In India, Solah Shringaar enhances the beauty of a woman.

Indian woman with solah Shringaar ; model : Preity Bisht

Namaste!

Welcome to the world of resolute readings at www.onindianpath.com. Let’s unveil the secrets of Indian beauty in Solah Shringaar of Hindu women.

Introduction

We are social beings who live peacefully with each other in different societies and countries. In fact, the diversity in culture, backgrounds, opinions and appearance makes us unique. An Indian woman is considered most beautiful at the time of her wedding. Specifically, in Hindu culture, a bride is seen as the most attractive and charming woman of all. Do you know why?

Let me tell you the reason. The beauty and elegance of the bride are all due to Solah Shringaar.

What is Solah Shringaar?

Solah Shringaar refers to the sixteen traditional adornments that Hindu women apply as part of their beauty and marital rituals.

Moreover, these adornments are considered auspicious and symbolize various aspects of womanhood and femininity in Hindu culture. In Hindu mythology, these adornments have been revered since time immortal. In the Treta Yuga, Goddess Sita was adorned with Solah Shringaar at the time of her swayamvar. Similarly, in the Dwapar Yuga, Goddess Radha, described as Roopvati (the most charming woman), adorned with Solah Shringaar.

In contemporary times, modern women are earning well and educating themselves to par excellence. They are reaching towering heights in every field, showcasing unmatched skills and rapid growth. Despite their independence and modern lifestyles, Solah Shringaar remains an eternal part of their wardrobe and vanity.

Story behind Solah Shringaar

As per ancient text, once upon a time, Rati (daughter of Prajapati Daksha) performed great penance to impress Goddess Lakshmi. She was pleased and gave boon to Rati. She told her to have 16 shringaar and you will marry your desirable husband. Thus, Rati married Kamdev (god of love) while wearing solah Shringaar.

Significance of Solah Shringaar

Solah Shringaar holds profound significance in life of a hindu married woman. As suggested by ancient text, as moon has 16 phases, similarly there are 16 Shringaar. As, it is made to ease out menstural cramps. Also, it eradicates negative energies.

woman to queen

Solah Shringaar makes a woman beatiful from head to toe. Not only this, it adds to the charm of a queen to the woman. Let’s unveil the items of Solah Shringaar as follow.

Bindi

Since the times of the Aryans, the Indus Civilization featured marks on the foreheads of both men and women. For men, it is called Tilak, and for women, it is called Bindi. These marks are placed at the center of the eyebrows and extend up to the hairline. However, Bindi is a word comes form Sanskrit word Bindu, means a point.

Apparently, for women, this mark is called Bindi. As mentioned in my previous blog on Urdhava Pundra, Shaivities and Vaishnava make different kind of tilak on their foreheads to identify themselves with their ideologies. Since, India is a versatile land of diversity in culture and heritage results in different size, shape and colour of Bindi. They may vary according to the different geographical locations.

Did you know it also connects to the Third Eye Chakra? The Ajna Chakra, located on the forehead, signifies a connection to ultimate reality and the truth of life. When activated, it guides our consciousness towards truth and honesty, allowing for a free flow of energy. By applying the Bindi, women press on the Third Eye Chakra, which is believed to improve concentration and retain energy.

Sindoor/kumkum

Traditionally, Sindoor aka kumkum was made using alum or lime with turmeric along with very small amount of mercury. Mercury is used to retain the red colour of kumkum. Now a days, cosmetic sindoor has lost its essence of being the herb. Chemical compositions, artifical dyes and high use of lead has made it more poisonous and health hazardous.

Further, sindoor is applied along the hair parting of woman hair to signify marital status. Initially, it is filled by the husband during the wedding ceremony, and thenafter, women wear it as a mark of their marital status.

Although, simandarekha or sindoor daan, pasupu kumkum are different names of the ceremony. In Bengali culture, Sindoor Khela is a traditional festival celebrated on Vijayadashmi (Dussehra), where married women apply sindoor to Goddess Durga’s feet and offer her bhog. Thenafter, they smear each other in sindoor as symbol of harmony and love.

Infact, applying sindoor has many health benefits like improving concentration, keeping blood pressure low, removing extra heat of the body and improving sexual health of the woman. Thus, sindoor is not applied by unmarried girls and widow.

Kajal

Kajal is the Hindi word for kohl, a beauty enhancer of the eyes. Known by various names such as surma, anjana, kanmashti, kajra, kadige, and kan mai, kajal makes the eyes look brighter and bigger. It protects eyes from dust particles. Also, it is considered a powerful tool to ward off the evil eye. It’s common to see newborns in India with a kala tikka (black dot made on either side of forehead) of kajal to protect them from evil eyes.

