Adorning the bride beautifully in layers of exquisite jewellery is a way of elevating the aura of an Indian bride.
Indian weddings embrace elaborate pre-wedding customs and rituals with open arms. These traditional pre-wedding rites hold much relevance even in today’s modern world. Without the touch of these handed-down wedding customs and rituals an Indian wedding can very easily lose its true essence. One very distinguished and celebrated wedding ritual practised across the length and breadth of India is the custom of solah shringar. Solah shringar implies the sixteen steps of beautification of a bride. According to the ancient belief, a bride’s beautification remains incomplete until she is decked from head to toe in the sixteen elements of the solah shringar. This custom is also said to have an ulterior significance, that is, apart from exalting the bride’s aura it also keeps the negative energies off the bride. The sixteen steps of decking up the bride requires varied ornaments as well as other adornments like kohl, bindi etc. Post this solah shringar the bride turns into an absolute sight to behold.
Starting from the head, a maang tikka is one of the essential ornaments for solah shringar. Maang tikka is a dainty ornament that is placed on the centre of the bride’s forehead. Usually the maang tikka has a chain attached to it so that it can be pinned to the hair. Apart from adding an ethereal charm, the maang tikka also helps the bride to obtain an angular looking face. There are various kinds of maang tikkas that a bride can opt for depending upon the kind of bridal look she wants to attain such as a maang tikka with side strings or a kundan maang tika, an elegant diamond maang tikka or a traditional maang tikka.
Matha patti is every bride’s favourite jewellery today. From celebrity brides to the common millennial bride, the trend of matha patti has captivated every bride alike. When a matha patti is complemented along with a maang tikka, it lends a royal look to the wearer. The matha patti is at least in one way similar to the rani haar, it adds the much-needed grandeur to the bridal look. Recently, the trend of wearing a matha patti has gained much popularity. Especially after celebrity brides like Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor opted to enhance their wedding looks with the matha patti jewellery. While the dainty and delicate matha patti can be a good companion for pre-wedding events, one should reserve the more elaborate matha patti jewellery for the wedding day. If minimalism is your thing, then go for single-tier matha patti. If not, go for the layered ones. Matha patti works well with all traditional attires, be it a lehenga or a saree. Channel your inner bride by adorning this ultra-traditional jewellery and make the most of your wedding day. A solah shringar shall remain very much bland without this uber exquisite piece of jewellery over your forehead.
A nath is considered to be a symbol of marital life and hence is a sine qua non for solah shringar. The traditional nath comprises of pearls or other pretty gemstones that are attached to a thin gold chain. Often, the gold chain extends to the ear so as to provide adequate support to the nath. A nath could be as big as the size of a bangle or as small as astud. A nath adds much to the beauty of the bride. A simple nath can amp up the look of a bride to the nines.
Earrings And Necklace
Earrings and necklaces comprise as one of the integral parts of the solah shringar. Even the modern day brides don’t forgo this step of the solah shringar as it uplifts their personality altogether. Usually the brides opt for ear ornaments that complement the necklace. Brides who are traditional at heart go for the jhumkas, maharani haar and temple jewellery, while the modish brides are opting for jewellery designs such as kundan, jadau, meenakari, filigree etc. Polki jewellery has also become increasingly popular in the last few decades.
A bajuband is an armlet that is worn on the upper arm. Wearing a bajuband on the wedding day is a must for the bride, especially in Rajasthan and Jaipur. A bajuband is also a very popular ornament amongst the South Indian communities. It is mostly made up of gold and is adorned with precious stones. Oftentimes, the bajuband showcases various deities which makes the ornament even more meaningful. Although lesser and lesser number of millennial brides are opting for this ornament, those who do opt for this adornment can’t stop flaunting it.
Bracelet, Hathphool And Bangles
Other hand ornaments include bracelets, bangles and hathphool. While hathphool and bangles have been the traditional choice, bracelets are simply the modern outgrowth of these aforenamed. The mehendi-painted palms of the bride are laden with bangles and bracelets made of gold, ivory, red or green glass etc. In many parts of India, it is necessary for the bride to wear red or golden coloured bangles as it is considered to be a symbol of bliss and prosperity in the marital life. The bride also wears a hand ornament known as the hathphool. Hathphool or the ‘flower of hand’ has rings attached to a central flower or a medallion that delicately adorns the upper side of the bride’s hand. A solah shringar shall remain incomplete without these hand adornments. Nowadays, the millennial brides are going for various studded bangles and bracelets to complement their wedding day.
A kamarbandh is traditionally a golden belt meant to be fastened along the waist of the bride. A kamarbandh easily accentuates the waist of a bride lending her a leaner looking midriff. The ornament also helps in keeping the saree intact in its place. It is an integral wedding ornament especially in South Indian weddings. If you remember the wedding scene from the film ‘2 States’, Alia Bhatt looked like a typical South Indian bride in a red saree and sophisticated gold jewellery. A kamarbandh amped up her bridal look to the hilt.
When decking up a bride, even her feet are not neglected. The feet of the bride are adorned with an exquisite payal or an anklet. A payal is an ornament made of silver or gold. It is an intricately designed gold or silver chain with weeny bells attached to it such that whenever the bride walks a jingling sound can be heard. As the bride is considered to be the goddess Lakshmi, the energy released through the sound of payal is meant to remind everyone of the bride’s divine presence.
Toe rings are usually worn by women on the second toe of their left feet. A toe ring is a symbol of marriage and is worn lifelong till the husband is alive. These adornments usually have simple and elegant designs. Traditionally, these toe rings are known as bichuas. It is also famed as a symbol of fertility.
The traditional solah shringar transforms the look of a bride and adds much glee to her very special day.