Leheriya is a traditional style of tie and dye practiced in Rajasthan, India. Leheriya is bright in color, with distinctive patterns. The word leheriya comes from the word “leher”, meaning “wave”. It is a tie-dye technique resulting in diagonal stripes, which look like waves on the fabric.
To create diagonal stripes, the craftsmen of Rajasthan use a special method of resist- dyeing, wherein the material, generally a turban or sari, is rolled up diagonally length-wise and then tied tightly at intervals before the actual dyeing process begins. Delicate, light fabrics such as thin cotton voile, fine silk and chiffon are preferred, as they allow the color to penetrate through the rolled cloth.
The fabric is wrapped around a wooden pole, usually while it is still wet or in a semi-dry state. The thread that ties up the fabric acts as a resist, yielding a pattern of diagonal stripes after dyeing. The thickness of the thread and the distance between the ties may be varied to obtain stripes of different width.
An astounding variety of leheriya textiles are produced using this simple process. A “panchranga” (five-color) design is the most auspicious, since the number five is considered special in Hindu scriptures. Another beautiful pattern is “satranga”, flaunting the seven colors of the rainbow.