October 26, 2011

We Believe

A Hindu marriage symbolizes not just coming together of two individuals, but also the bonding of understanding, commitment, mutual love, oneness and spiritual growth. It demands sacrifice, companionship, dedication, and devotion from both the partners. Each and every rituals and customs associated with marriage portrays the real essence of wedding. 

Traditionally, there are five signs of marital status of women, according to Hindu culture- Mangalsutra, Toe rings, Kumkum, Bangles and a Nose ring


Talking about Mangalsutra, the word denotes a significant meaning. While mangal means aupiscious, sutra can be deciphered as a thread.

|| Mangalyam tantunanena mama jeevana hetuna 

Kanthe badhnami subhage twam jeeva sarada satam ||

Tying the thali or the mangalsutra around the bride's neck by the groom is one of the most important rituals of a Hindu wedding.
While the groom ties three knots, the pundit chants this sloka which means; 
“This is a sacred thread. This is essential for my long life. I tie this around your neck O maiden having many auspicious attributes. May you live happily for a hundred years (with me).” 

Thaali is known in various names in India, ThiruMangalyam in Tamil; Mangalyam, Mangalya Sutram in Malayalam and Mangal Sutr in Hindi. Thaali is treated as a very sacred and it symbolizes life and strong family bonding. Towards south India, the thaali is more sentimentally preserved, divinely respected and cherished by all married women through out their life. 

Entering into a marriage relationship and sacredly preserving that bond till the end of life is one of the unique specialties of Indian family system. This thaali worn by Indian women is discarded only at the demise of their husband according to various caste rules. 

At the time of south Indian wedding, there is an important ritual called mangalya dharanam (wearing the mangalsutra), wherein the mangalsutra is tied around the bride’s neck with three knots. In some traditions the groom ties the first knot and the rest two are tied by the groom’s sister. The significance of joining of the beads in one string in the mangalsutra is that, ‘just like each and every bead makes a contribution in the aesthetic necklace, the woman has to blend and integrate into the new family’. Considered auspicious for married women, mangalsutra is believed to have divine powers. Each of the black beads in the Mangalsutra, signify protection from evil power and are believed to protect the marriage of a couple, essentially the life of the husband.

It is the prerogative of the married woman. A red dot on the forehead is an auspicious sign of marriage and guarantees the social status and sanctity of the institution of marriage. The Indian bride steps over the threshold of her husband's home, bedecked in glittering apparels and ornaments, dazzling the red bindi on her forehead that is believed to usher in prosperity, and grants her a place as the guardian of the family's welfare and progeny.
The area between the eyebrows, the sixth chakra known as the 'agna' meaning 'command', is the seat of concealed wisdom. It is the centre point wherein all experience is gathered in total concentration.The red 'kumkum' between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration. It is also the central point of the base of the creation itself — symbolizing auspiciousness and good fortune. 


Bangles or Churi (Tamil: Valayal, MalayalamVala, Nepali: Chura) are traditional ornaments worn mostly by South Asian women, especially Hindus. They are worn after marriage to signify matrimony. 

Sindoor is traditionally applied at the beginning or completely along the arting-line of a woman’s hair (also called mang) or as a dot on the forehead. Sindoor is the mark of a married woman in Hinduism.

Is a traditional red or orange-red colored cosmetic powder from the Indian subcontinent, usually worn by married women along the parting of their hair. Usage of sindoor denotes that a woman is married in many Hindu communities, and ceasing to wear it usually implies widowhood. The main component of traditional sindoor is usually vermilion.

A version used in Hindu rituals or puja is known as Kumkum. This also lends itself to the name of a wedding ritual in some Hindu communities, known as 'Haldi-Kumkum'. The sindoor is first applied to the woman by her husband on the day of her wedding. After this time she must apply this every day herself in the parting of her hairline.

The red sindoor is significant for the married woman as she full of colour, when she becomes a widow she adopts the white dress and removes all colour from her face including the bright red sindoor. 

After widow the wife becomes vidvah and removes the sindoor. In Hindu culture, the tradition of wearing Sindoor or vermillion is thought to have been prevalent for more than 5,000 years. According to the Legends, Radha the consort of Lord Krishna turned the kumkum into a flame- like design on her forehead. In the famous epic Mahabharata, Draupadi the wife of the Pandavas wipes off her sindoor in disgust and despair at the happenings in Hastinapur. Use of Sindoor is very widely mentioned in The Puranas, Lalitha Sahasranama and Soundarya Lahari.
Sindoor expresses a woman's desire for a long life for her husband. A woman's initial experience with the sindoor is during her marriage ceremonies. The display of the sindoor is also considered very important to indicate the married statues of the bride
Adi Sankaracharya writes in Soundarya Lahari

