Kutch textiles: Bandhani & SIDR craft

Posted on April 26, 2019 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

kutch textiles


A large bandhani piece we saw at Mr A A Wazir's house


I think many people are familiar with the term 'shibori' which is the Japanese technique of resist dyeing on cloth. The word itself means 'to wring, squeeze, press', and it is a way of manipulating the fabric to achieve the desired results. However, this practice is not unqiue to Japan, and countries like China, Indonesia, Korea, and India have their versions too. In India, a tie-dyeing technique is commonly practised by artisans in Kutch, which is called bandhani or banghej. The term bandhani is derived from the Sanskrit word 'bandh' which means 'to bind or to tie'.

Tiny dots are created by tying several points of a thin fabric (cotton or silk) tightly with a thread, which then would be dyed after the design is created. It is a time-consuming process esp. if you have a large piece of cloth or a complex design. This technique is closely associated with the pastoral Khatri community, which migrated from Sindh (now Pakistan) a few centuries ago. The patterns differ vastly between the Muslim Kkatris and the Hindu Khatris. The Muslim artisans prefer to use geometric designs inspired by the cosmos, whereas the Hindu artisans like to use plants, animals and human figures for their patterns. A bandhani sari (often featuring yellow dots on red fabric) is traditionally worn at Gujarati weddnings.


sidr craft  sidr craft


Traditionally, the practice is usually carried out at home by women or young girls, but we visited SIDR craft studio in Bhuj that specialises in this technique founded by two male artisans and brothers, Abduljabbar and Abdullah Khatri.

We were greeted by Abdullah at the studio, and he told us that the studio was established in 1992 in order to continue the family tradition of bandani. The studio received UNESCO Seal of Excellence in 2006 and 2007, and their international clientele continues to grow year on year.


sidr craft

sidr craft

bandhani  bandhani


The design process at SIDR craft is overseen by Abduljabbar, who uses traditional motifs and stencils are created to transfer the pattern to fabric: pure silk, cotton and cotton-silk blends. Over 200 independent women artisans in villages in Kutch are employed to tying thousands of tiny knots on the stenciled fabric to create a single scarf or shawl. The natural dyeing process, often is required in successive stages for a single piece, takes place at the studio.  

We were all very impressed by the intricate design and painstaking process, and we loved the fact that no two scarves, stoles and shawls are exactly the same. It is also encouraging to learn that the studio is selling to overseas retailers and customers, which demonstrates that one-of-a-kind handcrafted accessories would never go out of fashion, and they have to be preserved for generations to come.


bandhani  bandhani

bandhani  bandhani

bandhani  bandhani 

sidr craft


This post was posted in Travel, Designers & artists, Design, Textiles, natural dyeing, India, Indian design, Kutch, Bandhani and was tagged with textiles, natural dyeing, India, Indian design, bandhani, Kutch, Indian textiles, Kutch textiles