Flowers, Color, Tradition, Hospitality, Heritage Monuments, Forts, Palaces, Singing, Dance, Pottery, Ghevar, Dal Baati and Camels. Rajasthan is a state that is blessed with all of this in many a measure, rather volumes. Even the tough and barren lands of this state go berserk with joy in abundance when it comes to dressing up for events and celebrations. Wedding is one such aspect of Rajasthani culture where the customs and traditions add their own unique touch to it.
Travel back in time and there are few interesting stories on Mehndi in Rajasthan to mull over. This traditional and glorious looking ‘tattoo’ was first used as a symbol of design and art. Rajasthan being popular for its ceremonial floor painting called mandana evolved with time when mehndi motifs from the folk tales and rich mythology of India started to be used. In fact, many a folk song and proverbs are in existence today to convey the beauty and enigma of mehndi.
Over a period of time, mehndi took on wider role in the context of the Indian marriage and therefore society. Today, it represents prosperity and good fortune as well, more so in the case of the weddings. That is why a special day is kept aside commonly referred to as ‘mehndi ki raat’ in ordinary and theme-based weddings. Friends and family members, no matter how sophisticated and modern, become witness to this ancient popular tradition. But if you thought mehndi is exclusively restricted to weddings, then you are mistaken. Festivals such as Holi, Diwali, Rakshabandhan, Teej and Nagpanchami are many such occasions where mehndi is applied on the hands of women and teenagers.
Magnificient Weddings of Rajasthan:
Magnificence and heritage forms the trademark of any Rajasthani wedding. Whether it is the intricate culture and value systems or the celebrations, style and opulence go hand in hand. It is a virtual safari where the traditional dance and music, stunning wedding attires and jewellery make a cohesive part of wedding rituals mesmerizing guests and spectators alike.
Any Rajasthani wedding can be split up into three parts: pre-wedding, wedding day and post-wedding. But in all the three occasions, one thing that remains constant throughout is the mehndi that is applied on the palms and the feet of the bride.
Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Mendikha’, mehndi is a turmeric-based paste widely used in weddings and festivals such as Teej and Karva Chauth. With the passage of time and evolving trends, mehndi designs have grown from being simple to ornate.
Made by grinding the dry henna leaves into a fine powder, it is with the assistance of water that a semi-wet paste is prepared. Using cones and matchsticks, the mehndi paste is suitably applied on the feet and hands and other body parts of women. Once it gets dry, it is removed in order to reveal the stunning design patterns drawn on the skin. It is a known fact that the Rajasthani Mehndi is considered to be one of the best among the various mehndi patterns as it leaves behind the darkest color of red because of the close pattern. One can imagine the impact of full hand mehndi designs.
For this reason, Rajasthani mehendi designs are very much in demand for the Indian bride. In Rajasthan, mehndi is put up on almost every occasion, in different designs, as it is considered very auspicious. One of the most popular designs in Rajasthan is the one called chowk. Literally meaning a courtyard, it is put up in various forms, each form being suitable for a different occasion. One design is applied at the time of the Gangaur fair, another at the time of Teej, yet another for Holi and so on. Other popular designs are chopper (game of dice, symbolic of marital love), lahriya (waves), pankhi or beejani (meaning fan), etc. In fact, it’s a traditional plethora of floral motifs, peacock designs, leaves, betel leaf designs, and intricate patterns that make Rajasthani mehendi designs a sure choice for a bridal mehndi and perhaps the most difficult to make too, given the workmanship and the number of hours involved in it.
Rajasthani Mehendi Designs & Patterns
All over the world there are different types of henna designs that are available. There is Moroccan, Jamila, Yemen but there is nothing like the Rajasthani mehendi designs that is famous for its rich brown stain which is less copper in color as compared to Yemen.
The origin of Rajasthani mehendi designs is as panoramic as the mehndi itself. Not only do they vary in terms of the occasions followed but they also vary from being simple to exquisite. Often, they happen to represent objects such as cut pieces of diamonds, vines and floral designs fused together, floral motifs, leaves and birds associated with the festival. Popular mehndi designs comprise of the scorpion (a symbol of romance and love in Rajasthan), the peacock, the fish and the lotus flower. There is heavy work too as seen in mehndi designs that includes jaali work, net tikka joined in a balanced manner with chains, and weighty embellishments. Bridal mehndi designs cover the foot, arms and legs. Even the bride’s elbow to the finger tips are applied mehndi in full measure. Sometimes spaces are created between patterns and sometime they are filled to the minutest detail. After all, it’s the bride’s call – whether she would like the mehndi to be simple enough or heavy and detailed.
Decorating the Hands with Rajasthani Mehendi Designs
It’s a known fact that the Rajasthani skill and craftsmanship, be it ‘tie and dye’, pottery, ethnic arts, jewellery and embroidery is unique and distinctive in itself. A similar level of their expertise and proficiency lies in mehndi designs for hands. No wedding ceremony goes complete without decking up the hands of the bride, from the dainty fingers, hands and elbow to the feet till the knees.
