Leheriya Dyeing from Rajasthan

Leheriya is an art that imitates the wave pattern. Mothra is an extension of the leheriya where two sets of diagonal lines cross each other creating small rectangular spaces resembling moth(pulses), which are located between the checks. Worn as turbans or veils, leheriya textiles are usually of very fine cotton or silk, fabrics that facilitate such usage as well as allow the dye to penetrate to the innermost portions of the coiled or rolled fabric.

 

The cloth is tied into a turban or a saree that is folded in a manner that when opened post-dyeing, there is a striped pattern created on the cloth with color on every opposite stripe.The fabric is rolled diagonally from one corner to the opposite edge of the fabric, and then tied at the required intervals and dyed. The repetitive loops of tied thread thus create the wave patterns from the fanlike folds made before dyeing.Traditional leheriya employs natural dyes and multiple washes and uses indigo for blue colour  or alizarin for red hues during the final stage of preparation. A leheriya dupatta can take anywhere between three to four days to be completed.The base cloth that is used in the process is of a lighter color, generally white, and in cotton, silk, chiffon or georgette. Traditionally, craftsmen would tie and dip it in 5 different colors to get the desired pattern in multiple hues. To prevent color bleeding, soaking the garment overnight, in a bucket of water containing a teaspoon of salt, fastens the colors on the cloth.

 

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The Leheriya was patronized in the nineteenth and early twentieth century by the local traders and merchants who wore turbans of bright Leheriya fabric.For a number of years, Leheriya was a style that belonged to the typical Marwari class in Rajasthan.The pattern, harmoniously arranged diagonal stripes, were originally, dyed in yellow and red.

Udaipur is renowned for its leheriya turban cloths—the saafa is a continuous strip of fabric measuring 9.1 m (10 yards) in length and 45 inches in width, that is worn mostly in Jodhpur; traditionally, the longer paag was worn in Jaipur and the pagari by the Baniya community in the state. The paag and the pagari are tightly coiled before they are wrapped around the head and therefore require a length of fabric that may be as long as 27.4 m (30 yards) and about 9 inches wide. Although plain versions of all three are worn on a daily basis, those that were leheriya patterned were reserved for special occasions and certain seasons—the pachrang in yellow, red, green and blues; the samudra leher dyed in the colours of the sea and the indradhanush, dyed in the seven colours of the rainbow were favoured during the rainy season . Sombre occasions, including periods of mourning, were marked by duller colours such as mauve and brown, often in tiny mothra; and deep indigo during Diwali. Leheriya and mothra are worn primarily during the festivals of Gangaur and Teej, which mark the coming of the spring and the advent of the monsoon respectively.

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In its earliest form, Leheriya was a style mainly used in head turbans. Over the years leheriya was introduced in lehenga cholis, suits and sarees. Nowadays, Leheriya is a part of both attire and accessories. It is now seen on ethic and casual clothing, bags and shoes, as well as on scarves and cravats.

Lehariya patterns such as Mothda, Panchranga and Satranga have gained attention worldwide because of their  art patterns.

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