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Women and Jewelry - The Spiritual Dimensions of Ornamentation

Article of the Month - March 2002
Viewed 313160 times since 2nd Oct, 2008

...Continued from Page 1

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The sheer variety of wristlets of India is matchless anywhere in the world. Besides being a mark of a married woman, these have enormous romantic and amorous connotations. Often the Indian poet would indicate a woman pining for union with her husband or lover by bracelets slipping from her wrist due to her becoming thin in the agony of separation from him. The tinkling sound of women's bangles is full of significant messages expressing her presence, her wish for attention, her anger or desire to exchange glances.

An important concept associated with this feminine ornament has been responsible for its continuing popularity. It is a universally accepted idea that bangles identify the wearer as a married woman, reiterating her status as the beloved of her husband and the honored mother of a family. To the Indian woman, ornaments for the wrist have always been significant emblems of marriage. Even when changing bangles, a woman never allows her arm to be completely bare. A simple string or even the end of her sari is wrapped around the arm, until the new set is worn. Undoubtedly, the most popular bangles are those made of glass, worn by women of all classes of society, rich and poor. Girls may also wear them, but, for a married woman, their symbolism makes them a necessity. Generally between eight and twelve glass bangles are worn on each wrist, twenty-four in two matching sets.

Armbands (Baajuband)

The upper arm is the place where amulets strung on a black or red thread are often tied to keep the evil eye away.

Silver Armlet from Jharkhand

 

 

 

It is also the spot where richly decorated armlets are worn. Unlike wristlets, the armlets need to be shaped in such a way that they remain in position through pressure. For this structural requirement, most armlets are made by suspending one or more talismanic pendants on a string or attaching to a strap which can be tightened and knotted as per the wearer's requirement.

 

 

 

 

 

armbandsDepending upon her community and her marital status a woman could wear a single piece of ornament, or cover the entire upper arm, from the elbow to the shoulder, with armlets made up of a variety of materials including gold, silver, ivory or shellac.

Lady with HookahThe use of the armlet is consistent with the Indian aesthetic which believes that anything beautiful must be adorned, or in other words anything unadorned is devoid of beauty. In this view point, the physical form of the female by virtue of being one of nature's most spectacular creations is an ideal playing ground for ornamentation and adornment. Thus the region between the elbow and the shoulder is given a highlighted consequence, making it an important part of the whole which is composed of a fully bedecked woman, according to the canons of the solah shringar. A perfect example of a complete, flawless beauty, if there ever existed one.

Arsi (Thumb Ring with Mirror)

The simple ring was not ignored in the vast array of larger ornament forms. Fingers are believed to function as a medium between the physical body and the spiritual body. Rings thus are an important part of the physio-metaphysical value of jewelry.

Arsi - Thumb RingThe thumb is the king of the palmar kingdom. According to anthropologists, the development of the thumb marked an important step forward in the anatomical and cultural evolution of the human race. In Chinese palmistry the thumb is considered so important, that often the whole character, state of health and future are read from the thumb alone. In Western Classical world the thumb was regarded as sacred to Venus and in hand-gestures it still has a phallic significance.

This special ring with a round format has set in its center a small, usually round but sometimes heart-shaped mirror. The ring part, meant to fit snugly round a thumb, is broad so as to bear the weight of the rest of the piece.

Arsi - Thumb Ring

 

 

Among all the rings worn on the hand, the arsi occupies a special place in a woman's heart, not only because of its impressive size, but because of the function it performs. With the mirror set into it, the young maiden wearing it (most often a bride), can look and check, by just turning the thumb, if all that was adorning her head, or her hair, was in place. Thus this unique piece of jewelry acts as a sentinel over the other ornaments contributing their efforts towards the embellishment of both a woman's physique and psyche. Much delight is associated with this ornament. Understandably, therefore, it features in songs and proverbs; and one comes across it in paintings too.

