Solah Shringaar - Mangalsutra19:23:00
Welcome to another edition of our series on Jewellery – The Ultimate Accessory. It’s been quite rewarding writing this series as many of our readers have appreciated the information shared and thanked us for changing their perspective towards jewellery from a mere adornment to something that is traditionally and physiologically vital. One of our readers bought a pair of anklets and toe rings after understanding the health benefits of wearing the same. She has sent us a thank you note for helping her as she now feels more energized throughout the day and is much happier. What more could we want! We would love to serve you better; so do keep writing to us with your experiences, feedback and suggestions.
This edition elaborates on the importance of Mangalsutra and Hairstyles as adornments and Shringaar for the Indian women.
MangalSutra: ‘Mangal’ means auspicious and ‘Sutra’ means thread or cord. Mangalsutra is one of the most important ornament of an Indian married woman as it symbolizes the inseparable bond between the husband and the wife. Women of almost all the communities wear this traditional ornament.
Historically, the practice of tying a Mangalsutra on the wedding day appears to have become popular only after the 6th century AD. Before this, a yellow protective cord known as ‘kanakabandhana’ was tied around the wrists of the bride and the groom to signal their commitment to marriage.
In Southern India, the Mangalyam/ Mangalsutra in its traditional avatar is made up of a yellow thread painted with turmeric paste. The thread is tied with three knots around the bride’s neck. In some of the weddings the groom ties the first knot, while the remaining two knots are tied by his sister. In North India the Mangalsutra is a gold ornament having black beads and a gold or diamond pendant.
As per the traditional belief, Mangalsutra is considered a talisman to ward off the evil eye. The black colour of the beads is said to absorb all negative vibes before they can reach the bride and her family. The stringing together of the beads into one thread has its significance as well. It symbolizes how the bride needs to blend and integrate seamlessly into the new household after marriage, just as each bead contributes to making a beautiful necklace.
As per the scriptures, Mangalsutra is not just an ornament or a symbol of marriage, but has a greater purpose to it. The traditional design has two golden cups, hollow on one side and raised on the reverse. The hollow side is to be worn facing the body so that the positive energies are attracted towards the void of the cups. This helps to keep the body and mind healthy and active. By wearing the Mangalsutra, the woman gains energy and power as it connects the body to the divine Shakti that resides in the body in the form of the element, fire. It is also said to regularize the blood circulation and control body pressure levels as Indian women do a lot of physical work. It is, therefore, meant to be worn touching the body to gain maximum benefit.
The designs of the Mangalsutra vary from region to region. The illustrations given below show how different communities have adapted the designs as per their religious beliefs. The traditional design of a Mangalsutra consists of two pieces; one from each family, dangling on a yellow thread or the black beaded gold chain.
This pendant with the Shiva Lingam design, is common in Iyer community
This pendant with the Namam and Sudarshan Chakra is preferred by the Iyengars.
This is a design popular with Kannadigas
This Mangalsutra design is known as Minnu, and is typically used by Syrian Christian Community
This is the Lokaparo design of Assam. The Assamese do not have the tradition of wearing a Mangalsutra, but this is a very popular design adapted into a Mangalsutra
Like the Assamese, Bengalis too do not have Mangalsutra as a part of their tradition. But with changing times, some have adopted the tradition. The Bengali design typically incorporates coral stone as well.
Designs of Chains:
The newer and trendier adaptations of the Mangalsutra come in a plethora of designs with pendants in gold and diamond. The chains too range from fancy and ornamental to the very basic. The choices are a plenty, but do start wearing one as the benefits are humungous.
Kundan and pearl pendant