Bandhani, also known as Bandhej; is a type of tie and dye textile which is adorned by plucking the cloth into many bindings, that form a design. Practiced mainly in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and some parts of Uttar Pradesh, the word Bandhani is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Banda’ which means ‘to tie’. The art of Bandhani involves dyeing the fabric which is tightly tied with a thread at several places to produce different patterns.

bandhani fabric

Bandhej or Bandhani is the oldest form of tie and dye. According to the historical references, the first Bandhani saree was worn many years back, at a royal wedding. Ajanta caves also have a visual representation of Bandhej and this ancient art form is still in practice. Bandhani is generally performed on cotton and silk fabrics. The fabric is tied tightly, and it is then dipped in for a dye bath. The tied area of the fabric is dyed in vibrant colors. Bandhej is a combination of a cluster of patterns, beautiful color combinations and alluring twirls. Wearing Bandhani  is a mark of identity in many communities. Bandhej is generally worn as a wedding outfit or on traditional occasions. Finer the Bandhani work, more expensive the fabric is. Bandhani is generally made up of natural colors where the main colors are yellow, blue, green and black.


Bandhani saree is a speciality of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Patterns of Bandhani saree have become more popular recently, and can be worn on any occasion. Bandhej or Bandhani is a beautiful art and can be commonly seen worn by not only women, but also by men. The demand of Bandhani saree has increased over last few decades. Bandhani odhnis are also worn by many ladies on festive occasions. Bandhani tends to lose its strength, if it is ironed on high heat so it is advised to dry clean or iron it on a low heat setting. Main market of Bandhani is in Gujarat, but due to rise in demand, Bandhej is sold all over India. Bandhani print is often embellished with mirror work or gota work, to give it a majestic look.


colors of bandhani

Bandhani products have their own specific meanings in different communities in India. Bandhani is one of the oldest techniques of creating different designs and patterns on fabric. Bandhani or Bandhej is generally made up of natural colors. However, each color has its own significance.

RED, which is a symbol of marriage, is believed to give a good future and fortune to a newly wed bride.

SAFFRON is the color of a yogi.

YELLOW symbolizes spring and joy.

BLACK AND MAROON are the colors of mourning.

Bandhani sarees, Bandhani kameez, Bandhani dresses, Bandhani suits are a colourful delight. Bandhani comprises of many designs. Like Trikunti, Boond, Kodi, Chaubandi etc.


technique of bandhani

Art of Bandhani is a highly skilled process. Fabric to be dyed, is tied very tightly at different points, forming a pattern and it is then dyed in different colors. When this tied fabric is dipped for dyeing, the tied part does not catch color and remains of the same color as the fabric. Once the fabric is dyed, it is dried in open air and the drying process takes some time. In summers, Bandhani fabric is dyed in 4-5 hours; and in winters, it dyes in 6-7 hours. Depending on the pattern of the fabric it is tied in, it produces different designs like Bavan Baug, Chandrakala, Shikari etc.


variety of bandhani

Bandhej or Bandhani comes in a variety of designs, colors and patterns. These variations depend on the region this Bandhej fabric is manufactured in. After the making of Bandhani is over, it results in a variety of symbols including dots, waves, strips and squares. Depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied, Bandhej patterns include Lehriya, Mothra, Ekdali etc. Bandhani is offered in different varieties; Ekdali means single knot, Trikunti means three knots; Chaubandi means four knots and Boond means small dot with a dark centre. Bandhani saree, suits, dresses and kameez are in a huge trend.


present day bandhani

In a last few decades, Bandhani has experienced success in Indian as well as global market. Skilled craftsmen have adapted different traditional designs, new colors and natural dyes; and created several Bandhani garments out of it. Traditional Bandhani designs have Indian as well as global appeal to them. Bandhani can also be printed on the fabric and can be given a classic appeal. Dresses made out of Bandhani are also a great craze among people of all generations. Bandhani motifs also found a huge space in men’s fashion market. Bandhani motifs were seen as prints on turbans and even on pockets of kurtas, to add a traditional look.


Bandhani has been here for centuries and is here to stay for many years to come. Variations of Bandhani fabric will increase and will continue to flourish. Many skilled craftsmen have been working on this beautiful art for several years now. This art of tie and dye is becoming a huge trend and it has found its valuable space in different accessories and garments.

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