 

 

 

 

Hair Style (Keshapasharachna)

Hair is regarded in occultism as one of the most extraordinary parts of the body. It belongs to the element of earth as it is solid and tangible; to the element of water since it is free and flowing; to the element of fire since it fed from the furnace of the brain; Bathing a Princessand to the element of air since it is light and can be blown by the wind. Hair is both living, since it grows, and dead since it is without sensibility. It has its own life, grows more rapidly than anything else, and continues to grow after the death of the body. As such it constitutes a link between this world and the next.

Hair is a source of vital strength and magic power. It forms a crown encircling the head, the most sacred part of the body and is full of personal mana. It was a substitute for the whole body, and its sacrifice to the deities was an acceptable surrogate for a human victim. In Byblos in Phoenicia women had the alternative of sacrificing their virginity to strangers in honor of the goddess Ashtart, or shaving the head and offering her their hair.

The hair of women differs from that of men and was supposed to have great attractive power over men and nature. It was a temptation to the male and women were enjoined to visit temples with their hair covered so as not to distract the devout men present in the same place. Indeed witches knew the power that lay in their hair, and tossed their loosened tresses in ritual dances as a love charm, or bent down and shook their hair while uttering a curse! In many places in Europe the bride used to go to her wedding with her hair hanging freely down, but after the ceremony it was either cut a little, to signify the curtailment of her power and independence, or was bound up to symbolize her new responsibility. Letting one's hair down still implies behaving in a free and unrestrained manner.

Elaborate coiffures have been the hallmark of women through every era in Indian history. The ritual of weekly oil bath and the preference for long black tresses still survives in India.

Jasmine Flowers in HairdoOiled, combed and plaited, the hair is adorned with garlands of jasmine buds that bloom in the hair, radiating their heady perfume in a mesmeric spell of seduction.

Arranging the hair in three strands is considered the most auspicious. According to mythology, these three strands of a woman's plait are intended to symbolize the confluence of India's three most venerated rivers - the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the Saraswati - or the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Yet another legend states that one strand represents the father's house, one, the in-laws', and the third is the woman herself who unites the two.

Classical literature is replete with analogies of the swinging, lithe, snake-like form of a long plait. Chandi Dasa, the poet, describes Radha's hair:

"Like stilled lightning fair face
I saw her by the river.
Her hair dressed with jasmine,
Plaited like a coiled snake.
"

Indian Bridal Headgear

 

 

Often the ornamentation is a simplification of the elaborate crown worn by the deities, a further reiteration of a divine association.

Head ornaments are a category of Indian jewels that are fast vanishing. The first to fall prey to the goldsmith's melting crucible, they are now popular largely as part of bridal attire and the traditional ornamentation of classical dancers.

 

 

 

 

Lady from Ajanta

 

 

Kamarband (Ornament That Binds the Waist)

'So tender is her slender waist
It bends when a girdle of flowers is placed
'
-- Tirrukural (South India)

The English word 'cummerbund' and the German 'Kummerband' for waist-band are derived from the Persian kamar, waist, and bandi, a band. The word is prevalent in most northern Indian languages. The immense popularity of waist ornaments is evidenced by a large number of temple sculptures, frescoes and miniature paintings ranging from the Indus valley civilization till today, in an unbroken tradition.

 

The Sadhika, or the Woman Dedicated to Practising Music

 

 

Indians have always found the middle region or midriff of the female sensationally tantalizing. The quintessential garment of the Indian female the sari is designed so as to give a scandalous view of the midriff while preventing from the vision any other significant part of the anatomy.

 

Thus befittingly there exists an impulse to adorn it with an ornament exquisite enough to highlight its seductive allure. Hence came about the waist belt, a graceful extension of the girdle, which serves a dual purpose; it restrains the lower garment in place and is yet another embellishment to the feminine form.

Dances Of India - Kuchipudi

 

 

 

Designed to be held on the hip, it holds together the folds of the sari, especially in situations where women engage themselves in heavy movements like dancing. Its presence is evident in almost every female image throughout Indian history.

