Our country has been blessed with a rich and diverse culture dating back aeons. Each region has their own cultural heritage that has been passed down generations. A marriage ceremony would differ in myriad ways as you move across the country. From the rituals to ceremonies, from the food to outfits, even the jewellery the bride wears would be different. In essence, two souls join to journey through life together but are blessed by the rituals and traditions of the specific region.
Indian weddings are known for decking out brides in sparkling jewellery sets. However, the reason for this goes beyond charm; it is an ancient tradition dating back at least 5000 years. Indeed, every subculture has its own set of traditional bridal jewellery.
Tamil brides have been blessed to adorn temple jewellery for their marriage ceremonies. These gold pieces are inspired by various Gods and Goddesses beautifully crafted with precious stones. A symbol of having the union blessed by the holy powers along with the beauty of the precious metals. Matched with a delightful kanjeevaram sari, a Tamil bride is a vision to behold!
Let’s look into what makes the bridal jewellery set for a Tamil bride!
Traditional Tamil Wedding Jewellery Essentials
Thalai Saman is a set of several ornaments that adorn the bride’s head. It includes the Netti Chutti/Vagpu Chutti; a long gold chain with a locket encrusted with gems in the centre. It rests on the forehead and along the hair parting. Along with this, there are the Suryapirai and Chandrapirai, symbolising the sun and the moon respectively on either side of the hair parting. These are made of antique or yellow gold with kemp stones, rubies, and other precious stones.
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There is the Rakkadi, that holds the hair bun in place. Finishing off the head adornments is the Jadanagam, which is interwoven with the plait and is made of flowers and gold.
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An intricate and detailed nose ring studded with precious gems or pearls. It can be a stud of single gemstone or uncut diamond. Besari is an elaborate design containing several stones. And a Bullaku adds a chain that hangs over the bride’s cupid’s bow.
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The Kaluthiru is the mangalsutra of the jewellery set. It can either be a string of small black beads or a solid gold necklace with a locket in the centre. The locket design can vary according to the rituals and rites followed by the family. More often than not, the design pays homage to Goddess Lakshmi.
Mulla Muttu Maalai
This is a long piece of gold necklace that is considered highly auspicious. It usually has a spike design and most Tamil brides wear at least two-three, signifying it as the Lakshmi haram seeking the Goddesses’ blessing for the union.
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Vanki is armlets that are V-shaped, mostly, and have a design in the centre with delicate carved flora and fauna on the sides.
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These are heavy bangles made from gold and embellished with precious stones.
A Tamil bride wears an intricately crafted ring, mothiram, that is often studded with multiple gems and follows traditional design patterns. The groom also may wear a similar ring.
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Shaped like a bell, the earrings are versatile, and can also feature chain extensions. It is made of rubies, gold, emeralds, and pearl.
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This piece of jewellery stands out from the rest: the gold waistbelt that all Tamil brides must wear. It defines the bride’s figure as well as holds her sari in place. With temple motifs and precious stones, it gives an ethereal look to the bride.
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An anklet made of silver. Tamil tradition deems it inauspicious to wear gold below the belt, so the anklet is made of sterling silver and adorned with tiny bells and embellishments.
A traditional silver toe-ring that is often gifted to the bride by the in-laws to signify her married status.
A Tamil bride's wedding jewellery set is extensive labour of love and traditions that have held on for millennia. The entire ensemble makes for a gorgeous bride!