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What are BANDHEJ Sarees AND HOW TO SELECT THE BEST PIECES?

If you're wondering what is Bandhej and where to find it, we're here to your rescue. Find out all you need to know about Selecting & Buying Bandhej Sarees.

neha in our finest bandhani lehenga

 The diversity and richness of Indian culture not just shines through our history and architecture, customs and cuisines; but also through our vast handloom, handicraft and artistic expertise.

No festival or wedding goes by without us turning to our rich ethnic outfits. With an array of textiles, embroideries and weaves spread across our 29 states, the Indian artisans and craftsmen have been creating unique fashion statements in every nook and corner of India since ages. 

Bandhani Sarees - a Riot of Colours!

Red bandhani saree

Bandhej or Bandhani (coming from the word bandhna or tying) is one of the finest forms of traditional tie and dye art, and it has not just survived the past 5000 years, but is still loved and worn everyday.

It comes to us from the lands of vast deserts, palaces and forts - Gujarat and Rajasthan. It's vibrant colours, striking patterns and intricate craftsmanship is what makes Bandhej Sarees and outfits a must have in every woman's wardrobe!

Historic origins of Bandhej

Blue bandhani saree in gazzi silk

Bandhani art has reigned supreme in Rajasthan and Gujarat since time immemorial. It is believed to have originated in the Kutch region some 5000 years ago and has remained in production ever since! 

As per folklore and evidences found in historical texts, the first Bandhani saree was worn at the time of Bana Bhatt`s Harshacharita in a royal wedding. It was believed that wearing a Bandhani saree could bring good future to a bride! 

Today the art of creating intricate Bandhej sarees is practiced extensively in Rajasthan with Jaipur, Sikar, Jodhpur, Barmer, Udaipur and Nathdwara being the main hubs. In Gujarat, the artisans producing the more finer variety of Bandhani can be found in smaller villages and towns around Kutch, Bhuj and Jamnagar.

What is Bandhej?

Technique of Bandhani

Bandhej or “Bandhni”, is a highly sophisticated and complex method of tie and dye traditionally using cotton or silk fabrics. The fabric is tied tightly using bare hands and by pinching the fabric with finger nails! It is then dipped in vibrant colours for a dye bath. When untied, beautiful dots appear on the fabric in a myriad of patterns and motifs. 

 Bandhani buying Tip - The finer the dots, the more time it takes to complete tying and dyeing that piece, and the prettier it looks when ready. That intricacy is what makes a handpicked Bandhej saree or outfit stand out from the crowd! 

Alia Bhatt in Tarun tahiliani bandhani saree

Picture courtesy: Alia Bhatt

Varieties in Bandhani sarees 

Pink banarasi bandhej saree with meenakri

Shop this look

Today a you'll find Bandhani sarees and outfits in a variety of designs, colors, patterns and fabrics. The patterns formed actually depend on the way in which the knots are tied and the most common Bandhani styles include dots, waves, strips and squares. 

The most classic and popular styles of Bandhej sarees are Ghatchola or Gharchola (zari chequered), Gazzi silk sarees (with heavy zari borders on silk), benarasi (bandhani with benarasi border/full benarasi sari), Pomcha (yellow chunari) and red wedding chunari (typically red and green), leheria (striped) and mothra (chequered). 

Neha in our benarasi bandhani lehenga

These are what every bride-to-be must look at before selecting a piece perfect for her trousseau. The best part about investing in these traditional bandhani sarees is that they're truly timeless and classic and will simply never go out of style.

 

Fun fact! 

If you actually go to a real bandhani artisan in a village and talk about designs to him, he'll tell you stories about dungar shahi (hill shaped), laddoo jalebi (spirals), chaubasi (groups of four), tikunthi (circles and squares in groups of three), satbandi (in groups of seven), ekdali (a dot), boond (a small dot with a dark centre) and kodi (tear or drop shaped) - these are actually the various patterns of tying the fabric before it is dyed!

Patterns in Bandhani

Contemporary Bandhani styles in your Wardrobe?

Sabyasachi bandhani lehenga

In the last few seasons, Bandhani has been rediscovered by leading Indian designers and gained newfound fashion following in Indian as well as global markets! And interestingly, it is now available in hues ranging from traditional reds and greens to trending pastels, olive greens, corals, blacks and more. 

Today, not just sarees but a variety of dresses made out of Bandhani are also a big craze across generations. So if you're not a saree person, don't despair!

kajol in black bandhani saree

Picture Courtesy: Kajol

You have many other options to choose from - Bandhej anarkalis and lehengas, colourful Bandhej skirts with crop tops, dupattas, kurtis with pants or shararas, leheria or bandhani jumpsuits and even leheria gowns or dresses.

How to buy Bandhani Sarees?

Janvi kapoor in a Bandhani saree by Manish Malhotra

Picture Courtesy: Janhvi Kapoor

While Bandhej sarees and dupattas are easily available in local saree shops all over India, what you usually see in the markets are the general variety - low cost, low quality and no 'wow' factor. 

If you're looking for exclusive karigari or fine workmanship, you could either hunt for the right artisans whose families have been in this business for generations. Or you could pick from the pre-selected pieces at couture labels and designer stores.

Saloni in our benarasi bandhej lehenga

Another great option in this post covid era is to shop for your exclusive Bandhej sarees and outfits online - without having to step out and go window shopping from store to store. To check out our collection of Bandhej sarees and outfits - visit our online store now.

And remember, the finer - the better! 



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