The waist ornament is always made up in a manner so as to conveniently hold a bunch of keys. These signify the keys to a fresh bride's new home, and her assumption of a new position of authority, in a domain where her writ runs large. Often it is handed over by the mother in law to the daughter in law, symbolically delivering over the reins to the new generation.

 

 

 

 

Anklet (Payal) and Toe Rings

Vishnupada - the Foot of Vishnu"Hail to that foot of the lusty beloved
which hits the head of the lover, that foot which
is adorned with red paste and jingling anklets
is the banner of love and which is worthy
of adoration by inclining one's head.
"
-- From the 5th century drama, Padataditakam (Hit by the Foot)

Feet are the support of the entire body and therefore accorded great significance. Indeed the foot is the human pedestal, in direct contact with Mother Earth, absorbing vigor from her powerful emanations.

Paradoxically in the Indian tradition, the feet are considered the humblest, most impure, and polluting part of the body, and therefore command respect by those who surrender their ego to the venerable. Humbling oneself by touching the feet of one's elders or prostrating oneself before them or worshipping the feet or sandals of a deity or a holy man are expressions of respect.

It is mentioned in the Ramayana that when Lakshmana was asked if he recognized the jewels recovered in the forest as belonging to his brother's wife Sita, he replied that he recognized neither the armlets nor the earrings. Only the anklets were familiar to him, since his gaze with reverence appropriate to the times, never strayed above Sita's feet.

Krishna adorning Radha with a PayalBy the same token of expression of submissiveness, a lover is often portrayed in art or described in literature as falling at his beloved's feet or admiring them with gentle caresses:

"The hair of the lover, who has fallen at the
feet of his beloved, are entangled in her anklets, which
indicates that he has given up his pride.
"
-- Prakrit Pushkarini

The feet of a nayika, worthy of a lover's affection, are abundantly adorned with anklets. He admires her feet by caressing them as a demonstration of his ultimate devotion to her.

It was in this context that Indian painting, drama, and poetry referred to men treasuring the touch of the foot of their beloved, and women lavishing great cosmetic attention to their feet and adorning them with as much care as they would take to beautify their face. The tender foot then becomes the symbol of affection and sensual desire, and plays an effective role in love-play.

In Sanskrit, the anklet is known as 'nupura,' etymologically the word nupura is connected to antah pura, the female apartments in a palace, which in the ancient times was a mysterious place, holding within itself the promise of a thousand pleasures. Indeed poets imagined that with her every step, the heroine's tinkling anklets beckoned her lover.

The Courtesan

 

 

In a charming aside, it is worthwhile mentioning here that women in some tribes are given foot bells, chains, and tinkling anklets, not only to frighten snakes away when they move outside at night, but in order that their husbands may know where they are when they cannot be seen!

The charm of the heroine's rhythmic swinging of her body and wavy skirt is enhanced by the jingling sounds of the anklets (small tinkling bells are almost always attached to anklets). These sounds inspired Indian poets to describe the motion of a nayika, the heroine in romantic Indian literature, as bewitching and seductive. The association is that she has bedecked herself with the most wonderful jewelry in anticipation of a rendezvous with her lover in a secluded grove.

Dances Of India-Matka Dance (Rajasthan)

 

 

Classical Indian dance too is not untouched by the allure of the anklet. In most Indian dances, rhythmic footwork is one of the most important elements, in combination with gestures of the arms, hands, and eye movements. The various classical texts on dance, such as the Natyashastra, provide elaborate details on the positioning of the foot and its contact with the ground, the toe and ball of the foot touching the ground or only the heels or big toe doing so. The rhythmic stamping of the foot in its various positions generates forth a rich variety of charming harmonies from the anklet, contributing not a little to the overall dance performance, suggesting subtle erotic undertones. 'Music of the ankle bells" is often how the ancients described it.

On a practical level, Amongst tribal women, long tubular bands of brass encircle the ankle all the way up to the calf to protect them against snake bites while walking through long grass.

