As an Indian girl you must have heard the term “Solah Shringar” umpteen times being uttered by your mother, grandmaa or other female relatives. And, now that you have grown up to tie the knot to your prince charming, it is time that you find out what these traditional sixteen adornments of an Indian bride are.
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What is Solah Shringar?
Solah Shringar alludes to the ritual whereby the Indian bride is embellished from the top of the head to the toe in sixteen kinds of adornments, covering almost every part of the body. It is a symbol of femininity and fertility as linked with the Goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of beauty, fertility and prosperity in the Hindu culture. Take a glimpse at the accessories and jewels which Solah Shringar encompasses.
It is an outfit that is the most important for a bride. A bride's shringar begins from the moment she selects her wedding dress, be it a lehenga or a saree. Only after this, other adornments follow accordingly matching the outfit. Traditionally a bride's outfit has to be in bright and vibrant colours like red and gold.
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Traditionally known as keshapasharachana, the kesh or hair is tied in an arrangement that is in sync with her wedding attire. It is then adorned with gajra (flower arrangement) and jewellery on forehead known as maang tikka.
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Haar and Mangalsutra
Haar are neckpieces that a bride wears on her wedding day. These neckpieces are usually made of gold with heavy and inticrate design on them. One of the neckpieces is a mangalsutra which the groom will put around her neck during the marriage ceremony. This is another symbol of a married woman.
Adorning the wrists of a bride are bangles and bracelets made of gold, glass or lac. They are worn as a wish for the husband’s long life. The colour of the glass and lac bangles often depends on the culture that the bride or her in-laws follow.
Made from the leaves of the henna tree, mehendi is applied on the hands as well as the feet. These beautiful and intricate designs epitomise the affection and love between the couple. Mehendi has a lot of other cultural significances attached to it. (Also Read on Significance of Mehendi in Indian Marriages)
It is the waistband that a bride wears with her bridal outfit. It is usually made of gold, embellished with stones, diamonds or other precious gems.
Payal and Bichuas
Payal is an anklet that is tied around a bride’s ankle and adorned with tiny bells. Bichuas or toe rings is a traditional mark of married woman. It is worn on the second toe of the feet.
It is also known as an armlet that is worn on the upper arm by a bride. It is usually made up of gold, studded with precious gems. It is believed to ward off the evil eye.
Aarsi is a ring that is usually worn on thumb. It is an important ring that a bride has to wear. Traditionally these are supposed to have a mirror embedded in them, which enables the bride to catch a glimpse of her husband before the wedding ceremonies.
Maang tikka is a hair accessory that is worn in the hair parting. Traditionally it has to be of gold, but off late brides have been experimenting with different metals and stones, matching their bridal outfit and accessories.
Sindoor refers to vermillion, a red powder that the groom applies in the centre parting of the hair of his bride during the marriage ceremony. It denotes the aspect of completeness, which a woman accomplishes, as she gets united with her man with the sacred ritual of marriage. (Also Read on Significance of Sindoor for an Indian Married Woman)
Image Courtesy: Anshum M Photography
This too bears a religious connotation and is a sacred mark of married woman. It is applied on the forehead, along with white and red dots along the eyebrows to accentuate its beauty.
Anjana or kajal
This refers to the kajal (Kohl) applied on the lower eyelids to augment the beauty of a bride’s face. It makes a woman appear more attractive and appealing.
Karnphool or earrings are a piece of jewellery that adorns a bride’s ears. They can be quite heavy embellishments. If you find it difficult to bear the weight you can go for a chain as a support to pass on the sides of your ears.
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Nose ring or nath is worn around the left nostril and is generally made of gold and is studded with precious gems like diamond. It is supported by a gold chain that goes behind the bride’s left ear.
Itar or itr is the perfume that is applied to the bride once she is completely ready. It not only makes her smell good, but also keeps her fresh during the various wedding ceremonies.
Now you know all about the sixteen traditional adornments that a Hindu bride is supposed to wear on her wedding day. Well, it is time to get your bridal outfit ready, we say!