As a matter of fact, Rajasthan being a hot and desert region took to mehndi as a cooling effect. Women were happy to dip their hands and feet in a mud paste made from the crushed leaves of the henna plant to get the required cooling body temperature. However, with time, the concept of having red palms got boring for them. That is when they switched over to big dotted and intricate patterns to make the mehndi look interesting, attractive and creative. Earlier on, a thin silver or ivory made device used for application of kohl to the eyes was used to apply mehndi on hands and feet in some desert villages in Rajasthan, a practice that still exists. But it is in the cities, when plastic cones came to be deployed for this purpose.
Here are some techniques by which bridal mehndi designs leave their impression on the bridal hand.
This pattern puts an interesting twist to Rajasthani mehndi designs. As goes the name, the mehndi design on both the hands of the bride are identical to each other which is why clinically it can referred to as the ‘Mirror Effect’. Perfect to go, it is the traditional motifs such as the border of mango leaf filled with small squares that makes this full hand mehndi designs unique.
If you thought peacocks look good only on a saree pallu or dancing in a green lawn, think again. Peaocock motifs look as regal on a bride’s hand as much in a nature forest. With the tip of the fingers adequately filled with henna, what stands out however is the peacock outline stretching from the center of the hand right upto the mid-arm. In this whole milieu, the angular lines run in a criss-cross pattern all over the hand. Beautiful and elegant, the peacock motif-led mehndi designs for hands are a classical case of workmanship in full bloom.
Imagine a flower bed decorating your hands from fingers to the arm, more so when you are about to tie the knot with that special someone. Bridal mehndi designs in the above sample take the purpose of beautification one step ahead with bold floral patterns and peacocks going right upto the mid-elbow.
Lord Ganesha is the most revered Hindu God who stands for good luck. Pay your best form of worship as you step into a new phase of married life by getting the awesome looking Ganpati Mehndi designs on your hands and feet. A symbol of inspiration and creativity, the beauty of this complex Ganesha idol is such that you would love to keep looking at it as a symbol of unending faith.
Bride and Bridegroom:
The would-be couple now get a romantic passport looking at the way the bride and the groom pictures have been beautifully drawn in the woman’s hands. Having the face of the engaged couple is a common practice that is found in Rajasthani mehndi designs. It further adds to their symmetry of life ahead, making it full of love, care and compassion.
Prince and Princess:
Is it a tale of love or a legendary fable? The opinions might differ but nothing can defeat the exquisite craftsmanship from hand to hand in this Rajasthani mehndi designs. The only difference is that you will find the prince in the right hand and the princess on the right caught in the web of intricate dotted meshwork. So regal and appointed, the bridal mehndi design deserves an award.
Charming Mango Motifs
The mangos intermingling with each other making a full circle in the midst of the hand are all that takes to radiate this charm.
A bunch of flowers is all it takes to deck up the bride’s hands in the most beautiful way. The flowers offset with their leaves convey the balanced act of nature in the most elegant way on a bride’s hand.
For brides who want to wear an interesting twist on their hands on their wedding day, this one surely rocks. Check out the stupendous effect of glittering stones embedded in the round and floral designs on the palms. It is the most glamorous way of doing up your hand that would become an instant rage and be in the spotlight.
Decorating The Feet With Rajasthan Mehendi
Aapke paon dekhe, bahut haseen hai.
Inhe zameen par mat utariyega.
Maile ho jayenge
Film Pakeezah (1972)
Immortal dialogues such as these that leave you speechless come rarely. However, their essence can be replicated in real life, especially when it comes to applying mehndi designs for feet. It is true that a woman’s feet are no less than an artist’s canvas when you have black, orange and red combination mehndi paste at your disposal. Whether it is the mirror effect or peacock design, all look super beautiful on the delicate feet of a Rajasthani bride. Here are some handpicked Rajasthani mehndi designs for feet.
Twiggy Affair with Flowers and Mangoes
Leaf-like curvy patterns that start from the feet travelling upto the mid-leg that have a soft and gentle way of reminding the onlookers of the beautilicous feet that a diva such as you.
Neat and elegant paisley print style with lots of empty space in between, this mehndi designs has all the makings of intricacy and soft flow.
Have you seen a mehndi designs for feet done in bajuband style? It looks regal and in class of its own. This mehndi motif has a combination of circular dotted patterns uniquely crafted and jaali work to make you look a Queen for your D-day.
Combination mehndi design that has the bride and the bridegroom, the lovely Ganesha and the elephant all crafted so beautifully in this red paste that it gives one a solid impression of how gorgeous the henna paste can ever look.
All in all, the aroma of Mehandi oil and Henna is so intoxicating enough, from the mud smell to the earthy Rajasthani designs that they are sure to leave a mark in the hands of young girls and married women for posterity.