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Women and Jewelry - The Spiritual Dimensions of Ornamentation
Article of the Month - March 2002 by Nitin Kumar Email the author

The people of India have expended limitless energy and creativity in the invention of ornaments that celebrate the human body. Adorning the visible, material body, they feel, satisfies a universal longing for the embellishment of its intangible counterpart, namely the human spirit.

Indeed rarely is a traditional Indian ornament simply decorative and devoid of inherent meaning or symbolic value. Symbols found in Indian jewelry act as a metaphorical language communicated from the wearer to the viewer. Such a jewelry is created from an infinite reserve of symbolically significant forms and images, some obvious, some subtle, and some whose meaning is forgotten.

Shringar

 

 

Complementary to such thought is the conventional view where the graceful form of a woman is said to epitomize the ideal beauty and mystery inherent in nature. Thus befittingly each and every part of the feminine physique including the head, torso, limbs, and between the appended parts - have consistently been used to support ornaments, often in ingenious ways. The Indian idea being that only things covered with ornaments are beautiful. Poetry must overflow with rhetorical ornaments (alamkara), metaphors, alliterations, and other musical effects. The verb alam-kara, "to adorn, to decorate," means literally "to make enough": for the simple appearance without ornament is "not enough"; it is poor, disgraceful, shocking, except in the case of an ascetic. Hence the stress on adornment of the women, who are but the poetry of nature.

 

Lady of the Harem

 

 

 

Ornamentation not only serves to please the eyes of the beholder but also fulfils an auspicious purpose. The impulse to adorn stems from a deep rooted sensibility to mark every occasion of life with auspicious symbols, designs and figures to obtain good fortune and protection from evil. Thus a fully bedecked woman evokes in the viewer a deep and ingratiating feeling of tranquil contentment, springing from an intuitive realization that evolving before him is an image of perfect beauty, symbolically conveying the richness and completeness which is but natural to nature.

 

 

The Ten Mahavidyas : Shodashi - She Who is Lovely in the Three Worlds

 

The ancients who translated the abstract nuances of Indian philosophy into images of everyday reality went even further and canonized the adornment of the female form into sixteen different ornaments (solah shringar), covering her entire being from the head to toe. The choice of the number sixteen too is not without significance. It is a significant number among the Hindus, and corresponds to the sixteen phases of the life of the moon, which in turn is connected with a woman's menstrual cycle. This is another pointer to the feminine physiognomy being a microcosm of the rhythms of natural processes. Further a woman of sixteen is considered at the peak of physical perfection in her life. At this stage of her life the aspect of delight is most pronounced. Her nature is to play, seek new experiences, and to charm others to her. Her innocence attracts to her all that is true and good. Indeed it is common for deities to be described as eternally sixteen years old, which is considered the most beautiful and vigorous human age. In fact an important goddess is named after the Sanskrit name for sixteen (Shodashi), and is visualized as having all the above mentioned qualities.

The sixteen ornaments said to make up the standard repertoire of feminine adornment are:

Bindi

The bindi is a small ornamental dot placed at the center of the forehead, between the eyes.

White Tara: The Divine Mother

 

The word itself is derived from the Sanskrit bindu, meaning dot. Metaphysically speaking, it is the dimensionless point of infinite potential from which has originated all manifested existence. It is further said to signify the mystical third eye, an invisible organ of spiritual perception and second sight, traditionally said to be situated at a point little above the place where the eyebrows meet. It is regarded as the channel of supreme wisdom and sublime intuition, and is said to confer divine knowledge. Here it is relevant to note that the two eyes are often likened to the sun and moon. The third symbolic eye is then said to represent fire. The two eyes are capable of seeing only the past and the present, but the third eye gives a potency to the perceptive powers making them see the future also.

Meditating Shiva

 

 

 

 

 

Interestingly at some places men too adorn their foreheads with this 'third eye', but predominantly it remains a feminine trait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sindoor (Vermilion)

Sindoor is a deep, rich blood-red powder applied in the parting between the hair. Exclusively used by married women it represents their marital status. Significantly this same powder is an essential ingredient in Hindu rituals (puja). In relation to women the notable characteristic is the color of this powder. A vital red it is symbolic of fertility and the regenerative power inherent in women. At a practical level (especially in India where marriages are said to be made in heaven), it proclaims in loud terms the status of a woman committed irrevocably, and as passionately as the color of her sindoor, to a single individual, and thus being out of bounds for any other.

