Aari is derived from the Hindi word aar, meaning hooked needle.
The craft of Aari has been rooted in India since the 12th century, and flourished under the patronage of the Mughals. It is one of India’s most ornate and involved forms of embroidery.
The craft evolved out of the cobble stitch, which the Mochi used to embellish leather footwear for the courts.
It gradually came to be used for decorating textiles and other objects. Village folk in the Kutch region adapted the traditional Aari style of chain stitch to suit their skills and needs, thus spawning a myriad of embroidery styles across the region. The different Kutchi embroidery styles - Rabari, Ahir, Bhanushali, Meghwal, Sodha Rajput, Mochi, Jat and Mutwa are a result of this diversification.
Over time, the Aari embroidery has moved beyond just the chain stitch to include blanket stitches and running stitches, among others. This has only made the final work richer.