Anklet with Attached Toe Rings

 

 

 

 

Strictly speaking, golden anklets are forbidden. This is because gold symbolizes Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and it is considered sacrilegious to wear it on one's feet.

Finally on the feet are worn toe rings. Often these may be attached to the payal itself, with chains linking them.

 

 

 

 

 

Perfume (Itra)

"Refine your soul,
Refresh your thoughts,
Recharge your emotions.
"

The legendary reputation of Indian perfumes is upheld if we contemplate the variety of scents manufactured and used throughout the country. All scents are ascribed to divine origin, and it is fairly certain that perfume was prepared in India, as early as the 15th century BC.

Traditionally perfumes made from flowers were preferred, their fragrance complimenting and accentuating the characteristic, sensuous body odor emanating naturally from the female persona. Through the developing centuries, the use of perfume has been raised to a fine art. There are perfumes for different hours of a day, perfumes to suit each dress, fragrances to reflect the personality of different types of women according to their color, build, character, age, and even the sexual drive. The use of certain fragrances is also supposed to heighten the spirit of certain seasons, thus reflecting the moods of nature. For example, there is the haunting, heavy scent which reproduces the smell of the earth after rain; a fecund, earthy, fleshy and carnal essence, confirming the identification of women with Mother Earth. Another known as kasturi is subtly conducive to rest in the tense, heavy Indian summer. It is believed to go with yellow and orange robes, and evokes the proper mood of love for a newly wedded couple. Similarly the scent of saffron (kesar) is intoxicating in the extreme and evokes an ecstatic response like that produced by the heady influence of wine.

The Indian woman applies her perfume discreetly and cunningly, to her clothes, the lobes of her ears, her eyebrows, the palms of her hands, and other parts of her body with an artful expedience. This exercise requiring ingenuity is one which gives expression to her true character.

The Bridal Dress

The Maiden

 

'When in your floating robe,
Woven with red silk and golden,
In your floating robe
Held around your hips
By a broidered belt,
Showing all curves
Of your reckless body
You pass me by,
I feel come to me
A wild and mad desire.
'
- - From the Burmese of Asmapur, 19th century, AD.

The ancient sculptures of Sanchi, Amravati, and Khajuraho show the Indian woman's robe to be light and falling in beautiful free folds from the hips, to below the knees. There are no unhealthy, restrictive collars, and nothing to impede the free circulation of blood. The dress facilitates free body movement. This dressing tradition continues to the present day.

The bridal dress has a quasi-sacred status. It is nearly always of a deep red color.

Red is considered auspicious because it has several emotional, sexual and fertility-related qualities, making it a suitable color for brides. It also signifies the virginal status of the bride. Indeed in some traditions, the nuptial bed is inspected after the first night for traces of blood, which confirm that the lady in question was a virgin before marriage. In India it is stressed that virginity should be a gift from a wife to her husband on their first night together.

Hand Woven Paisley Sari with Embroidery All Over from Banaras

 

 

 

 

Further highlighting its import is the weighty embroidery embellished with various motifs and metaphors all emphasizing the fertility symbolism and vegetative associations, linked to creation and growth.

Indian Bridal Dress

 

 

 

Sometimes minutely ornamented all over, the view of a new, bedecked bride draped in this garment, colored the color of passi on, is a breathtaking one.

The bridal garment is without exception extremely rich in all aspects, reiterating the significance of this momentous event in the life of an individual.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

The MaidenOf a richly sensuous disposition, the ancient people of India insisted that their sensuality be refined with thought:

'In restless brow and twinkle of the eye,
In smiling modesty and gentle tones,
In graceful gait and posture, woman owns
A beauty parlor and an armory
'
- - Bhartihari (c. 600 AD)

Indeed woman is beauty at its active and sportive best. The ancients found in a woman's walk the same majestic yet lithe and graceful rhythm as in the steps of a peacock. In the playfulness of a young maiden was discovered the charm of a deer leaping across a jungle stream. An alert woman, with her necklaces resting on her full breasts, was compared to a sloping hill with a sunlit cascade coursing down its sides.

