed designs are simple in comparison to the intricacies of the gujrati pieces but they are delicately worked on fine light muslin.


The only significant center of bandhani work in south India is Madhurai, where immigrants from Saurashtra in Gujarat, referred to collectively as patnulkarar (from Tamil pat, 'silk', and nul, 'thread') still make tie-dyed saris for the local market.

The tie-dyed textiles were used in south India for turbans, saris and womens head covers. The cyclopidia of India (1871) states that head cloth, rumal are manufactured in Madhurai districts. They are always in square with lace borders and are always red colour, printed with white spots. They are worn by the hindus as turbans.