Thursday, July 8, 2010


Long ago ... someone asked me what exactly made up the "Solah Shringar" ... an idea immortalized for our generation by Zeenat Aman in the movie 'Manoranjan' ... singing 'Chori-chori solah, shringaar karoongi ...' I kinda researched it around ... and this is what I came up with ...
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….... Shringar is a Ritual which marks a would be-bride's transition into Womanhood.
The Fundaas :
 Solah = Sixteen phases of the moon which in turn is connected with a woman's menstrual cycle

 Shringar is associated with SRI (means Beauty or Laksmi), the goddess of female beauty, good luck, prosperity, and fertility. Laksmi is depicted as a model Hindu wife

 Because young unmarried girls seldom wear jewelry or bright clothes, these visible marks of her married status are FIRST BESTOWED on the bride-to-be during the ritual of Solah Shringar

 An Indian woman's married status is demonstrated through her jewelry and clothes. However, no single ornament serves the purpose of indicating marital status in India . Rather, regional patterns vary and marriage ornaments can be worn on the head, nose, neck, wrist, toes and combinations of these.

 A woman can only do the 15 components of Solah Shringaar - the 16th part - to formally declare her status as married - are given to her by her husband during the wedding ceremony, that is - Sindoor & Mangal-Sutra.

 On her wedding day, the most special day of her life, Indian bride symbolically BECOMES the beautiful goddess Lakshmi, who will bring good luck and plenty to her new home and fill it with happiness and harmony

The ‘Solah Shringar’ consists of :

1. Kesh Savaarna (includes oiling, washing, drying & combing the hair & perfuming with Sandalwood smoke or a rose-petals bath and then decorating the hair with Gajra.

2. Haldi aur Chandan ka lep lagana (paste of oil, turmeric, and gram flower is used to cream and scrub the bride's hands and arms to make it soft & glowing.)

3. Aankhon mein Kaajal lagana (eyes are highlighted with kajal drawn in a wide black line around the eye. Cosmetics are used to beautify the face; the face is powdered, the cheeks are rouged, and lipstick made of beeswax is applied.)

4. Haathon mein Mehndi lagana (intricate mehndi designs made from henna. The resulting red color is considered to be auspicious because it has several emotional, sexual and fertility-related qualities.)

5. Maathein pe Bindiya (along with a tikka or bhor ornament or with gold ornaments worn along the hairline - The Bindiya - has been and is still, seen as a sign of marriage. It has also been associated with fertility, and the red powder used to paint the dot was formerly made of a combination of mercury (considered by early Hindu alchemists to be the seed of the god Shiva, and therefore the male element - and sulphur, the female element.)

6. Kaanon mein Baali/Jhumka (Ear rings may consist of elaborately decorated large round ornaments. The weight of these ornaments is often supported by a chain passing over the crown of the head. Some earings hang from the lobe and end in a large elaborately decorated pendant. Other ornaments cover the entire ear.)

7. Naak mein Nath (A nose ring consisting of clusters of pearls or other gems including diamonds. Some nose rings consist of a disc made of tiny gold beads. In some areas of India the nose ring is never removed and thus, becomes another visible sign of a married woman.)

8. Gale mein Haar (a collar or choker, are strung with pearls, gold pieces, and gold beads with or without jewels. Necklaces made from floral garlands are also worn by the bride.)

9. Kalai mein Churiyaan (the most visible sign of marriage, bangles or bracelets are one of the most important adornments worn by the bride. Bangles may be made of iron, ivory, green or red glass, ceramic, gold, and other metals depending upon the custom.)

10. Ungliyon mein Angutthi (may be worn in the form of a *hathphul * or hand ornament which consists of a central flower or medallion to which eight chains are attached. Three of the chains pass to a bracelet and five to each of the fingers where they are secured by finger rings. In some cases, the left hand thumb ring may contain a mirror.

11. Kamarbandh (an elaborate gold or silver belt which also serves to keep the bride's sari in place ) & Baaju-bandh (Armlets, worn on the upper arm, may be set with pearls or diamonds and made of gold or silver - One of the most popular is the snake, known for its divine powers to ward-off evil and to protect stores of wealth.)

12. Paaon mein Paayal (Anklets, varying from simple chains to heavy, thick, rigid bracelets are worn. Sometimes, bells may be attached to the anklets.)

13. Bichhiya (Toe rings may be simple or elaborate in design. Some toe rings have bells attached to them. Foot and toe ornaments constructed in a manner similar to the *hathphul*)

14. Attar (perfume) for Mehak (Rose, Jasmine, sandalwood, lemon are all fragrances that are captured into attar or indigenously made perfume. Attar is available at many Indian traditional beauty shops.)

15. Suhaag-ka- Jora or Bridal Sari (a Red five-yard sari - since red is considered auspicious ) with an Angiya (blouse)

16. Sindoor & Mangal-Sutra - to formally declare a woman's married status – the only 2 given by her Husband
( Sindoor is applied for the first time to a woman during the marriage ceremony when the bridegroom himself adorns her with it . Sindoor-daan, is part of the marriage ceremony. Vermilion, powdered red lead, applied in the parting of the hair by all suhagans or married women, as a visible expression of their desire for their husbands' longevity.Red is the colour of power. Vermilion is thus a symbol of the female energy of Parvati and Sati.
Mangalasutra or thread of good will is an additional necklace worn specifically by married women as a symbol of their marriage.The most common Mangalasutra is made of two strings of small black beads with a pendant, usually of gold. The black beads are believed to act as protection against evil - as in Nazar Utaarna).