Tika

Surya TikaThe tika is a composite ornament composed of a chain with a hook at one end and a pendant at the other.

ShringarIt too like the sindoor is worn in the parting of the hair.

The hook holds the tika at the hair end, while the pendant falls on the exact center of the forehead. This place is believed to house the 'ajna' chakra. This chakra stands for preservation. Thus by adorning herself with this mark, a woman reiterates her status as the preservator of the order of the human race. Significantly this chakra is visualized as having two petals, and its presiding deity is Ardhanarishvara, the half-male, half-female androgyne. This represents the ultimate union where no dualities exist. In Tantric terms this signifies the union of the male and female elements in nature, at all levels, including the physical. Hence this ornament is specifically associated with women about to undertake the vows of matrimony, uniting with her mate, and holding within herself the potential to perpetuate the genealogy of the new clan she is thus becoming a part of.

Anjana (Kohl)

"The eye could never have beheld the beautiful had it not been made beautiful first"
--- Plotinus

Ordinarily the eye is a comparatively neutral and receptive organ, but when intent is added to the look it can charge the glance with irresistible power. Every feeling of the heart is transmitted through the eye. The eye can communicate feelings of reverence and sympathy, or love and lust.

The Indian poet usually longed to sink "in the depths below depths of the eyes of his beloved." Most poetic similes about eyes in Indian poetry are drawn from nature. Eyes are like the narcissus, the almond, the lily, or "like fishes with their long, flashing glide."

Radha as Bani ThaniA morning bath is a popular habit in India, and sprinkling the eyes with cold water is a necessity on account of the tropical climate. But there exists a popular powder kohl (technically the sulfide of antimony), also known as kajal, which has been used from time immemorial both to brighten and strengthen the eyes, and to darken the eyelashes.

A silver or ivory pencil, or a fine camel's hair brush is dipped in the kohl and passed along the borders of the lids with a light and gentle hand, taking care to carry the line of shading a trifle beyond the angle of the eyes. This will cleanse the eyes and give them a large, almond shape, delightful to look at.

"A fair maiden's transformation into lovely womanhood, when she comes of age, is indicated by the transfer of restlessness of her feet to her eyes, the orbs whereof keep always on the move," says an Indian sage. "When the slow music of time begins to sing a sad song into a woman's ears towards her prime, the flashing of the eyes is then a very good exercise, winking an excellent one."

Thus the highlighting of the eye is an acknowledgement of the maturing of a young girl in all her aspects, though the symbolism remains primary physical. Often a poet would address a heroine's eyes 'as deep as the sea'. Outlining with kajal establishes two discernable banks to these fathomless oceanic streams.

The erotic sentiment dominates the adorning of the eye. Large eyelashes, it is believed, make large eyes.

Therefore the Indian artist drew long spears of hair for the eyelashes he painted.

Incomparable Beauty

 

 

 

Also kohl, freely applied, will make each lash not only dark and bright but also so long that it is seen in full even when the face is turned aside.

The eyes' size is increased by drawing a short, fine pencil mark outwards from the corner of the lids where they join. Thus is created that sharpness in the glance that can let an Indian poetess say with pride to her lover:

 

Radha and Krishna

 

 

 

 

'My eyes are not eyes, beloved, but arrows of light;
My eyebrows are not eyebrows, but swords for your Destruction.
'

 

 

Padmini Nayika

 

 

 

 

The easiest way of preparing kohl at home is by burning a cotton wick soaked in mustard oil and then collecting the smoke that arises in a silver spoon. A silver pencil is then dipped into it and passed along the eyelids. This is said to blacken the eyes and preserve them against the sun and air. The eyes change to moonstones, brilliant, glinting and flashing fire, as, in the words of Kalidasa, "they are weighted over by the eyelids and half closed under the deeps of their palaces."

 

 

 

 

Nath (Nose Ring)

The nose was once believed to be exclusively concerned with smell, but is now established to be connected with emotional responsivity also. In fact occultists go further, believing it to be the 'seat' of the sixth sense.

