Important Indian Jewellery of Different Cultures

Jewellery embraces an integral part of Indian married women's life. It is mostly used to signify a woman's wedded status. Take a tour across the various communities of India and the jewellery worn by married women in each part.

Indian women love their jewellery as it bears great significance in their lives. Especially, for a married woman, donning certain kinds of jewellery post marriage is mandatory to depict her marital status. While Mangalsutra is a symbol of marriage for women in most Indian communities, there are other types of jewellery too, which are worn across different states. Moreover, the Mangalsutra is called by varied names in different communities. Let us explore some types of jewellery signifying marital status of a woman in India.

Mangalsutra: The word Mangalsutra is derived from the two words "Mangal" meaning holy and "Sutra" meaning thread. It is a beaded necklace with base mostly of gold and at times silver too, and is put around the bride's neck by the groom. Maharashtrians wear Mangalsutra in the form of gold and black beads bestrewn with gold thread and two semi-circular spheres known as Vati.

: South Indian married women take pride in wearing Thaalis, a different version of the Mangalsutra formed by thick cord in gold and accompanied by a gold pendant with religious designs. The latter in Kerala take up the form of a peepal leaf and are called Minnu which is first tied on seven threads of the bride's wedding sari and later strewn in a gold chain.

Vadungila: If you ever set your eyes on the hands of a bride from Karnataka, you will notice a V-shaped ring. This is Vadungila, a specially designed wedding ring worn by the brides of the Bunt community of Karnataka.

Kasithaali and Dhaaremani:
Kasithaali is worn by Konkani women. They wear a gold chain strewn with coral and gold beads accompanied by the idol of the female deity of prosperity and wealth, Goddess Lakshmi. Along with this, one can notice two other necklaces around the necks of the married women of this region namely; Dhaaremani in big golden beads also known as Muhurtmani and a Mangalasutra with discs as pendants.

Taagpaag and Bichwa: Married women in Bihar wear a necklace similar to Mangalsutra also known as Taagpaag and bichwa or toe rings. Toe rings are integral to Indian customs, especially to married women as they are considered essential for the well-being of the reproductive system.

Shakha Paula:
In the Bengali community, brides don Shakha and Paula, the former being a white bangle made of conch shells and the latter a red coral one, one set of each worn in both hands.

Chuda comprises a combination of several cream and red hued bangles, which are worn by Sikh women in both hands after they get married. These are bestowed on the Sikh bride by her maternal uncle during marriage and are supposed to be worn at least for forty days to one year post marriage. The Chuda takes precedence as compulsory jewellery for married women in Rajasthan too. One can witness a detailed custom of Rajasthani women offering prayers on donning the Chuda for the well-being and long life of their husbands.

Nose Stud: Wearing nose studs are typical of Gujarati women, who in addition to this wear the Mangalsutra along with a diamond pendant.

Dehjorand Aath: For Kashmiri Brahmin women, Dejhor and Aath are of utmost importance. These are heavy earrings borne on the pierced cartilage of the ears, possessing a red thread at one end. It is a hexagonal shaped ornament which bears immense religious significance and is given to the Kashmiri bride by her parents during marriage. Later, when the bride goes to her husband's house, the red thread is taken out and is replaced by a chain called Aath that is bestowed on her by her in-laws. The union of the Dejhor and the Aath signify the union of not only two souls, but of two families as well.

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Mon 5 Nov, 2012 3:30 PM IST