Bandhani – A Story of Million Dots

Someone has so aptly described Bandhani or Bandhej in such a simple line. A Story of Million Dots – each Bandhej garment telling a different tale. Story which is created by the hands of the artisans who put in hours at a stretch to create these masterpieces for us.

Let us understand how Bandhej is made. Bandhani or Bandhej is an art where small portion of garment is pinched and tied using thread. After the whole garment has been tied in this manner, the fabric is dyed in vibrant shades. Once the dye settles, the threads used to pinch and tie the fabric is removed, thus creating the wonderful patterns of bandhani dots.

I get mesmerised with the thought of how simple dots can make such exquisite patterns in Bandhani. They sometimes even tell you a story. Tales inspired from Nature, Festive events, and great historic milestones to name a few.

Like a barati pattern showcases the essential elements of a marriage procession such as a Shehnai (Musical Instrument), Dulha (Groom), Dulhan (Bride) and much more. Or a Shikargah pattern depicts the major parts of a jungle ecosystem, like animals (Elephant, Horse, Peacock, Lion, Tiger, Parrot and many more), flora and fauna. 

Apart from telling a story, bandhani also has symbolic meaning.

Like a Ghachola also called Ghatchola, represents blessings and good wishes for a new bride entering her marital home. Wearing a gharchola is believed to bring good luck to the newly wedded couple. So, Brides add this auspicious gharchola to their wedding attire in any form they can like a saree, dupatta, chunnari, Odhani and even lehenga.

The artisans of Bandhani are majorly located in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Khatri community of Gujarat excels in creating Bandhani textiles. Be it a saree, dupatta, shawls or running fabric. These great artisans devote hundreds of hours in creating a single garment. The tedious task of plucking the fabric with nails, and tying with thread takes hours to complete.

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