Further there is known to be a close connection between the nose and the sexual reflexes. It is a medically established fact that swelling of the nasal spongy tissues and congestion of the nose occur during sexual excitement in human beings. The nasal passages of women swell, and occasionally bleed, during menstruation. Indeed Wilhelm Fliess (d. 1928), friend and associate of Sigmund Freud, found a relationship between the nose and the female sexual apparatus, and held that certain gynecological complaints could be cured by cauterizing the appropriate parts of the nose.

In males there is believed to be an affinity between the nose and the virile member, and from ancient times it was thought that a large nose was a sign of a large male sexual organ. Similarly, a woman with a little nose is believed to have a small sexual apparatus. In a parallel custom, in a number of north European countries, and in England under the law of Canute (d. 1035), the punishment for adultery for both men and women was amputation of the nose, not only to cause disfigurement and loss of physical attractiveness, but also to symbolize punishment for the offending genitals. In India, the deflowering of a virgin is symbolically referred to as the removal of the 'nath' or nose ornament.

The Colors of Rajasthan

 

Thus the Indian aesthetic befittingly adorns the female nose with an inspired ornament, which highlights its amorous connotations. Indeed amongst the many jewels with which the Indian woman adorns herself, the nose ornament (nath) is the perhaps the most seductive. Portrait of a Rajasthani BrideOrnaments for the nose take on a variety of shapes ranging from tiny jeweled studs resting on the curve of the nostril, to large gold hoops that encircle the cheek with graceful pendant pearls dangling provocatively just above the upper lip.

 

 

Nath or Nose RingOne can imagine the ornament making a very soft, sighing sound, like breeze moving over pipal leaves, as the head moves.

The length and position of nose ornaments often came in the way of comfortable eating, prompting the Abbe Dubois, a Christian missionary who lived in south India in the 19th century, to observe in amazement: "The right nostril and the division between the two nostrils are sometimes weighted with an ornament that hangs down as far as the under lip. When the wearers are at meals, they are obliged to hold up this pendant with one hand, while feeding themselves with the other. At first this strange ornament, which varies with different castes, has a hideous effect in the eyes of Europeans, but after a time, when one becomes accustomed to it, gradually seem less unbecoming, and at last one ends by thinking it quite an ornament to the face."

An integral part of traditional bridal jewelry, many aristocratic families have a special nath brought out at weddings to be worn by the bride. This is now perhaps the only occasion on which today's urban woman wears the nath, evoking its powerful seductive charm.

Necklace (Haar)

Gold Ruby Necklace SetThe neck is an important occult center. Because necklaces are often worn near the heart, they can be used to work on emotions, or to attract or strengthen love. By wearing a necklace of stones for example, it is believed that we are binding ourselves with their powers. From earliest times protective pendants, necklaces and strings of beads, as well as elaborate ornamental collars, were worn around the neck to bring good luck and avert the evil eye.

Indeed among all the kinds of jewelry, necklaces have had the maximum number of magical properties assigned to them. In some cases, they were designed as amulets or charms to insure good health or wealth to the wearer. Such necklaces could be very simple, with a gem or carving carrying the burden of the charm, or they could be very elaborate, glittering with gold and gems.

In all probability the form of the necklace was visualized with the explicit purpose of distracting the eyes of the viewer from the wearer's face and eyes - and thus protecting the wearer from the dangers of the mysterious Wicked Eye. The necklace hence also served as a protection against any attempt at hypnotizing, since such an effort would have had to start with a concentrated gaze at the wearer's face, an attempt which the necklace effectively undermined. A necklace in this manner acted as a powerful restraint against undesirable gentlemen trying out their charms on virtuous maidens.

Jasmine BudsMost likely, the predecessor of the necklace in India was a fresh flower garland, to which there are a number of references in literature. One of the more important designs of the necklace is known as champakali, i.e. 'buds of the champa (Michelia champaca) flower'. Many others derive inspiration from the jasmine flower, the fragrance of which has strong erotic connotations.

Even today, despite the emergence of paper and plastic flower garlands, the custom of offering fresh flower garlands has retained its charm.

Karn Phool (The Ear Flower)

Buddha HeadFrom earliest times long ear lobes have been regarded as a sign of spiritual development and superior status. Among the distinguishing marks of the Buddha, and a sign of his greatness, were his large ear lobes. Homer (d.c. 800 BC) and Aristotle (d. 322 BC) reputedly also had the same characteristic.

