The Art of Mehndi

MHANDEE , or henna, is an ancient art of decorating the body using a paste made from the powdered leaves of the henna plant (Lawsonia inermis). Mhandee is typically applied to brides before their wedding and it is also used in various Hindu festivals and rituals. Henna is a form of temporary skin decoration and its application resembles traditions found in North Africa and the Middle East.

Mehendi designs are most commonly done on hands and feet, and the elaborate decorations are most often seen on bridal attire. It is a traditional part of the pre-wedding ceremonies in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal and is widely practiced by Sikh, Muslim and Hindu brides.

Mehndi is a complex, organic compound that requires patience and precision to apply. The process takes about two to three hours for the dye to stain the skin a deep orange-red colour that gradually fades to a dark brown over a few days. In the past, a variety of herbs such as lemon, tea and coffee were added to the henna paste for texture, smell or to speed up the staining.