The Art of Henna

Mehndi, the ancient henna art of intricate yet temporary tattoos, is popular with girls in America. Found at theme parks such as Disney’s Epcot, girls choose stencil designs that are drawn freehand with a dark brown paste that later washes off, leaving an orange tattoo. The process is simple, but the results vary by artist.

My daughter and friends have tried to do this at home, using henna cones purchased at the local Indian market, but without great effect. So, when we learned that our Jaipur guide’s daughter was a teacher of henna designs, Kayla jumped at the invitation.

henna art application

The henna application process took several hours, during which we were treated to the warmth and hospitality of our new friends. We were plied with tea and biscuits, and encouraged to watch American TV.  We viewed several shows while waiting for the drawings to be completed. But the results were lovely.

henna art - mehndi

The henna art lasted for over a week, it’s still much in evidence, and garners smiles and compliments everywhere she goes. Kayla liked it so much, in fact, that she wanted to learn how to do it herself. A few days later, at the Oberoi Udaivillas resort, she signed up for lessons. Her instructor showed her how to draw a design on her ankle, and gave her a few extra henna cones so that Kayla could practice henna art on her friends. Sounds like Kayla may have a new hobby.

henna art - mehndi - ankle
In Category: Travel Photos

Sandra Foyt

Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on, an award-winning destination guide to weekend getaways in and from Northeast USA, on her photography portfolio site at

Show 4 Comments
  • Cie McCullough Buschle August 30, 2012, 2:24 pm Link

    GREAT! Kayla can do me and my daughter when you all get home 🙂

  • Margo September 5, 2012, 12:33 pm Link

    Is there any significance to the placement of the henna designs on the body –seems like the palms of the hands would not be a peferred spot since it is where most use/washing, etc would occur and it wouldnt last as long–just wondering.

  • Sandra Foyt September 5, 2012, 12:52 pm Link

    I believe hands (and also feet) are chosen because lack of pigmentation ensures that this is where they will show to best advantage. This is usually part of a pre-wedding ritual, and the only expectation is that it would last for the period of the celebration.