No matter how much we advance in our lives certain things
are done best in the traditional old ways. Solah Shringaar is one such ritual
that no woman wants to omit on her wedding day. According to the Hindu beliefs,
the concept of”16” shringaar is associated with sixteen phases of the moon. These
phases are said to have a deleterious effect on a woman’s menstrual cycles,
therefore each of the 16 adornment is donned in order to negate its impact.

The shringaars are such that they beautifully span the entire body of a woman
from the maang teeka worn on the head to the “bichuaa” worn on the toes. The
term “Shri” implies Lakshmi, who is the goddess of prosperity and wealth in the
Hindu culture. Hence the motive of the 16 shringar is to somehow replicate the
appearance of the goddess herself.

This customary practice is not limited for wedding days only, other auspicious
occasion which glorify the essence of womanhood and married life call for the solah
shringaar.  Karwachauth and teej are
among such occasions.

After the bride is brightened with ubtan (a scrub comprising of turmeric, gram flour, sandalwood) and her hair enriched with oil, she is finally ready for the shringar.

Listed below are the 16 embellishments that a bride puts on for the look that
is nothing but divine:

1) Bridal attire: Clothing
is the most important part of the shringaar; it is the reference point around
which the style and design of the rest of the embellishments would depend. The
bridal outfits are traditionally red considering the auspiciousness of the
color.

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2) Kesh-a-pash-a-rachna:
This particularly ritual implies tending the locks of the bride’s hair.
Everything from the hair styles, braiding and decorating the locks with gajra
(flower wreaths) is included in this procedure.

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Source: MLR Photography [FC recommends]

3) Maang Teeka: This
piece of jewelry hangs from the center parting of the hair till the forehead
and is usually accompanied with intricately designed strings which are tied
across the hairline.

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4) Sindoor: The
holy vermillion which symbolizes the wedded women is applied on the bride’s
head by the groom on the wedding day.

 

5) Bindi: This is usually a red vermillion mark put on the forehead between the eyebrows. Traditionally the bindi or tilak is extended contouring the eyebrows with red and white dots.

6) Kajal /Kohl: Known as the ajnana, Kohl is used to enhance the eyes and make them more impactful.

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Source: Tarun Chawla Photography

7) Ear rings: Known
by various names like jhumka, karnphool, there are exquisite pieces of jewelry
to beautify the ears.

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8) Nath /nose ring: Nose
rings are yet another symbol of a married woman. The designs vary from a tiny
stud to large ringlets which are often supported by strings which are tucked
neatly into the hair.

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9) Necklace /mangalsutra:
Mangalsutra along with sindoor are the two most important marks of a wedded
woman. It is a black beaded necklace with a golden trinket. Other necklaces of
varying length also glorify the bride’s beauty.

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Source: Reams Photo

10) Armlet/baajubandh:
Yet another band is worn around the upper arm called the baajubandh.

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11)Mehndi/Henna: Hands
and feet of the bride are dyed with henna which leaves a plum red color when it
is washed off. Apart from henna, other dyes like aalta are also prevalent.

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12) Bangles/Haathphool: For the wrists, the brides wear bangles made of glass, gold,
ivory etc. Haathphool is a piece of jewelry which involves a wrist band and
rings for every finger which are intricately intertwined to adorn the wrist and
fingers.

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13) Aarsi: It is a thumb ring which is said to be festooned with small mirrors to steal a glance of the groom.

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14) Kamarbandh:
It is a jewel studded waistband worn not only as a jewel  but a belt to hold the
outfit in place.

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15) Payal/bichua: The
feet of the bride are ornamented with anklets and toe rings made of  gold and silver.

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16) Scent: Nothing is more enchanting than a human carrying a heavenly scent. Therefore, the 16 shringaar cannot be complete without a mesmerizing scent.

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Huma Abbasi

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