Mehndi- An Art:

There is hardly a woman in this world who has not admired the art of mehndi. Different word or terms are used in different parts of the world like henna, mehndi or tattoos but it remains a favorite with men and women especially in the subcontinent from where this art originated. The origin of the art of mehndi goes back five thousand years and was predominant in India, Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East. While each of the countries have various traditions and rituals associated with mehendi, but the common across the countries is its usage for festive occasions such as weddings, festivals, religious ceremonies. Mehendi through its patterns is considered to depict positive images so as to gather positive energies around it and thus it becomes pious to apply mehendi on special events.

Back Hand Mehndi Designs

With the passage of time and the advent of the Modern Age, the art of mehndi has also undergone various changes and transformations. From being traditionally simple and mostly restricted to the front of the palm, it has now become fashionable and women like to wear it on the back of the hand as well. Back hand mehndi designs vary from the front hand mehendi designs and are adapted with respect to the contours of the hand and the overall appearance that it is expected to provide.

There are various types of mehendi designs available and adapted to create simple back hand mehndi designs which look traditional and chic at the same type. Below is a list of types mehendi designs for back hands:

Indian Style

Indian style mehndi is a popular style and it includes various patterns within the larger category also. While the common ones consist of flowers, peacocks and shapes like curves and curls, there are quite a few which are created depicting a story through curled line, shapes and fillings.

The above pattern depicts peacocks and flowers done intricately on the back side of the hand. In Indian pattern, traditionally the finger tips are covered with henna and that sets it apart from other patterns. The back hand is covered completely in case of bridal designs and are more intricate and batik in nature.

Arabic Style

Another popular and favourite amongst youngsters is the Arabic mehndi design. While these designs are not very specific in terms of the elements used in the design for e.g. Arabic designs can consist of floral designs also as well as geometrical or figurines also, however what is special about Arabic designs is the way the outlines are done with thick filling of mehndi. The patterns have thick outlines and mostly consist of flowers, vines or other patterns.

The above picture depicts Arabic style mehndi and we can observe the outlines of leaves that are rich in mehndi and the veins and curves inside that are used for filling also have thick outlines. Synonymous with Arabic style mehndi is the continuity of design on the fingers and the extremities are not totally coloured with mehndi as in the Indian style of mehndi. These patterns are long in nature and make the arm/hand look really slim and long.

Pakistani Style

Pakistani Style Design

Pakistani style of mehndi is a combination of the Indian and the Arabic style of mehndi. Best of both the styles put together gives result to the Pakistani style of mehndi. The application of the mehndi is mostly in the Arabic style while the patterns and the designs used are more from the Indian style of applying mehndi.

Let us look at the picture below depicting the Pakistani style of mehndi. The outlines are thick and dense and the pattern which includes flowers, peacock shape curves and leaves are more in the Indian style. Use of this style of mehndi is common during nikah and festivals like Eid in the country and outside of Pakistan also, the style is quite popular.

African Style

African style mehndi

African style mehndi is greatly influenced by their history and has evolved within their own nation and therefore have little or no influence of the style of mehndi applied in the Asian subcontinent. Their kind of mehndi mostly consists of geometrical shapes like lines and patterns made out of lines. The filling is also done with lines and it does not consider any kind of floral or intricate patterns.

Take a look at this back hand done in African style mehndi. This is very different and peculiar as it consists of longer areas being covered in geometrical shapes like triangle and filling done with lines. This is more like a motif and easier to apply than the Asian style of mehndis.

Afghani style

Afghani style of mehndi

Afghani style of mehndi is also similar to the Pakistani style in terms of the thickness and the way the patterns are applied with the only difference being the usage of larger patterns and smaller intricate patterns within the larger pattern. Here also, the extremities of the fingers are kept in continuation of the pattern and not completely filled up with mehndi.

In the above picture of Afghani style mehndi, notice the use of large flowers and larger patterns within which the smaller patterns are done. The fillings are mostly curves and dots and not much of geometrical lines.

