Bridal Series - North India (Hindus)

Weddings in India are not just celebrated in a very extravagant manner, they are the sanctified events they are taken very seriously. The Indian Wedding Traditions vary, depending on the culture, religion and region from where the bride and the groom come.Since its a big country I am dividing it at central India into north and south sections mainly for the sake of convenience. As each state has its own, unique traditional wedding with equally traditional attire and jewelry, this post is just an attempt to summarize Northern Indian Bridal jewelry of Hindus and even then does not include all states/ communities.

For the first post of this series, let us welcome our guest bloger today -  Ms. Vichitra Agarwal (Bhajjanka) a Kolkata based freelancer who writes articles, blog posts, product and book reviews and manages web content. Armed with a post graduate degree in English literature, she equally enjoys crafting, crochet, and all things DIY.
This Summary is a list of bridal accessories (of the bride) from head to toe.

Hair accessories:
Maang Tika is a forehead dangler hat features prominently in Bengali, Marwari, Gujarati, Punjabi, and Muslim weddings. Rajasthanis have Borla which is round in shape, unlike the usual flat maang tika. Sheeshphool/singarpatti are the side strands coming from the ear attached to the motif of the maang tika and is known as Shithi in Bengali.
Manipur brides wear an ornament called tikli
Crown/Mukut: - A golden mukut for the bride and a Topor made of shola pith for the groom is a must in Bengali weddings. Kata are golden pins used for holding the bun hairdo and chiruni, a golden comb adorned with semi-precious stones are worn by Bengali brides.
Earrings/Karnaphool:- Dangling earrings in plain gold, or kundan ( with stones) are worn. kanautis – earring suspenders used to provide support to the heavy bridal earrings and the much needed relief to ears. Worn by a Kashmiri bride. Dejharoo is a pair of gold pendants hanging on a gold chain through the holes in the ear lobes. 
Nath or Nose ring: A nose-pin is compulsory in most of the Indian weddings, particularly in Marwari and Muslim weddings. Nath ki lad, Similar to kanauti , used for providing support to the nath.
 Neck pieces:Raanihaar and Guliband (chik) are collar necklaces worn close to the neck and is tight fitting. Sitahaar/Haar is a huge and heavy necklace, worn next.Instead a 3, 5 or seven strand necklace of gold beads or stones (polki in jadau setting) with a central pendant may be worn. Matar mala or a long chain with pea shaped/sized golden balls/beads follows this. Mangalsutra (auspicious thread) is a pendant necklace with black/gold beads and it is akin to the wedding ring of the west.

The bridal bangles differ on the basis of the customs and traditions of a community.
Haathphool: known as Ratanchur in Bengali, is common to both Hindu and Muslim weddings. A haathphool, which means flower of hand, covers the fingers, the back of palm, and the wrist. It consists of a bangle/bracelet fastened to the wrist, which is attached to a flower sitting pretty on the back of palm, spreading out to five rings, one in each finger and thumb.

Chudi: - These are the usual bangles in glass or gold which are, generally, in sync with the neckpiece and the outfit. Red and green glass bangles are a norm in Marwari weddings where the bride wears them for 45 days starting from the day after wedding. Gujaratis wear chuda a mix of red and white ivory (or lac or acrylic) bangles for upto 6 months after their wedding.
Kada, known as Bouti, Chur, or Bala, is broader than a bangle and is worn in each hand. are Bengali variations of a Kada. Mantasha is a golden cuff.
Sankha and Pola traditionally made of  conch shells are white and red bangles which are a must in Bengali weddings. Equally important is Noya, an iron bangle, worn in the left hand.
Baajuband/Bhujband is a decorative armlet. And Kaliras (golden flower shaped danglers) are worn by Punjabi brides  to ward of evil. The brides wave it over the head of the unmarried girls in the family, with the wish that they get married soon.

Waist:Taagadi, known as Biche in Bengali, is worn on the waist. Chaabi ka guccha or challa is a bundle of keys hung on the waist. It is not a jewelry in the true sense of the term, but considered a transfer of power from the mother-in-law to the daughter in law.

Leg: Paajeb/Payal/Nupur are Silver anklets set with ghunghroos and, at times, semi-precious stones. Bicchiya/Chutki/ Anvta are Silver toe rings.                

It is not mandatory to wear all of the above listed jewelry pieces. And the must wear pieces vary from one community to another and depending on the family’s budget. They can be artificial, silver, golden, set with semi-precious stones/kundan, diamond, jadau, or platinum. Gold jewellery is the most common, followed by diamond. Jadau pieces became the rage following the movie ‘Jodha Akbar’. Some Kashmiri brides and hill (tribal) brides wear beaten silver with filigree work.  Some also include coral and turquoise beads with silver to make the jewelry special and auspicious. 

That's part one for you. Thanks Vichitra and I hope that you join us more often in the future. Tune in next week for the post on South Indian traditions by yours truly.
 Images: net : Brides of India



  1. What amazing pictures and incredible jewels. I love this post, thanks, Divya and your special guest writer! I am just in awe of these beautiful differences and traditions.

  2. Thanks Mich...and stayed tuned for the next installment...

  3. Fantastic! The jewelry is just gorgeous and I learned lots. Indian jewelry sure is a wonderful source of inspiration.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. lot of wrong information here !
    the crown (topor) is not made of thermocole (which is a polymer and did not exist traditionally ! ), but was made of SholaPith ( a reed found in the swamps of Bengal)
    the Dejhoru of the kashmiri bride is NOT equivalent of a mangalsutra (or any suhag chinh), and even widows wear it. the suhag chinh for kashmiri brides is something else !

    Atleast do your research properly please !
    thanks !

    1. Hi, Thanks for pointing out the mistakes. They have been corrected. As this is a guest post by a published writer it was posted here without much verification, which I am truly sorry for. Please check if the otehr details are right


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