There is believed to be a close connection between the ears and the sexual reflexes. The fleshy ear lobes, absent in all other primates, are not, as they appear to be, useless appendages, but erogenous zones which in sexual excitement become swollen and hypersensitive. In ancient times severed ears were offered to the Mother Goddess as a substitute for the male organs. In Egypt devotees offered their ears to the goddess Isis, and till the early decades of the Christian era, sculpted ears were offered at the shrine of the Great Mother in other parts of the Middle East.

The boring of ear lobes has been widely practiced in all parts of the world from early times. The purpose of this operation is not only to facilitate the wearing of earrings for beauty, but to protect the wearer from evil influences, the adornments serving as talismans. The practice was also thought to have some therapeutic value. In certain places, ear piercing was believed to be good for the eyes; it also sharpened the mind and drew off 'bad humors'.

One historian attributes the piercing to the desire to punish the ears for overhearing what they should not hear. The earrings, in turn, were the consolation for the pain and suffering. It was believed that the more decorative and expensive the earrings, the greater the consolation.

The Maiden

 

Early sculptures demonstrate that ear ornaments were an important constituent of Indian female attire. To the married woman, the ear ornament was (and is) auspicious. Additionally a woman's wealth was conspicuously visible and the ear ornament became a statement of her status and power; elongated ear lobes were considered a sign of beauty and wealth - the longer the lobe, the greater the woman's wealth. By appending ornaments to almost every part of the ear, the woman also ensured a continuous state of mental and physical well being. Indeed recent studies have identified the ear as a microcosm of the entire body - "the point of vision in acupuncture is situated in the center of the lobe."

The Indian woman's bejeweled ear offers a sight that prompted the exclamation: "European ladies are content with one appendage to each ear, while the females of Hindustan think it impossible to have too many."

 

Antiquated Karn Phul

Ancient Prakrit and Sanskrit literature describe girls wearing fresh flowers in their ears. A range of floral earrings of gold, silver or precious stones that have been popular over the centuries in India suggest that the forms of flowers were, almost literally, translated into precious jewelry. Most ear ornaments are virtually bunches (jhumka) of fruits and flowers. A particular type, known as the karnphul, i.e. 'ear-flowers' is considered particularly auspicious. These are an important, universal, large, round metal flower-form earring, with a central stud at the back being the equivalent of a flower stem.

The choice of the flower as the inspiring shape behind this conception is not without significance. Flowers in addition to being natural erotic stimulants, by virtue of their association with Kama, the god of love, are also essentially a concise symbol of nature, condensing into a brief span of time the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. In addition it also reflects gentleness, youth, spiritual perfection and artless innocence, qualities which are but the fundamental attributes of feminine character.

Often they are so heavy that the ear lobe dilates to the extent that the long-hanging earrings worn in the widened orifices touch the shoulder.

Foreign travelers were fascinated by the sight of elongated ear lobes and have recorded their astonishment. Travelling in Kerala, Edward Terry commented on this practice among 'gentile' women: "The flaps or nether part of their ears are bored, when they are young, which hole daily stretched and made wider by things kept in it for that purpose, at last becomes so large, that it will hold a Ring (I dare boldly say, as a large as a little saucer) made hollow on the sides for the flesh to rest in." Amusing stories of ear holes the size of large eggs and plates, through which many a bold individual attempted to pass his arms abound.

 

Henna (Mehndi)

'When she puts henna on her hands
and dives in the river
One would think one saw fire twisting
and Running in the water.
'
-- Dilsoz, 18th century AD

Unlike real tattoo, which is permanent, some decorative patterns created on the skin with stain or dye are not immediately removable but, depending on the dye strength, can last for three or four weeks. Mehndi, the Hindi term for "henna," is one such temporary tattoo.

Men agree that mehndi patterns on a woman evoke thrilling, erotic sensations, perhaps because they associate mehndi with a maiden's initiation into mature womanhood.

The custom of applying elaborate mehndi patterns to the hands and feet is a symbol of satisfaction and happiness in marriage among the Hindus. This belief derives partly from the dye's red color, universally considered to be auspicious; and which is also the color of a bride's dress. Mehndi is commonly applied to propitiate Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, son of Shiva, who overcomes obstacles and is always invoked to attend a Hindu marriage ceremony. It is also considered very dear to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and fortune. Indeed if ever there was a plant associated with luck and prosperity, it is the henna bush.

