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Indian fashion - Traditions and Customs
  • Sindoor
  • Nose ring
  • Bangles

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    The Mesmerising Dot on a Women's Forehead

    It has been known by various names - BINDI, SINDOOR, TIKKA, POTTU et al,. It is either a small dot or a big large, eye-arresting blazing round; it is sometimes shaped like a long straight vertical line, or sometimes in a miniature alpana with a fine-tipped stick in squiggles and triangles and circles to work out a complicated artistic design.
    Bindi is derived from the sanskrit word bindu or a drop,it is supposed to signify the mystic third eye of a person and therefore,when properly marked,becomes the central point of the base of the creation itself.It is a symbol of auspiciousness,good fortune and festivity.It denotes the woman's married status in most of the North Indian communities but in South India it is a prerogative of all girls to wear a bindi.Even the men wear kumkum mark on their forehead,especially for traditional ceremonies.The bridegroom's make-up is incomplete without the TILAK.The decked North Indian bride steps over the threshold of her married home,resplendent with the red bindi on her forehead.The red color is supposed to augur prosperity for the home she is entering.The mark makes her the preserver of the family's welfare and progeny.Conservative woman still use age old kumkum or sindoor for making a bindi.In olden days,to get a perfect round they used to use a small circular disc or a hollow pie coin.First a sticky wax paste or vaseline was applied on the empty space in the disc.This was then covered with kumkum and then the disc was removed.....and presto you had a perfect round bindi.

    Today a fashion conscious girl has a wide variety to chose from. There are bindis of various colors and design,sequinned,dusted with gold powder,studded with beads and glittering stones and in different sizes.While buying these types of stick on bindis one has to be careful so as not to buy unknown brands as this may lead to various skin irritations and ailments like fungus and rash.If this ever occurs it is better to get treated by a doctor or else it could possibly leave an ugly mark on the forehead.

    The shinning bindi on the beloved's forehead is supposed to mesmerise her lover.Poets,through ages have composed couplets on the beautiful bindiya of the damsel.Bindis still do attract a lot of attention as it is the first thing that catches our eye . This little dot has always received a place of importance in Indian customs.Before, a Kshatriya queen used to apply this tilak on her husband's forehead to bring him luck in the battle-field or used it to welcome him back home. In modern times too we use the same custom to welcome our guests- like for example MICHEAL JACKSON and all of our aspiring Miss World's were welcomed with the applying of the tilak.

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    The Facinating Jewel on the Nose

    This piece of ornament has captured the hearts of poets and painters. Be it a sculpture or a painting or a poem describing a traditional Indian women mention is always made of the nose-ring. It is also known by different names in North and South India (NATH in the north and MUKHUTTI in the south). It can be safely assumed that this nose-ring was brought to India by the muslims, ancient architecture never depicts a female form with this, and neither does ancient Indian literature make mention of the jewel. But the nose-ring, simple and modest is mandatory for every Muslim bride.
    In the old ages the maiden before she took the SAATH PHERAS or 7 steps around the holy fire during her marriage,propitiated the Goddess Parvati to seek long life,prosperity and good health for her husband.In the course of the puja,her nose was pierced and the auspicious nose ring worn by her would be worn through out her life.In different states of India this jewel is made differently.The mukhuttis of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have ornate,traditional lotus and swan designs and are mostly studded with diamonds,or the poor man's diamond, the topaz.Rajasthani women wear the nathuri and the bhauriya.While the first is a small gold or silver ring with precious stones,the bhauriya has a slightly different design.The conventional clove-shaped nose stud is called the laung,while the small pendant suspended between the nostrils is the latkan because of its pendulous character.In Uttar Pradesh, the nath is adorned with 2 pearls and a pendulous bead to augur prosperity.The Punjabi damsel has gold ring strung with as many as 20 to 25 motifs.It is the shikarpuri nath.In Bihar,the nose stud is the chhuchhi or the laung.In Maharashtra,it is the guchhedar nath which is known for its radiant beauty.

    In the most rudimentary form,a simple gold wire with a pointed, sharp end is passed through the nostril.It has a hook and an eye which fastens to form a delicate loop on the nose.Nowadays,especially in cities,nose-piercing is much more simple,painless and sterile.Most jewellers have this facility of fixing a nose stud in the nostril instantly with a kind of stapler-like instrument.One side of the instrument holds the nose-pin of the stone of your choice.Its stem is pointed like a pin.The other end of the piercing instrument has the screw.The instrument is positioned over the spot which is to be pierced and the screw is pressed into place inside the nostril.The procedure is almost painless.All that is felt is a sharp prick.The nose-pin,once inserted,has to be gently rotated in its place to facilitate the healing of the hole.If the wound becomes infected or causes pain,a little warm oil with a pinch of turmeric can be applied to the spot for relief.Rarely are antibiotics needed to stop infections.

    All said and done for the Indian woman who wishes to look beautiful in the traditional fashion,her shringar is never complete without the wearing of a sparkling nose ornament.

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    The Beautiful Piece on a Women's Hand

    The kangaan or the bangle as it is more popularly known is the most wonderful piece of jewellery. This ornament has been worn by Indian women with a lot of pride. Ancient sculpture show that it was worn by dancers, queens and also sometimes by the kings.
    Mostly these bangles are made of glass. These colored glass bangles have a lot of significance. The green ones are mostly worn on auspicious occasions like festivals, marriages etc. The black colored ones are actually combined with the green and red ones and placed on the brides hand to ward of evil, bring her luck and prosperity. These colored glass and metal bangles are also used to enhance the beauty of the hand by wearing the same color of the dress. This makes the whole costume look very chic and attractive.
    Present day bangles have taken the form of bracelets,(That is what they are more popularly known as).These bracelets are usually made of gold and are studded with a lot of precious stones and gems.Bangles are more often worn more than one where as the bracelet is just worn individually.This is because it is common belief that this way it makes it look richer and more attractive.It is also known by the name of "kangan" or "kadda".Kangan is basically given in North India by the brides mother-in-law as a "shubha shagun"(good omen).The kadda is very thick with a lot of intricate designs and is basically made of gold.

    In some cultures bangles signify the marital status of our women.Bangles,bracelets,kadda,kangan call it what ever you want it has its own place in the traditional dress of an Indian women.


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