There are dozens of henna mehendi designs or styles, and these are basically categorized based on geographies. While the Western world calls it Henna, the Arabic pronounce the same as Hina while the Indian sub-continent has several names for it—from mehandi which is derived from the Sanskrit word mendhika, to mehndi and even mehendi.
Interestingly Mehndi is applied on -
Palms and Hands - Arabic and Western Culture
Palms, Hands and Feet / Legs - Indian Culture
Although there are tens of mehndi designs, mentioned below are the top four design styles. Incidentally, mehandi artist in Mumbai exploit all of them depending on the wearer’s choice and occasion.
Arabic Mehndi Design : Arabic mehndi designs and Arabic bridal mehndi design are a combination of floral and straight lines. Most of the times it is theme based, although at times it reflects religious undercurrent / inscriptions too. Although Arabic mehendi is contemporary and quite distinct it is less intricate and sparsely applied.
Indian Mehndi Design
In contrast, Indian mehandi designs are ornate, complex and generally a mixture of colourful swirled pattern of curved shapes. At times it is creatively merged with floral themes giving the hand / palm a mesmerizing look. Although this form of design is mostly worn during weddings or bridal occasions, it is also exploited on social, cultural and religious functions as well. Today, Indo Western mehandi design is also quite popular.
Western-style Mehndi Design
Western mehndi is all about affinity for temporary tattoos rather than cultural or religious significance. The Western mehndi style or designs are typically geometric in nature, randomly interspersed with elements such as birds, rare shells / marine motifs or meaningful words. At times it is also applied for its medicinal value.
Traditional Mehendi Designs -
This form of henna art is usually associated with subjects such as flowers, elephant and peacock figures, and also reflects jewellery designs such as Jhumki and Payal. It is mostly exploited on weddings or pre-functions and termed as engagement mehandi design. Traditional henna art is a complex piece of workmanship that spreads from palms and hands and may reach elbows.
Mehndi designs are also branded as subsets of the above. These include but not limited to -
Jewellery Mehandi Designs - As the name suggests, this form of art reflects jewellery.
Mehandi Tattoo - Mostly exploited by Westerners in lieu of permanent tattoos.
Portrait Mehndi - This form of design includes pictures of Gods, Goddesses and even humans.
Most of the henna, mehendi artists in Thane are proficient in all the above mentioned options, but there are a few who specialise in a certain henna art form. Some mehandi art designers also use different mehndi colours for detailing. For example, a peacock motif is highlighted with contrasting mehndi colours.