Mehndi has a great significance in all Eastern wedding traditions, and no wedding is complete without the decoration of the bride's hands and feet - in many cultures on both the front and back of the hands right up to the elbow, and on the bottom half of the legs.

Mehndi is carried out on a bride's hands and feet the night before the marriage celebrations begin, often known as the 'mehndi ki raat' or night of henna, raat meaning night. A party of the bride's women relatives spend several hours at this joyful task, during which they sing appropriate songs, teasing her about her future:

"Oh, how sleep is hard to come by, once her hands have been adorned with the mehndi of her beloved."
"Oh, friends, come and decorate my hands with mehndi, write my beloved's name. Just see how auspicious this occasion is."
"Everyone's fate is held within the lines on our palms, it is on these palms that mehndi paints such beautiful pictures."

The mehndi night is something like a hen night in the West, with all the bride's female friends and relatives getting together to celebrate.

For the bride, the process is therapeutic in calming and preparing her for the event.

Mehndi signifies the strength of love in a marriage. The darker the mehndi, the stronger the love. The color of henna specifically has symbolic significance because red is the color of power and fertility. Many brides believe that the deeper the color of the mehndi, the more passionate the marriage. The design itself is important, too. Sometimes the groom's name is incorporated into the bride's complex mehndi tattoos, and it is a delightful task to try finding it - often taking up hours to accomplish.

After marriage, mehndi may be applied to a woman on any auspicious occasion, such as the birth or naming of a child.

Mehndi designs are an aspect of folk art requiring a well-developed decorative sense. Though the community perpetuates old patterns, innovative designs may also be introduced, which gradually enter the communal design repertoire. But an interesting aspect is that whatever be the innovation or tradition, only vegetative motifs are used. Thus henna is an attempt to symbolically link women with the vegetative and organic nature of Nature, along with its associated concepts of birth, nourishment, growth, regeneration etc.

Additionally, the purpose of tattooing is mainly apotropaic: to it is credited an evil-averting, magical function. Especially in animist societies, the tattoo acts to repel the forces of evil believed to be constantly active and attempting to gain advantage over the unwary, unprotected individual, causing misfortune, illness, or even death. In India, it is believed that an auspicious occasion like a marriage requires an extra protection against evil forces. This is because such occasions are celebrated with much pomp and show, amidst a high profile, making the probability of their being noticed by negative forces very high. The application of henna is thus an attempted safeguard against any such dark influences.

As well as being a lavishly colorful cosmetic, Mehndi is also supposed to have many healing qualities, many herbal doctors still recommend the use of Mehndi for some ailments, such as dry skin and to hasten the healing of cuts and scratches. It also acts a hair conditioner when applied on the head and is also said to stop hair loss by strengthening the roots of the hair.

According to Loretta Roome, a henna expert, in societies where mehndi is traditionally practiced, marriages are often scheduled to coincide with ovulation. "That's part of the intention," she said. "It's a fertility rite. The henna is the color of blood, representing the breaking of the hymen. In fact, Muslims call mehndi 'love juice.'"

Bangles (Wrist Ornament)

Bangles in Mohenjodaro Statue

 

 

"Bangle-sellers are we who bear
Our shining loads to the temple fair.
Who will buy these delicate,
bright Rainbow-tinted circles of light?
Lustrous tokens of radiant lives
For happy daughters and happy wives.
"
-- Sarojini Naidu

One of the oldest art objects in India, the bronze statuette of a dancing girl excavated at Mohenjo Daro epitomizes the antiquity and the universality of wrist ornaments in India. She stands in the nude with one arm at her hip, the other arm completely weighed down with a collection of bangles. From then on the variety and shape of wrist ornaments spanned the gamut of nature' s materials and human creativity.

 

 

 

Dragon BraceletIndeed more than any other single jewelry form in India, the bangle has been crafted from the widest variety of materials. Ancient fragments testify that bangles were made from terracotta, stone, shell, copper, bronze, gold, silver and almost any material that lent itself to craftsmanship. Lac and glass bangles in a plethora of colors are a common sight in India even today. From simple plain circlets of metal, to ones decorated with etched and repousse designs, to fabulous examples with bird and animal-head terminals and studded with gems, these circlets symbolize the potent energy of the sun.