Additionally, Kajal is an age-old natural beauty product that has been used for centuries, not only in India but all over the world. Historically, even men used to apply kajal in their eyes. Homemade kajal, made from almonds, mustard oil, camphor and ghee, provides smoothness to the eyes. In particular, kajal is an essential element in the Solah Shringaar of a woman.

Karnphool or Earrings

Karnphhol means flowers of ears rather say earrings. They are an integral part of solah Shringaar. Karnphool are wore in pierced ears. Besides, there are many aesthetic and modern designs in earrings for brides in different metals like gold and silver easily available in online and offline markets.

However, piercing of ears is an age old practice in Indian sub continent. Karnvedhna is a tradition followed in almost every Hindu community.

Do you know why Indian men and women have their ears pierced? Let me tell you. Ear piercings have numerous health benefits, as certain pressure points in the earlobe are associated with the proper functioning of the brain, nervous system and other bodily functions. This leads to increased concentration, improved blood circulation in the brain, and a reduced risk of paralysis.

Nath/Nose rings

Nath aka nose piece ornated to add on the elegance and charm of every Indian woman. There are different names of nath like Nathani, Mukkhuthis, Laung, nath phool as per different ethnicity and diversity. Infact, in southern part of the country, nose is pierced on right side too and sometimes on both the sides. In addition to, nath pehnana (gifting nose ring to the prospecti e bride) is a ritual in many communities where girl is made to wear the nose ring by the boy to finalise the roka ceremony (fixing the match) of wedding.

In addition to, nose piercing is done to ease menstural cramp and labour pains. Eventually, it adds to valour, fertility and spirituality growth of a woman. Certainly, it is an age old practice to pierce the left nostril. Even, the spot at which it is pierced, it is linked to wellness of reproductive organs.

Likewise, Nose ring or nathani or Nose pin adds to the ethnic look of a woman. As part of brighter element of Solah Shringaar, it completes the marital look. As many communities have different size and shape of their nose rings as per the status and wealth of the family. A bride will wear a bigger nose ring at the time of her wedding, to showcase the wealth of her family.

Mangal sutra

Mangal Sutra is a Hindi word made of Mangal means auspicious and Sutra means tied in a thread. Mangal Sutra is an essential element of a hindu married woman. At the time of wedding, this managalsutra is tied by groom to the neck of bride which marks the marital status of a woman. Particularly, India is a land of diversity and in diverse cultures, necklaces and chains are equally important part of Solah Shringaar just like Mangalsutra.

Indeed, Mangalsutra differs in different ethnicites in design, size and shape.

Henna/mehndi

Henna or Mehndi, is an Indian tradition of applying powdered plant leaves to create a colorful stain on the feet and hands. Apparently, Mehndi is a main element of Solah Shringaar. Specifically, Hindu woman apply henna on their hands on many grand festivals and vrats. Even though, in many other cultures of India, mehndi is replaced with Alta and Mahavar. These are also red coloured dye (made from herbs) applied on hands and feet as a symbol of auspiciousness.

Being a Marwari daughter-in -law, it is customary to apply mehndi on hands one night before every baina and festival, I enjoy applying mehndi on hands a lot in every festival. My grand mother-in-law used to tell me that during their time, their nue (upper part of fingers) used to be stained throughout the year because of frequent application of henna.

Likewise, Mehndi is commonly applied to the hands and feet of Indian brides, and it is also practiced in other religions. Additionally, modern times have elevated the Mehndi ceremony in big, fat Indian weddings, turning it into a grand event filled with fun, food, and leisure.

However, health wise, it improves fertility, gives cooling effect and brings positivity.

Choodiya/ Bangles

Chooodiya is a Hindi word for bangles. Bangles are worn by unmarried and married woman in Hindu culture. One can trace the origin and history of bangles by observing age old scriptures and texts. Where, woman is depicted with bangles in scriptures and statues. Even, in Navratri and other major festivals, bangle is the most important item to be offered to Goddess Durga.

Meanwhile, bangles are must to wear element of Solah Shringaar. As suggested by society norms, wearing of bangles by married woman leads to longevity of their husbands. Likewise, Punjabi and sindhi community promotes the tradition and custom of wearing Chooda (a set of bangles specially made) post marriage as a symbol of fortune and auspiciousness for a newly wedded bride.

As per Ayurveda and other alternate healing sciences, bangles helps in pressing the 6 acupressure points of body results in relaxation and strengthening of the bones.

Bajubandh/Armlet

Bajubandh is an armlet typically wore on the upper part of hand. It helps in maintaining the right circulation of blood flow. Although, Bajubandh symbolises power, strength and tradition. Besides, it is carried out by mostly rajput ladies to waive off the negativity. However, you can see woman from Rajasthan and Gujarat pridely showcasing their bajuband at the time of wedding and other major festive events.

