Mehendi decoration is a ceremonial art form which is a common part of a woman’s look in the South Asian (Indian) subcontinent. These intricate designs using swirls and circles are usually drawn on hands and legs are symbolic of auspiciousness and are mostly part of religious or cultural events. Traditionally, women of the household or neighborhood used to get together to decorate each other’s hands and feet. However, now with the tradition turning into a style statement, many mehendi artistes have gone professional and offer their services to not only the local women, but celebrities and foreigners alike.
Henna or mehendi is obtained naturally from the leaves and stems of the henna tree. Apart from being used to draw on our body, henna is also used as a natural dye for the hair and gives it an orangish hue. The usual way to apply mehendi is to draw it on your skin and leave it for some hours to dry. Once the design starts crumblish, wipe it off with oil or water. The colour developed usually depends on the quality of the dye, the amount of time the henna has been allowed to remain on your skin and how much you wash your hands immediately after. People suggest that in order to get a darker shade, one must apply a layer of lemon and sugar solution over the design, or bask it in the heat of roasting ‘sarson’ seeds. While there are lot of tips on how to enhance the colour of your henna, the most common myth is that the colour of the mehendi reflects the love your significant other feels for you. So the more your husband loves you, the darker you mehendi is supposed to be.
The best thing about henna tattoos is that the dye is not permanent and comes off in a week or so, making it a great substitute for a permanent tattoo.
Demands for mehendi work is no longer limited to wedding seasons and cultural events, rather women fancy the adornment all year round, although the business may not be brisk all the time. What was traditionally a custom in only few cultures, has moved out and beyond national boundaries as women flock to mehendi artists to get the recent designs in vogue painted on their hands and feet.
There are many mehendi artists out in the market who have their own wonderful designs which may range from intricate to simplistic. While it is not easy to pick the top 20 designs, we have tried our best to scourge the internet to choose an assortment of interesting designs that might please you.
20. Back tattoo
Henna art is no longer limited to your hands and feet. If you want to be more adventurous, you could get one on your back or stomach, fill the whole of it or maybe just a line of design across you hip. For the times that you choose to wear a backless dress to the wedding, this is the perfect way to dress up your back. The design, especially because of its glitter and rhinestone filling, mimics an intricately laid tunic that you are not wearing. It also works if you want to have an elaborate back tattoo but are afraid to go permanent.
19. Summer feet
Mehendi on feet are not only reserved for brides. You can get the perfect summer henna design by drawing on your own feet ornament on the naked flesh of your feet. There are several simple designs to choose from, some which only cover your toes and ankles and others that work up all the way to your shin. You can also get a modern tattoo run along the length of your sole and embellish it with rhinestones and glitter to get an ornamented feet.
18. Lace gloves
Lacework henna design combines the intricate swirls and motifs with a repititive block art to give the impression of a laced glove on your arms. Many celebrities have been photographed using henna designs as intricate sleeve work to accompany their attires. Do opt for lace-work henna for when you always want to have your gloves on.
A more simplistic design with a bracelet and ring to make a style statement without statement jewellery. Minimal and chic, it works for all events and can even be used to accessorize your work attire.
The peacock is often a recurring motif in mehendi designs, most commonly used because it takes up a lot of space on the skin canvas and can be fitted to be drawn wide or long on any part of the hand or leg. But also because this magnificent bird is a symbol beauty, youth new life and happy beginnings.
A adaptation of the arabic style of mehendi designing, this work uses very minute details repeated along the curves to create a pattern that is both refreshing and traditional at the same time. The ring work on the index finger adds to the prettiness of the design.
14. Creeping trail
Here is a design that will help you make a statement with its serpentine bold trail decorated at interval with large blurbs of art. The intricate work carves itself along the length of your hand, mysteriously disappearing inside your palms while briefly wrapping itself around one finger. Detail and minimalism in one.
Feathers are the new cross over between traditional prints and poetic tattoos. Symbolic of a writer’s pen, it works well whether drawn on arms or legs. You can also insert it artistically into a larger design by changing its shape and elements to fill up a gap area.
The easiest design to done when you need to make a quick work of it, the over used flower motif can never go out of fashion. This works well if you are drawing on the hands of an impatient child or want a bigger design.
11. Good luck
The Lord Ganesh is the God of new beginnings and so often finds himself called upon on auspicious occasions. Drawing him on your palms ensure that you have his blessing and good luck in whatever you are about to do.
An easy and minimalistic design for beginners, this design uses the flower and leaf motifs in a beautifully unique way. The amount of vacant skin left attracts even more attention to the central piece.
9. Leafy crest
In case you want to go for something simple or something in the region of family crest-cum- hunger games tattoo, this design looks beautiful and modern. This design is also very easy to do and can be used to fill up any gaps you have in a larger design.
8. Bride and Groom
Another classic wedding motif is that of the bride and groom painted on the hands. Here seen during the garland exchange ceremony amongst Hindus, this is beautiful, consuming piece of henna art.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can also go for mismatched designs on your hands. Keeping the elements in the designs same, you can rearrange the decals to bring two works of art into your hands.
The most beautiful part of this design is that it allows the central paisley motif to grab all the attention while the meshwork on the fingers frame it beautifully.
5. Tracking Patterns
This design concentrates its work on the wrist and the thumb allowing a few laces to trail through the palm.
4. Mangoes and Fish scales
Another combination design that makes the paisley art the center of the work and uses fish scale designs to emphasize it.
3. The Arm Band
A very non-traditional design that wraps the lacework around your arm. Especially beneficial if you have to switch two kinds of costumes between events.
2. Mirror Mirror
Mirror designs are always best, especially if you intend to draw on both your hands. This design made up of simple geometric patterns is filling and beautiful at the same time.
1. Double Bliss
Double bride and groom motif for a doubly happier and loving marriage. Never waste an opportunity to get hold of your husband in your hands.