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Article Reviews

  • Perhiasan yang sangat indah, inilah sebuah keajaiban perhiasan dari india semoga tetap dilestarikan
    - Andang Resmana
    27th Dec 2011
  • Jewelry is very beautiful, this is a miracle jewelry from india may still be preserved
    - Andang Resmana
    27th Dec 2011
  • I found the information simply enchanting & relevant.
    Namaste,
    Jeanette
    - Jeanette
    12th Feb 2010
  • this was a very informative and accurate article. i gained a lot of knowledge that even i, an indian girl, didnt know. thank you.
    - ashwathi
    22nd Jul 2009
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    - naz
    29th May 2009
  • Thankyou for this article!! This helped me so much with my History project! If i get an A, I'll thank you guys for writing it.

    p.s. i kinda thought the pics were a little much though. its like one of those viewer descretion is advised kind of things. hehe
    - Esperanza
    6th Mar 2009
  • man dar danshkade dramatik bodam
    - saeid azarmgin
    1st Feb 2009
  • Wow, I really loved this article. It has answered all my questions and has enriched me with the true meaning of feminine art.
    - Susmita
    17th Jan 2009
  • I just adore this article, I found it while trying my hardest to find websites selling the traditional head/hair decorations such as choti and parandi. I've started a group on facebook trying to educate others on these beautiful and quickly fading pieces and your article made this point also. A wonderful read and even I learnt a thing or two, and I thought I knew most of what there was to know on this subject. Thank you so much for writing it.

    P.s
    To my fellow commentators, it is jewellery or jewlery and spelt can be used instead of "spelled". It is also a type of grain.
    - Maggie (maggiejoh2005@aol.com)
    15th Jan 2009
  • this is a fantastic article! i am a one-of-a-kind jewelry designer and appreciate the history lesson!

    thanks!

    www.fiascojewelry.com

    - steph kexel
    1st Oct 2008
  • I REALLY love this site, im very interested in Indian wear and how it brings a deeper meaning to the Indian religions. Thank you for this, it's helped me greatly learn how to wear these things, and the purpose for it!
    - Amanda
    20th Aug 2008
  • One of you wrote, "Can I be Hindu and Christian alike?" and the answer is yes. If you fully understand the deeper teachings of Christianity you will find no significant arguments with the deeper teachings of Hinduism. And yes, the lovely thing is that the Hindu-based cultures seem so ready to share deeply whatever parts of their culture that others find appealing. Deep down though is the idea that God is everywhere and that everything has spiritual significance. Namaste (I greet the God in you.) Antoinette/Saraswati
    - antoinette Botsford (Storybeads)
    1st Jul 2008
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    bIG TIME SAVER
    - kevin
    26th Feb 2008
  • Very impressive article, you made this article very interesting with helpful information for one and all who is interested in learning about indian culture and its traditions. Good work.
    - Sailaja Hari (sailajahari@hotmail.com)
    4th Jan 2008
  • Very informative and very well written. An important article for who loves indian culture, Hope all of us can know and respect our culture. ...Sai Ram to all
    - Pat/Raj
    12th Nov 2007
  • Excellent information, thank you. Many non Indians like myself are interested in the wear so it helps to know about why/when some pieces of jewellery/jewelry are worn. By the way both spellings are correct.
    - Margaret
    7th Oct 2007
  • Response to Preiya
    Correct spelling is JEWELRY... not jewellry. Please correct your word "spelt"...It is spelled!!!!!
    - Boni (gzv31@hotmail.com)
    13th Aug 2007
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    - faeze montazeri
    25th Jun 2007
  • Wonderful article, it helped me so much with homework.

    Sabse mahan kaun hain??
    Hindustan,Hindustan,Mera Mahan Hindustan.

    Great Work guyz, aisi article phele nahi pari
    - Kiari
    5th Jun 2007
  • WOW!!!Nice article, it helped me a lot with my assignment but one problem...

