Here’s a question: How long do you think the tradition of applying mehendi to hands and feet has been around?

Answer: More than 5000 years!

Surprised? We were, too! It is a popular custom in regions of India, Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East, which are primarily dry and hot areas. People used to soak their hands and feet in a paste made of dried and ground mehendi powder for its cooling effects. This also prevented the skin from tanning in the sun. They began to realise they could fashion the stain it left into designs and thus was born modern mehendi.

No longer used just for festivals and occasions, mehendi is now also applied just for fun, thanks to booming media platforms, which have cross-pollinated designs. Now you have Polynesian, Mauritian and Indonesian designs along with the traditional Asian and Arabic ones. These designs are being used in innovative ways as belly chains, back designs, anklets and can be seen in music festivals from Sunburn and Burning Man to Coachella.

The festive season is upon us now, and we bring you some interesting accounts on Instagram that you can follow for your henna inspiration.
 
gloryofhenna
 

gloryofhenna

Remember this photo shoot Beyoncé did at her baby shower? See the tattoo on her belly? Well, the artist who owns this IG account was responsible for that art! Deepali Deshpande is based in Los Angeles and caters to many Hollywood celebrities. Here are a few of her designs.

gloryofhenna
 

gloryofhenna

Apply it on your back for maximum impact with a backless choli!

gloryofhenna
 

gloryofhenna

Apply it as a half-glove, this is very similar to the tattoo Rihanna has on her hand.

hennackg
 

hennackg

hennackg
 

hennackg

hennackg
 

hennackg

This is an artist based out of Montreal, and she uses grids and square patterns to fashion amazing designs. Henna designs are usually very fluid and curvy, but this artist has used geometrical elements to add interest to all her designs.

veronicalilu
 

veronicalilu

This artist blurs the lines between tattoo and henna designs and uses very tattoo-like designs in her work. But the effect, we must say is as breathtaking as it is versatile. You can fashion these designs into body chains, back art, anklets, the only limit is your imagination!

veronicalilu
 

veronicalilu

veronicalilu
 

veronicalilu

Image courtesy: Instagram accounts of gloryofhenna, hennackg, veronicalilu