Moroccan Style

Moroccan way of mehndi consists of bold patterns and shapes and mostly they are geometrical in nature. The back hand in case of Moroccan style of mehndi is usually entirely covered and does not consist of veins, leaves or flowers as in other common styles of mehndi. This type of mehndi is usually easy to learn and apply as it is does not involve intricate patterns and filling with thicker lines is also not a feature of this style of mehndi.

Moroccan Style

Mughlai Style

Mughlai mehndi is the most intricate and detailed and the oldest form of mehndi. This style of mehndi mostly depends on accentuating each and every detail in the pattern. The detailing is also very minute and use of old type of patterns like small ambis, peacocks, sun etc is done. The Mughlai method does not have a peculiarity in terms of the outlines or patterns used as it incorporates all styles but the only difference is the attention to detail while applying these patterns. This is a very common style used while applying bridal mehndis.

Indonesian style

Indonesian mehndi is most recent in comparison with the Mughlai and the African style of mehndi and it has reminiscences of their culture which is a mixture of Islamic invaders as well as Buddhist fixtures. Their patterns are more circular in shape and consist of flowers or circular geometric pattern mostly depicting the ‘circle of life’. With the Modern Age, these patterns have also evolved giving them higher aesthetic value and a modern look.

Indonesian mehndi

The pattern shown above consists of circular and temple design with filling done in curves and lines. While the designs are more scattered and not long, the segregation is done in terms of a bracelet design, internal filling and filling on the fingers.

Designs with Images of Gods

Designs with Images of Gods

Mehndi designs with images of Gods does not have history associated with it as it has recently evolved keeping in mind the auspiciousness associated with religious ceremonies for which the mehndi is applied. The most common patterns involve making Lord Ganesha within the mehndi pattern as he is considered as the auspicious God for all Hindu ceremonies.

The above pattern depicts peculiar design, dancing Ganesha. This can be done on the back of a hand easily.

Tattoo Style

Tattoo mehndi is one of the latest trends and is considered more as a temporary tattoo rather than a typical traditional mehndi design. Tattoo mehndi patterns include various designs like flowers, stars, idols, animal figures, angels, star signs etc. These tattoos look more attractive on the back hand and on the arm, back etc.

Usage of mehndi for tattoos is also a craze that is really popular with tourists visiting the Asian sub continent as Mehndi is still very unique and limited to these countries also. While kids may not have the patience to sit through the intricate design of regular mehndi, small figurines using mehndi is very popular among children.

Glitter mehndi

Mehndi with glitters is also a recent trend to beautify the traditional mehndi using crystals, beads, pearls etc. The usage of crystals and glitters accentuate the look of patterns that include flowers and leaves as you can actually make the flower look real. This is a decorative type of mehndi and mostly used for occasions like weddings. This is also very common in bridal mehndi as it sets apart the bride from all the other women at the wedding.

Mehndi with glitters goes very well with the Pakistan style of mehndi. The outlines of the mehndi are thick and the inner flowery pattern has been decorated with crystals and glitters.

Multi Coloured Mehndi

Multi Coloured Mehndi

Multi coloured mehndi is different from the regular type of mehndi as colour is added to the mehndi to extract out different colours from the mehndi. This is also popular for occasions like weddings. Multi coloured mehndi can be used in all kinds of patterns and the choice of the colour depends on the kind of pattern being put for e.g blue goes well with a design that includes peacocks and red/green go well with flowers and leaves.

The pattern shown in the above picture shows how beautiful a simple pattern can look by the usage of accessories and making it multi coloured.

Apart from the styles and designed mentioned above, other latest hand mehndi designs include using stickers and accessories on the mehndi patterns. Mehndi in the form of stickers is really convenient as it is a stick-on kind of mehndi and can be used independently or merged with the traditional way of applying mehndi using a cone.

While mehndi’s roots are still seeped in tradition, it is now also a popular art and gathering momentum even in the West where it was traditionally never present. With the plethora of choices available to apply or to learn, it is an institution of art in itself and another one to make the Indians proud.

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