solah shringar

MangalSutra

MangalSutra

MangalSutra:

The term Mangalsutra is derived from two words, Mangal meaning auspicious and Sutra meaning thread. The Mangalsutra denotes the mark of Marriage for any woman. It is Strongly believed to be the indivisible attachment between the wife and the husband.

Also Called

In Northern India, people call it the Mangalsutra.  Down south, the ‘thaali’, ‘pustelu’ or ‘Nallapoosalu’, ‘minnu’ etc. is used for a similar purpose.

When is it used?

‘On the wedding day, the bride’s father puts a ring on the boy’s finger and then gives his daughter to the boy. This ritual is known as the Kanyaadaan. After kanyadaan, the pheras begin. The agni is encircled seven times by the couple. After this the groom applies Sindoor (vermilion) to the girl’s hair partition and the Mangalsutra ritual takes place where the groom ties the mangalsutra to the girl’s neck.

On the Wedding day, the groom wears it to the bride’s neck. That is just the first time.  Most women wear them throughout their lives, while some wear them only to grace  occasions and festivals like Diwali, Theej etc.

What are they made from?

The Mangalsutra basically comprises of the kantha-mani and a few gold beads. The black bead is popularly known as kantha-mani. The two strands of black beads of mangalsutra symbolise Shiva and Shakti. The length of the mangalsutra should reach the centre of the chest  or Anahat-chakra. There could be a small pendant right in the center of the Mangalsutra. It could be made of Gold embellished with diamonds or other precious stones.

Where would you find them?

Available in all Jewellery shops and fancy Stores.

Trivia

According to the Indian scriptures and traditions, the sacred mangalsutra binds the lives of husband and wife. While wearing it, the woman is enhancing the happiness and comfort of her husband and family. The marriage is said to be protected from all evil, if the wife wears the mangalsutra with trust and dedication. Gujaratis and Marwaris use a diamond pendant. Maharashtrians wear a pendant of one or two vatis which is very similar to that of the Kannadigas. The Bengali, Oriya and Assamese don’t have the custom of Mangalsutra.

Armlet

Armlet

Armlet:

An Ornamental Bracelet worn on the Upper Arm of the Bride.

Also Called

Bajuband in Hindi, Vanki in Tamil.

When is it used?

Generally worn by brides as part of their Solah Shringar. Else, it could also be sported with Western Wear for a Funky Look.

Worn on the Upper Arm and forms part of the Solah Shringar of the Bride. Used on festive occasions such as weddings and family functions.

Also, used by Classical dancers to complete their look, for instance the Bharat Natyam & Kathak Dancers.

What are they made from?

Could be made of Silver or Gold and encrusted with precious gems.

They are available as a string of Pearls or other stones and can be tied around the arm.

armlet

Image Courtesy: TejesNayakPhotography

South Indian Brides generally adorn the Gold Vankis for their Wedding Ceremonies.

Where would you find them?

Usually available in Jewelry shops or Fancy Stores.

Trivia

As is the case with the rest of the Solah Shringar, the usage of this ornament dates back to pre-historic times with references in the sacred scripts. It used to be worn by both Men & Women in Asian Countries.

Used even in the army in the form of a cloth or a Badge that is tied to the upper-arm, it carries the army camp’s symbol or the ranking of the official.

Very often, Armlets are given away in Temples, believed to ward off ill-luck or provide protection.

Waist belt

Waist belt

Waist Belt:

Waist-belt, Kamarbandh, Oddiyanam  worn by Brides as part of the Solah Shringar.

Also Called

Kamarbandh in Hindi, Oddiyanam in Tamil, Vaddanam in Telegu, Kardhani  in Rajasthan.

When is it used?

Used by women of all ages on festive occasions, worn with sarees or Ethnic Indian wear. Gold or Silver Belt encrusted with precious stones, originally used to keep the garment in place. Worn at the waist or just below, it is perhaps the sexiest accessory. Accentuates the woman’s curves by highlighting the waist.

What are they made from?

Made from Gold, Silver or any other metal. Depending on the region, brides wear them combined with Precious stones, Diamonds, Kundan or Polki.

waist belt

Image Courtesy: The Picturist

Where would you find them?

Usually available in Jewellery shops or Fancy Stores.

Trivia

  • The practice of adorning the waist belt dates back to the Vedic times with references of it in the Hindu Scriptures.
  • Scriptures show that even Men used them to hold their upper and lower garments together.
  • The earliest usage was that of a Dupatta or a Cloth around the waist.
  • The Richer Folk wore the more ornate ones.
  • It is common to see young girls in the South of India wear them with their half-sarees for family weddings and other festivities.
  • Could be teamed up with Indo-Western Wear for a Chic Look.
Earrings

Earrings

Earrings:

Earrings, Karn Phool or Jhoomars worn by Brides as part of the Solah Shringar.

Also called

Karnphool/Jhumkas in Hindi, Kammal in Tamil, Kadhalitha in Malayalam, Jhumko/Jhumka in Bengali, Kaan/Kudya in Marathi, Kundalas in Kashmiri.

When is it worn? 