    you spelt jewelry wrong...it's JEWELLERY

    Please fix that but other than that it was a great article

    x|PrIeYa|x
    - Preiya
    5th Jun 2007
  • I enjoyed this article very much. I have found that I am not wearing everything that is mentioned here, but I am trying to be the best wife I can to my husband. Although I am not Indian by birth, I am Indian at heart, and although right now we are in France, we are going back to India next year, as I miss this beautiful country full of tradition and respect. I love my India, Vande Mataram :)
    - ParoVerma
    29th Apr 2007
  • I loved the article it was beautiful and very insightful. Im still curious as to what side of the nose woman should pierce. I guess whatever you feel comfy with. om namo buddhaya...........................
    - griselda
    23rd Jan 2007
  • this article was great. the only thing that could help me understand spiritual jewelry better. thanks!
    - qualia
    18th Jan 2007
  • Wonderful insight to my dear Saudi Arabian/American friend (muslim) who is engaged to an Indian man (muslim). He has been upset lately because he noticed she wasn't wearing her jewelry. He offered to buy her jewelry. He was offended by her so-called subtle indifference to jewelry. I wondered if there was a cultural missunderstanding. I found this site and shared it with her. Now she understands his feelings on the matter and their love is deepend for it. Thank you for this...American Friend
    - nora
    4th Dec 2006
  • A beautiful article that shows that there is nothing 'trivial' or 'superficial' in the feminine culture of self-adornment, raised to its highest level in India. Instead it expresses wisdom at the deepest level.
    - Julie Bick
    12th Nov 2006
  • India is a land of exotic no dobut .. but one that is not just skin deep. It goes much beyond... down to the level of soul.

    Wow.. what an article! I keep coming back to read it.

    - Sucheta
    - Sucheta
    19th Aug 2006
  • kali seney
    - arian
    25th Mar 2006
  • Fantastic article, I liked it very much. I hope to visit India someday, and seeing all you explain in. I enjoyed very much reading it.
    - Olga
    12th Mar 2006
  • Thanks
    - Lee Sullivan
    5th Feb 2006
  • I've been searching for 3 days for references on henna and magic, and stumbled across this page while looking at saris! Thank you so much - this is the BEST reference yet for my workshop.
    - Wolf
    3rd Feb 2006
  • beautifully written and magical to the extend of making me, an Indian culture lover, be able to use what I use, and be aware of the ornaments´value beyond material and beauty aspects.
    Very very interesting and cultural.
    Namaste for the knowledge.
    - Gisela Muller
    4th Dec 2005
  • Again, thank you for enlightenment. I cannot tear my eyes away from the beautiful jewelry, or the equally beautiful artwork in the article on "Women and Jewelry." I make jewelry and I wear it. In the Western culture, we are told to put on everything we think "goes" with our clothing, and then start taking items off until we have the perfect piece. "Less is more."

    I prefer your way of thinking, that each piece signifies something important for that particular part of the body upon which it is worn. I also learned why my husband is so fond of my wearing anklets with bells that constantly tinkle, softly. He can always find me, since we are only two now, in this house where once there were childrens' voices, and someone always knew where "Momma" was and what she was doing. Now, we are alone in the same house, except for a small dog who stays by my side at all time (a Shih Tzu, known for that kind of loyalty), and he "loses" me all the time. So I will continue, winter or summer to wear anklets with bells, because nothing is better than to be found by one's long-time soul mate with a twinkle in his eye.

    I am so grateful for all of the information you send.
    - Selene Schlank
    2nd Dec 2005
  • Awesome. Like, so TOTALLY awesome!!!
    - Sandra
    2nd Oct 2005
  • i love sari
    - Lina kaschitz
    22nd Sep 2005
  • Saree and jewelrys and prices please thank you very much.I'm from Vienna Austria got lot of friends hindi but not easy to find saree and accesoires
    - Lina kaschitz
    22nd Sep 2005
  • I am currently writing a book, and needed information on Indian weddings because I have incorporated many cultures into my writings. This has been a spectacular enlightenment.
    - Adrienne
    2nd Apr 2005
  • It Was exactly the information I was looking for , all in one place, thank you. It was perfect.
    - g
    15th Mar 2005
  • Namaste!, thankyou for the useful information I have definately learned lots from this article, well worth reading. Love, light, peace and truth, Joanna
    - dharmaveda (dharmatherapy@aol.com)
    14th Feb 2005
  • Can I be Christian and Hindu alike? I think so!
    - Diane
    6th Jan 2005
  • thanxxx 4 sharing your knowledge.
    i can add some little extra insight,if i may...

    i heard someone say that the red dot on the forehead has also the power to attract the gaze of the Devil-in case you bump into him during a walk, so that his eyes may get distracted by the red dot so not to look directly into your own eyes.

