(Last Updated on : 27-06-2009)
The bandi is a close fitting, sleeveless or, sometimes, short-sleeved inner garment that is very much similar to the omnipresent vests of urban areas. It serves as a cool and comfortable garment, such that in the privacy of his home, a man will often take off his kurta and relax in a bandi.
Most communities in Rajasthan use bandi as an inner or under garment, men of the Kumhar or potter-community, choose to wear the bandi as their outer upper garment, though, occasionally, they too wear the angarkhi. Comfort being its major function, the bandi is tailored from unbleached white cotton khaadi, which is softer than the fabric used for outerwear. Fine cotton muslin is also used, as in the case of the bandi worn by Maheshvari men. The garment is cut on a true bias or diagonally across the warp of the fabric for maximum stretch. This makes the attire of bandi especially comfortable, as it does not restrict the wearer's movement in any way.
The bandi generally features a round neck in the front and the back. Different communities of Rajasthan wear the bandi with variations in the neck openings. For example, a central placket with buttons could be incorporated or an opening on the shoulder with ties. On festive occasions the Kumhar bandi has five silver buttons that are linked by a chain. Often the garment has no opening and some fall just a fraction below the waist, while others may completely cover the hips. A slit pocket on the left side, about 20 cm. Wide is a feature of the bandi that is used for holding valuables and money before wallets became commonplace and which in rural areas still serves the same function.