Rings

Besides, frequent metal friction is good for health which leads to relaxation and easy handling of life problems. Rings are made of silver, gold, bronze, asthdhatu etc. Moreover, it is believed that these rings affect the nerves which are connected to different organs of our body. Rings are must these day in ring ceremony, God bharai and other wedding rituals.

Thus, it completes the Solah Shringaar kit.

Kamarbandh/ Waistband

Kamarbandh is the waist chain wore by Hindu woman to enhance their beauty, controlling weight and gaining spiritual happiness. Apparently, the reasons for wearing waist belts could be birth control, beautification and sensuality. Furthermore, Indian women wear belly chains at the time of their wedding and important Hindu festivals like Karwa chauth, Diwali etc. Infact, men and women both used to wear belly chains as a part of jewellery on a daily basis during previous three yugas. Later, it was continued till the time of Kings and Queens only.

In solah Shringaar, a waist chain can be a single-line or heavy thick chain made of silver, gold or any other expensive metal.

Keshapasharachana/hair

Keshpasharachana is word made form three words – Kesh (hair) +Pash (flock) + Rachana (arrangement). Indeed it refers to the arrangement of hair of a woman to be part of Solah Shringaar. Earlier, it used to be making three braids representing three holy rivers like Ganag, Yamuna and Saraswati. Some texts suggests that it refers to trinity of God viz Lord Brahma , Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahesh.

However, these hair do could be in form of braids or a bun. Decorated with jasmine flowers also called Gajra. In southern India, it is a custom to decorate hair with jasmine flowers. Additionally, jasmine flowers is used to improve the texture, freshness and quality of hair. Likewise, woman also adorn their hair with rose flowers as it adds to freshness and prosperity.

Consequently, mangtikka (a piece of jewelry worn on forehaed), bhor or Bodhna, Matha Patti are also used in adorning the Indian bride to enhance the appearance of her hair do.

Payal/Anklet

Popularly called Payal, Pajeb, Toriyaan, takhne ki chain, is the anklets adorned to beautify the feet of Indian woman. Likewise, it is made of silver and gold with tiny bells. Payal is an integral part of Solah Shringaar as it denotes the power to accentuate woman health. As per ancient text, it adds to feminity, beauty, calmness and elegance. Not only this, Payal also helps in improving circulation, stimulating vibrations, reducing swelling in the feet, improving joint health and waiving off evils eye. Meanwhile, it has been proved beneficial in improving the health from sciatica and abnormal conditions of obstetrics.

Bichiya/toe ring

As per ancient text, Bichiya/ Bichua/ Bichawa/ Chutki should be of silver metal and worn on second and third toe fingers of the feet. These are toe rings are usually worn after marriage. As silver is cool metals and maintains the temperature of body.

Scientifically speaking, toe rings are good for Uterus, Thyroid gland, hormonal balance and heart health.

Eventually, following the tradition of the Baniya community, when I got married, my maternal uncle (mama) gifted me a beautiful pair of ann-bat bichiya with payal. It is a custom in our ethnicity for the bride to wear these bichiya before her saath phere. This pair of toe rings is precious and should be kept safely by the woman for a lifetime, as it symbolizes the longevity of her husband.

Itra/scent

Itra refers to the scent used by Indian woman to have aromatic appearance. The fragrance keeps her fresh and welcoming. It is added in solah Shringaar to make the appearance of a woman lively and fresh.

Lal joda

Lastly, Lal Joda refers to two piece garment which is red in colour wore by Hindu married woman. As I have mentioned in my previous blog on Swastik, red colour is most auspicious colour in Hinduism. Particularly, in Solah Shringaar, it is incomplete without the use of red colour in clothing. Even, Mata Sita wore red saree, Mata Parwati wore a red saree in her wedding rituals.

Contemporary times have made some changes in Lal joda, where bride prefer wearing Lehnga Choli in different hues of red colour for their D day. In the same way, woman adorn themselves in red sare or red traditional outfit on Karwa chauth and other major Hindu festivals. Due to its auspiciousness, one can witness Goddess Durga in red colour in every image or idol.

Conclusion

At the end, I would like to conclude my write up by emphasising on the importance of these solah Shringaar. This beautifies a woman from head to toe. Not only this, these elements also brings positivity, good health and waive off negativity. Although, we have modernized these solah Shringaar with beauty parlours and make up artists. But, we can not miss the essence of them.

Our customs and rituals are beneficial in every sense, keeping us connected to the roots of Hinduism.

Keep growing with us.

About Author

1 thought on “Solah Shringaar: Celebrating the Essence of Traditional Hindu Adornments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

16 − eight =