"Tanothu kshemam nas tava vadhana-saundarya lahari. 
Parivaha-sthrotah-saraniriva seemantha-saranih. 
Vahanti sinduram prabala-kabari-bhara-thimira-. 
Dvisham brindair bandi-krtham iva navin'arka kiranam"

(Oh mother, let the line parting thine hairs, Which looks like a canal, Through which the rushing waves of your beauty ebbs, And which on both sides imprisons, Your Vermillion , which is like a rising sun, By using your hair which is dark like, The platoon of soldiers of the enemy, Protect us and give us peace)

"Toe Rings"

In India, toe rings are considered of great social significance and are regarded as an essential accessory for the married women. Wearing of toe rings is practiced in India. It is worn as a symbol of the married state by Hindu women and is called bichiya in Hindi, Mettelu in Telugu, Metti in Tamil. They are usually made of silver and worn in pairs on the second toe of both feet. 

There is a special ceremony performed for wearing toe rings at the time of marriage. Along with other symbols of marriage toe rings are also a traditional symbol of marriage. As toe rings are a symbol of married status, according to the Hindu culture and religious beliefs the unmarried girls are prohibited to wear toe rings. 
"Nose rings"
In certain Hindu sects, a nose ring is referred as ‘Nath’ is worn during marriage and is a symbol of married woman. Nose stud is widely worn in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu and in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, by both married and unmarried young women. It is known as ‘mookkutthi.’ In some instances, women wear nose stud on both the wings of their nose. In some Hindu communities, the nose stud is not removed and it is a symbol of married women like sindoor and mangal sutra and is an essential part of Shodash Shringar or Solah sringar - the sixteen beautification processes of a bride. Piercing left side is preferable in North India and the right side is pierced in South India.The left nostril is the preferred position for the piercing as Ayurvedic medicine associates this location with the female reproductive organs. It is supposed to make childbirth easier. Nath or the nose ring completes the look of the bride, making her look traditional and ethnic. Made of gold, it is generally worn on the left nostril and is supported by a gold chain, which extends just behind left ear.

Ancient Sanskrit texts talk about the concept of Sola ShringhaarFor an Indian bride, the wedding day is the most important day of her life. Most of the girls in our country have lots of dreams for this day, since it marks the beginning of their journey into womanhood. 
Sola singhaar is sixteen items with which every woman should adorn herself as it is deemed to be important that she always looks at her best. The sixteen items adorn all parts of her body and are the bindi, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, flowers in the hair, rings, bangles, armlets, wristbands, ankle-bells, kohl, toe rings, henna, perfume, sandalwood paste, the upper garment and the lower garment.

Kajal or kohl is one of the most popular solah shringar. It is basically applied on the edges of the upper and lower eyelids, enhancing the bride's eyes and making it attractive and appealing.

After the face, next comes the neck of the bride. It is adored with beautiful haar or necklace, which is usually made of gold and embellished with diamonds, pearls or stones.

Karn Phool
Ear rings or karn phool adorn the ear of the bride. Mostly, the ear ring flaunted by the bride is made out of gold and is extremely beautiful and heavy.


Mehndi signifies the essence of love in wedlock and is essentially applied on the hands and feet of the bride, to strengthen that bond of love. It is one of the most special pre-wedding rituals in India.

Bridal Dress
Made in bright bridal colors, such as red, maroon, gold or green, bridal dress comprises of saree, lehenga and salwar kurta. It truly brings out the eternal beauty of the bride.

"The Current Scenario- Introspection & Conclusion"
The concept of wearing a mangalsutra has changed considerably. It is more of a fashion statement than a symbol of marriage, thanks to modernization. With the progressive times, the wearing of mangalsutra in working women has considerably reduced. There is also a marked change in the style and making of mangalsutra over the years. 

Bindis are not as fashionable to the younger generation and are often worn only on formal and traditional occasions now. 

Methods and styles of applying the sindoor vary from personal choice to regional customs. Recently a triangle shape on the forehead pointing to the nose has beome popular added with a diamond bindi for fashion is being worn by younger women.

In todays times, toe rings are no more used as a traditional ornaments. They are found even in the western countries and have become a great fashion accessory of the modern era. In the western culture toe rings are mainly a fashion statement to decorate the feet.

None of the five signs of a married woman are seen these days, unfortunately. Not even sindoor, mangalsootra nor bindi. The main maangalyik marks. :-|

I believe in feeling the essence of all the rituals and beliefs, unfortunately it is less seen in this generation, thanks to modernization and the changing trends. 

Be proud of being what you are and from where you belong and strive to keep up to what is being followed rather than catching up with new trends.

