Bandhani is a skilled tie-dyeing textile practice found predominantly in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The word ‘Bandhani’ arises from the Sanskrit word ‘Banda’ which means ‘to tie’ and it is also referred to as Bandhej or Bandana depending on the region.
In this craft, the fabric is pinched at intervals and thread is used to tie the tiniest of dots around the small pinch of fabric. For larger bandhani dots, a small lentil is placed on the fabric and the thread is wound around it. After the fabric is dyed, the threads are removed to reveal the non-dyed portion of the fabric. The tightly wound threads in this case act as a resist to the dye. Very fine bandhani is often characterized by an uneven surface – where the pinched parts of the fabric continue to look pinched long after the threads have been removed.
The process of using bandhani to create patterns on fabric was started by the Muslim Khatri Community of Kutch (Gujarat), and various patterns continue to be made for turbans, dupattas, and shawls.