LEHERIYA (Leh-heh-ri-ya) is a technique of dyeing, named after the ‘leher’ (wave) pattern of the finished product. This tie-and-dye printing technique, an offshoot of the original dyeing technique of Bandhini (from the root word ‘baandh’, meaning knot), also originated in the western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. As in the case of Bandhni, the process of creating a leheriya pattern is divided into three fundamental steps – preparing the material, making the knots and then dyeing it. The wave pattern is achieved by rolling the fabric diagonally and binding the roll in intervals with thread. The bound roll is then dyed.
The traditional leheriya is usually in the colours red and yellow. While the technique is used for sarees and odhnis (veils), the leheriya is favoured by the men to add a touch of resplendence in the form of turbans. It is said that the wave pattern is worn mainly during the monsoon and was traditionally favoured by the Rajputs.
An edited version of the article was published in Culturama's July 2012 Issue.