It was believed that just a woman beautifies her home so should she her body. Such a combination was supposed to invite blessings and prosperity from the gods.

If it is true for humans that to beautify the mind is to beautify the body, the converse is equally true: to beautify the body is to beautify the soul. Creative Indian psychology nurtured a positive attitude. The desire to cultivate physical beauty was not considered shameful and superficial. The philosophers of love, like Vatsyayana in the Kama Sutra, advise that the art of makeup be practiced as a ritual. Even the 'plainest' woman adorns herself, she doe not resign herself to her fate that either one is beautiful or not, and there is the end to it.

The essential significance of the above exegesis can be summed up in the fact that in the canons of Indian art, whenever a lady was represented in the nude, i.e. without any trace of clothing, her glorified physical form always carried the same weight of jewelry which she would have worn, when fully clothed.

Thus rightly said A.K. Coomarswamy, noted authority on Oriental Art:

"One needs to be an Indian woman,
born and bred in the great tradition,
to realize the sense of power that
such jewels as earrings and anklets
lend their wearers; she knows
the full delight of swinging jewels
touching her cheek at every step,
and the fascination of the
tinkling bells upon her anklets
"

It is reassuring and pleasurable to observe that these traditional values are still held valuable in the India of today.


References and Further Reading

  • Alamkara (5000 years of Indian Art); Published by National Heritage Board, Singapore, in association with Mapin Publishing, India, 1994.
  • Anand, Mulk Raj. The Book of Indian Beauty: New Delhi, 1993.
  • Bajpai, Rajendra. The Eye in Art: New Delhi, 1991.
  • Bala Krishnan, Usha R., and Kumar, Meera Sushil. Dance of the Peacocok (Jewellery Traditions of India): Bombay, 2001.
  • Cudlipp, Edythe. Jewelry: New York, 1980.
  • Goswamy, B.N. Piety and Splendour: The Sikh Heritage in Art (Exhibition catalogue): New Delhi, 2000.
  • Jain-Neubauer, Jutta. Chandrika (Silver Ornaments of India): New Delhi, 2001.
  • Jain-Neubauer, Jutta. Feet and Footwear in Indian Culture: The Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto in association with Mapin Publishing, India, 2000.
  • Lynton, Linda (Photographs by Sanjay K. Singh). The Sari: New York, 1995.
  • Paine, Sheila. Embroidered Textiles (Traditional Patterns from Five Continents): London, 1997.
  • Tresidder, Jack. The Hutchinson Dictionary of Symbols: Oxford, 1997.
  • Untracht, Oppi. Traditional Jewelry of India: London, 1997.
  • Walker, Benjamin. Encyclopedia of Esoteric Man: London, 1977.
  • Zimmer, Heinrich. The Art of Indian Asia; Its Mythology and Transformation (two vols.): Delhi, 2001.

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  • who is the publisher of this website?
    by bri on 25th Feb 2016
  • Perhiasan yang sangat indah, inilah sebuah keajaiban perhiasan dari india semoga tetap dilestarikan
    by Andang Resmana on 27th Dec 2011
  • Jewelry is very beautiful, this is a miracle jewelry from india may still be preserved
    by Andang Resmana on 27th Dec 2011
  • I found the information simply enchanting & relevant.
    Namaste,
    Jeanette
    by Jeanette on 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.
    by ashwathi on 22nd Jul 2009
  • wow..this really helped me out with my english project.. i read an indian book called "keeping Corner" and i had to do a project about the culture of india and this web helped me out alot.