Worn on the ears, sometimes covering all of it.  It is worn by women of all age groups, earrings instantly transform one’s overall appearance. The heavier ones are supported with chains that are pinned into the hair. A girl child’s ears are generally pierced at a very young age. So, this isn’t specific to Married Women. The Earrings are generally part of the jewellery set that the bride co-ordinates with her Bridal outfit.

What are they made from?

Made from Gold, Silver or any other metal. Combined with Precious stones, Diamonds, Kundan or Polki.

ear rings

Image Courtesy: Wedding Bells

Where would you find them?

Usually available in Jewellery shops or Fancy Stores.

Trivia

  • The practice of adorning the ears dates back to the Vedic times with references of it in the Hindu Scriptures.
  • It is a popular trend to have the ears pierced more than once.
  • The styles vary across the Indian sub-continent and each has a story with it.
  • The Kashmiri’s have the inner cartilage of their ears pierced signifying that they are married.
  • Men too have one of their ear lobes pierced as a fashion statement. They tend to sport a ring or a stud.
  • Large and ornate earrings are very often the only piece of jewellery required to complete your look.
Nose Rings

Nose Rings

Nose Rings:

The Nose Rings is worn by Brides as part of the Solah Shringar. Generally worn on the left nostril, it is said to have medicinal effects. Widely worn by married women in the Indian sub-continent, it is also worn by the native Australians & Africans too!

nose ring

Image Courtesy: Jalaj Panth Photography

Also called

Nath/Nathni in Hindi, Mookkuthi in Tamil, Naka pina in Bengali, Muugti in Kannada, Mukku Pudaka in Telugu.

When is it worn? 

Used by Married Women signifying that they are married. Also on Weddings, Religious Fasts, Deepawali & other festivals. Some women would wear a simple one everyday too.

With the Beatles visit to India in the 60′s and the Hippies movement thereafter, several Indian accessories such as the Bindi, Mehendi, Maang Tikka and the Nose Ring became popular in the west too.

What are they made from?

They come in various combinations of precious stones. From plain Gold Rings to the Ornate Diamond, Kundan or Polki ones.

nose ring

Image Courtesy: The Picturist

Where would you find them?

Usually available in Jewellery shops or Fancy Stores.

Trivia

  • The practice of wearing the ‘nath’ dates back to the Vedic times with references of it in the Hindu Scriptures.
  • Worn on the left nostril and believed to ease menstrual pains and aid conceiving a baby.
  • Some Rajasthani women wear the “bulaag”, suspended from the partition of the nostrils. Considered auspicious and part of Family heirlooms and passed on from one generation to the next.
  • Nose Piercing is a very popular Fashion Statement and gained popularity with the Hippie Movement of the 70′s.
Mehendi

Mehendi

Mehendi:

Mehendi or Henna as it is referred to in the West forms an integral part of a Bride’s Look, irrespective of which religion or geographical region she belongs to!

Also Called

Mehendi in Hindi, Henna in English, Maruthaani in Tamil.

Where is it worn?

Originally limited to just the palms and arms, these days it has turned into Body Art with designs done on the Legs, Upper Back etc.

Mehendi

Image Courtesy: Jalaj Panth Photography

When is it used?

On Weddings, Religious Fasts, Deepawali & other festivals.

What are they made from?

Made of dried henna leaves, tea/coffee & sometimes essential oils.

Trivia

The use of this art dates back to pre-historic times. The Mehendi paste is said to have healing properties. It calms the nerves and keeps the body cool.

Popular Belief: The darker the colour of the Mehendi, the better the Conjugal Bliss between the Couple.

Applying the Mehendi is now an important and much looked forward to pre-wedding ceremony with theme parties, DJ ‘s etc thrown-in. Most Brides have their Groom’s Name in the design and he would have to find his name before the “Suhaag Raat”!

Mehendi

Image Courtesy: Jalaj Panth Photography

Also, made popular in the west with artists such as Madonna sporting them in their Music Videos.

Toe Rings

Toe Rings

Toe Rings:

Part of the Solah Shringar or the Sixteen Adornments of the Bride, Toe Rings are Traditional Ornaments worn by the Indian Women on the Second Toe of both feet and symbolizes that a woman is married.

Also Called

Bichiya in Hindi, Jodavi in Marathi, Mettelu in Telugu, Metti in Tamil, Kaalungura in Kannada.

When is it worn?

Women start wearing them on the Wedding Day and for the rest of their married life.

What are they made from?

Mostly made of Silver or any other metal. Gold & Diamonds are avoided as it is considered inauspicious to wear them on the feet.

Where would you find them?

Usually available in Jewellery shops or Fancy Stores

Trivia

The usage of this ornament dates back to the prehistoric times with mention of it in the epics such as Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

In the Tamil & Telugu communities, the Groom fits the toe-rings for the Bride while her feet are placed on a Stone. Whereas in Kannadiga community, it is the Maternal Uncle of the Bride who fits them for the Bride.

Sthaalipaakam

Image Courtesy: Pranav’s Photography

However, in most North Indian communities, the Bride wears them on even before she enters the Mandap.

Toe Rings could come in sets as well, and may have up to 4 rings for the first four toes.

Minji

Image Courtesy: Arjuns Tryst with the camera