Mehandi is a temporary body art done with a powder known as henna. This is obtained from a plant Lawsonia inermis, commonly found in middle east and other areas where climate is hot and dry. The top leaves of the plant is dried and crushed to make powder, i.e. henna powder.
The art of mehandi is spread over the south asia, middle east and north africa. Henna is popular for more than 5000 years , for not only its aesthetic or sacred qualities but also for its medicinal properties. Henna has a strong cooling effect and is also known as an antiseptic. Henna is also used as a hair dye.
The henna powder is green in colour but the stain or colour which is leaves is orange-red. There are different ways by which people apply henna paste on body. Some people use toothpicks and some use plastic cones or plastic squeeze bottle to make beautiful patterns on body. Then this is allowed to dry for few hours, then gently removed without using water. This way pretty colour is obtained which lasts for couple of weeks. in other words is a naturally obtained tattoo.
Henna designs or mehandi designs traditionally falls into four different styles:
1. Middle Eastern style
is mostly made up of floral patterns similar to the Arabic textiles, paintings and carvings and do not usually follow a distinctive pattern.
2.The North African style generally follows the shape of the hands and feet using geometrical floral patterns.
3.The Indian and Pakistani designs encompass more than just the feet and hands and generally extend further up the appendages to give the illusion of gloves and stockings which are made up of lines, paisley patterns and teardrops.
4. The Indonesian and Southern Asian styles were a mix of Middle Eastern and Indian designs using blocks of color on the very tips of their toes and fingers.
This is a wonderful art.