Born Indian? Then BE an Indian! :D

By a true Indian!

26th October 2011
Happy Diwali!:)


  1. Very well written div..:-) super-super like!!!!!!

  2. Good piece of information divs.

    I accept with that last para!
    Its hapless to see the married girls of this generation don't follow any of these.
    Three nots that should be worshiped life long is being replaced by gold chain.. No kungumam.. No Bindhi..
    Whatever, Pity those girls!

    Loved the post!
    Great stuff! :)

  3. Well written. Glad that you admire, respect and probably (might) follow our tradition of marriage.

    Happy Diwali DM :))

  4. Bhagya :: Yep! Sad it is!!! The current scenario is pathetic! :-/
    Thanks bhagya <3 :))

    Vamsi :: Yep!! Will surely follow em all :) :) <3
    Thanks a lot :-D

  5. Hi Divya
    Very nicely written and compiled; beautiful! Thank you.

  6. Good Explanation, At least now I got a chance to explore into the roots of tradition, (Though I am a self proclaimed rationalist, but not an atheist). I do believe that there is a concrete reason behind each and every action that is being performed by the people of our society. Good Luck GOD Bless!! Regards,

  7. its really good . but i always wonder why women in name of tradition is made to wear everything that makes her tell world that she is married but there is nothing that men wears? to show that he is married too .

  8. wow! a truely needed one !! every gal must read dis and undrstd t value of each thin..yu ve totally described t necessity of followin our purest culture..its nt a joke nd i appreciate it dear!.. even guys must read and try to respect it... wonderful wrk once again Divya Mohan !! :) hats off..!!

  9. Divya Mohan...simply superb!! loved it truly!! and a must read!!

  10. Divya, very well written!! Super liked it :)

  11. oooooooohhhh... viscos-ity reveals its deepest desire...!!! ;) :P

    btw, amazing post...!!! =)

    educating the young Indian would-be brides about marriages and all...!!! :) :) :)

  12. really warms my heart to know someone actually cares :) wel written..!

  13. Silverfox, Sri, Srini, Keshav, Aloo :: Thank you!! Elated to see your comments!!! Thanks for dropping by!

    Vishakha :: Thankuuuuuuuu :D :D

    Sumangala :: I'm overwhelmed..Thankuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu :D :D

    Tripti... :) :)

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  15. Well thought about and written.

  16. Deepavali special indeed. Very informative!;)

  17. Very Funny..
    Why women has to wear all these things to show that she is married?? Why men don't have any of these things to show that he is married. ( Now don't tell me that these customs are set long time ago ) Well it's individual interest whether she wants to follow or not. Thanks for the post !!

  18. Divya Ravi :: Thanks!

    Riya :: I think your not gettin the purpose of the post! These are the signs of married woman, and its our tradition to follow it, maybe not all if you are so 'modern', what is 'funny' is that if Indian girls are not ready to follow all this, who will? If u are a Hindu, a mangalsutra n bindi is mandatory!! I dont get it, what so difficult in wearing a bindi? In hindu culture only a widow doesnt wear a bindi! You might be thinking its not 'kewl' doing all this! lol! anyways, its your 'own' wish, as you concluded! Thanks for the comment! :)

  19. we believe and we practice. Good job, informative indeed.


  20. Wow...Speechless ..Loved the conclusion part,agreed with every word..This post was a kind of concept booster for me...It's same even in north India with married women wearing Bindi,Lahthi(popularly CHURI),mangal sutra Bichiya and Nathuni( nose rings ).....Kudos for writing this :):)

  21. Vishwas :: Thank you so much!! :)

  22. Hi Divya: what a beautiful post - in every way. I am writing a post on my blog - Making Multicultural Music about ankle bells. Can I ask permission to use your photo from here and credit this blog, with this link? Also, would you ever write a short post on music from India or what it means to you for my blog. Making Multicultural Music (http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/) is mostly read by teachers, students and parents who want to celebrate diversity and explore world cultures. I'd love to have you write a special post for us! E-mail me at dariamusic@yahoo.com.

  23. Good stuff :)
    loved the post..
    keep going....

  24. Hi it was awesome to read your post.. i must take still more hours to digest the whole content deeply into heart.. much informative.. well done. you collected these many things?

    1. Thanks a lot Mr. Balaji. Yes! I collected everything! :D

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  26. Hi! I really like your blog post however i was wondering if it would be ok with you if i worked from one of the pictures on your blog post. I just wanted your permission before starting the project. I would greatly appreciate it if you could please email me at abbas.tahira313@gmail.com :) Thank you very much!

  27. Nice article. It is difficult to find people with traditional thinking as trend is changed now & people are more concerned about style & fashion which became their prestige also.