    when Mehindi is applied to the hands of a woman before her wedding it forces her not to move her hands-and therefore not to do any chores-for at least 12 hours. This is seen as her final gift of freedom before entering her husband world where she will always have some house work to do-along with all the other women of the house- chores that will accompany her for the rtest of her life...
    - mrs love
    24th Nov 2004
  • Thank you for giving the spiritual side of adornments...I am american and have been wearing a few earrings/1 ring all my adult life. Please advise on bangles for very thin wrists, and what to do if one's light pink skin does not look nice in gold. Perhaps lay in sun to get lovely brown skin?
    - Cammy
    13th Oct 2004
  • thank you for shareing your knowledge. it was very insightful and useful information.
    - Marc
    26th Apr 2004
  • this article is just fantastic, i loved it. it helped me understand the meaning of jewelry i like to wear specially those barefoot sandals which we don't have here in brazil, but i'm trying to make some of them. congratulations!
    - cintia ferreira
    24th Apr 2004
  • Fantastic! I am doing a A-Level art exam on rituals and has helped me produce a beutiful final piece! How pround you must be
    - Michelle
    20th Apr 2004
  • Namaste! I cannot thank you enough for this treasure chest of information. I give school presentations in the SF Bay Area and your site gives credibility to as well as helps enrich my material.
    - Mona Vijaykar
    8th Apr 2004
  • i am very proud of my combined indian and muslim heritage.
    - azra
    18th Feb 2004
  • I am very proud of being an Indian and Hindu woman. My culture is very rich and beautiful. This website helped me to learn about the deep meaning of each jewellery and accessories.THANKS!!!
    - Sheetal Srinath
    16th Dec 2003
  • Thank you for sharing all your knowlegde. Impresive, very complete; now I can go on wearing my indian jewelery and answer veryones questions. Pity I dont look Indian !
    - Elena Lopez - Doriga
    23rd Nov 2003
  • one word....MAGICAL!!!!
    - jeanette lopez
    21st Nov 2003
  • Owesome, good job. this article helped me enormously for my research on the beauty of Hindi woman.
    Cheers,
    ACV
    - arely
    20th Nov 2003
  • Thank you, what a wonderful site you have created.
    - Kali Seney
    17th Nov 2003
  • I really enjoyed this article. It was not only informing but vivid to the imagination. Wish I could visit India sometime this year!
    Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat!
    - Jether James
    20th Oct 2003
  • beautifully written and so informative.. makes u appreciate yur indian culture so much more
    - nirvashni rughubir
    10th Oct 2003
  • hello
    - mehrnaz
    29th Jul 2003
  • wonderfully written article
    - tania
    3rd May 2003
  • what a wonderful informative article, being indian i really enjoyed the read and learnt so much. Thank you
    - sunita
    29th Apr 2003
  • Very informative and very well wrotten. An important article for who loves indian culture, like Ido!
    Ricardo Almeida
    - Ricardo Almeida
    24th Apr 2003
  • I love India
    Congratulations! Your articles are truly well done and informative
    - Oddin
    23rd Apr 2003
  • Well done! Scholarly and poetic. You offer excellent research material. Thank you!
    - Avvaiyar Kamari
    1st Apr 2003
  • This is beautiful text. In school I have to writte a project about India's fashions. And more important informacions I have found in this text.
    PS. Pozdrawiam serdecznie wsystkich Polaków i Hindusów!!!
    - Joanna
    26th Mar 2003
  • Thank you so much for these informative articles about Indian culture.
    - Renee
    23rd Mar 2003
  • hello although i am not Indian, i had many questions about the jewlery worn by the Women of India and one of them were the purpose of the Nath (nose ring) I found the information about the Nath to be very informative and fun to read as well as all the others. Thank You.
    - Shaneka (AjaBrown21@aol.com)
    27th Dec 2002
  • Very very infomrative article. Thank you very much....
    - Sajith Kumar
    4th Sep 2002
  • This article like all writen by Nitin Kumar is so well writen, with amazing depth, color of expression, deep emotion, excellent compostion so well covers the subject matter there is nothing more to be desired! Then the illustrations give you even more than ever hoped for! Excellence itself! Namaste!
    - Melody [Pandora] Barragan (DarkSoulPandora@hotmail.com)
    20th Jul 2002
  • Beautifully written and very well composed text !!!
    - Lakshmi Naik
    7th May 2002
  • Thank you for the wonderful articles. I really enjoy reading them.
    - Sherdevi
    19th Mar 2002
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