BANJARA EMBROIDERY belongs to the nomadic tribe or the Banjara who are believed to be the descendants of the gypsies of Europe thousands of years ago who subsequently settled in the desert areas of Rajasthan.
They are considered to be among the most colourful tribes in India owing to their vivid dresses and jewellery. This popular tribe of Banjaras moved towards the Deccan Plateau in South India in 17th century during the reign of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor. They are now widely spread over Deccan Plateau, and they live in small villages which are known locally as "tandas".
Fine clothes and tribal jewellery heralds beauty for the Banjara women who wear it in all its glory. They don colourful ghaghara, cholis, and odhnis with bold mirrors and appliqué work.
The intricate banjara embroidery done through this art form is marked by many geometrical combinations like diamonds, squares, and triangles. Outlines of circles, rectangles, zigzags, and squares are carefully stitched onto cloth and filled in with even more stitching. In some of the more elaborate textiles produced by the Banjara, nearly every inch of the surface is covered in stitching. This cornucopia of designs as well as figures are created with the help of simple stitches such as herringbone, chain stitch, as well as short and long stitch.
For embellishing an article, artisans also employ beads, shells, and mirrors. The mirrors are stitched together with colourful threads on the entire dress. Coins are also attached to the bigger mirrors and are then stitched on the Choli [blouse]. The sunlight which is reflected through the colourful mirror accentuates the splendid beauty of this craft. This work is carried by the women of the banjara tribes, who have received the knowledge and practice of the craft from their mothers and grandmothers, effectively making this craftsmanship a regular income generator.