    thanks alot
    by naz on 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
    by Esperanza on 6th Mar 2009
  • man dar danshkade dramatik bodam
    by saeid azarmgin on 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.
    by Susmita on 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.
    by Maggie (maggiejoh2005@aol.com) on 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

    by steph kexel on 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!
    by Amanda on 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
    by antoinette Botsford (Storybeads) on 1st Jul 2008
  • helped me a lot with my FPS homework!!!
    bIG TIME SAVER
    by kevin on 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.
    by Sailaja Hari (sailajahari@hotmail.com) on 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
    by Pat/Raj on 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.
    by Margaret on 7th Oct 2007
  • Response to Preiya
    Correct spelling is JEWELRY... not jewellry. Please correct your word "spelt"...It is spelled!!!!!
    by Boni (gzv31@hotmail.com) on 13th Aug 2007
  • catalog goyeli indiani
    by faeze montazeri on 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
    by Kiari on 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
    by Preiya on 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 :)
    by ParoVerma on 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...........................
    by griselda on 23rd Jan 2007
  • this article was great. the only thing that could help me understand spiritual jewelry better. thanks!
    by qualia on 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
    by nora on 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.
    by Julie Bick on 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
    by Sucheta on 19th Aug 2006
  • kali seney
    by arian on 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.
    by Olga on 12th Mar 2006
  • Thanks
    by Lee Sullivan on 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.
    by Wolf on 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.
    by Gisela Muller on 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.
    by Selene Schlank on 2nd Dec 2005
  • Awesome. Like, so TOTALLY awesome!!!
    by Sandra on 2nd Oct 2005
  • i love sari
    by Lina kaschitz on 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
    by Lina kaschitz on 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.
    by Adrienne on 2nd Apr 2005
  • It Was exactly the information I was looking for , all in one place, thank you. It was perfect.
    by g on 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
    by dharmaveda (dharmatherapy@aol.com) on 14th Feb 2005
  • Can I be Christian and Hindu alike? I think so!
    by Diane on 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...
    by mrs love on 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?
    by Cammy on 13th Oct 2004
  • thank you for shareing your knowledge. it was very insightful and useful information.
    by Marc on 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!
    by cintia ferreira on 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
    by Michelle on 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.
    by Mona Vijaykar on 8th Apr 2004
  • i am very proud of my combined indian and muslim heritage.
    by azra on 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!!!
    by Sheetal Srinath on 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 !
    by Elena Lopez - Doriga on 23rd Nov 2003
  • one word....MAGICAL!!!!
    by jeanette lopez on 21st Nov 2003
  • Owesome, good job. this article helped me enormously for my research on the beauty of Hindi woman.
    Cheers,
    ACV
    by arely on 20th Nov 2003
  • Thank you, what a wonderful site you have created.
    by Kali Seney on 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!
    by Jether James on 20th Oct 2003
  • beautifully written and so informative.. makes u appreciate yur indian culture so much more
    by nirvashni rughubir on 10th Oct 2003
  • hello
    by mehrnaz on 29th Jul 2003
  • wonderfully written article
    by tania on 3rd May 2003
  • what a wonderful informative article, being indian i really enjoyed the read and learnt so much. Thank you
    by sunita on 29th Apr 2003
  • Very informative and very well wrotten. An important article for who loves indian culture, like Ido!
    Ricardo Almeida
    by Ricardo Almeida on 24th Apr 2003
  • I love India
    Congratulations! Your articles are truly well done and informative
    by Oddin on 23rd Apr 2003
  • Well done! Scholarly and poetic. You offer excellent research material. Thank you!
    by Avvaiyar Kamari on 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!!!
    by Joanna on 26th Mar 2003
  • Thank you so much for these informative articles about Indian culture.
    by Renee on 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.
    by Shaneka (AjaBrown21@aol.com) on 27th Dec 2002
  • Very very infomrative article. Thank you very much....
    by Sajith Kumar on 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!
    by Melody [Pandora] Barragan (DarkSoulPandora@hotmail.com) on 20th Jul 2002
  • Beautifully written and very well composed text !!!
    by Lakshmi Naik on 7th May 2002
  • Thank you for the wonderful articles. I really enjoy reading them.
    by Sherdevi on 19th Mar 2002
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