Uttarakhand’s Traditional Jewellery- An Expression of Eminence For A Woman

on March 18, 2020

Traditional jewelry of UttarakhandIf you are a woman and an admirer of ethnic jwellery, then yes we are on the same page! No matter how beautiful and expensive your dress is, its incomplete without jwellery. Since India is home to several cultures, the dressing, jwellery and lifestyle varies for every tribe. This time we explored Uttarakhand, our beautiful mountain state, in quest of the types of traditional jwellery prevalent here. The gold and silver jewellery, from the Pahadi state,  are mysteriously attractive in their own ways. But, nowdays the craze for traditional jwellery has come to a standstill, as the women have started opting for modern jwellery because of their light weight, affordability and less awareness about these beautiful ornaments.

Love for Jewellery is Eternal 

Jewellery has been an important adornment since time immemorial. It has been credited not only with beautifying one’s personality but also as an important exhibitor of one’s social status. It has never lost its significance, not even for once. Since India is a land of several cultures and traditions, it has witnessed the relevance of jewellery especially gold and silver. Our ancient history has accounts where gold and silver were considered to be the symbols of purity, whereas diamond was considered to be a status symbol.  Not only the people belonging to royal families but even the common man used to adorn it as a part of his attire.

With time men’s interest in ornaments has faded, still bracelets, chains and studs are adorned as per the latest trend. In case of women, the love for jewellery is eternal, her every look is complimented with some or the other piece of ornament. Be it a simple earring or a pendant, an elegant bracelet or a stylish anklet, jewellery takes a woman’s confidence to another level. Some ornaments like the Mangalsutra, toe rings, bangles etc are jewels of a married woman. Every state of our country has different culture, lifestyle, attire and jewellery.

Traditional Jewellery of Uttarakhand

This time we are exploring Uttarakhand- The land of Gods, in quest of the types of traditional jewellery prevalent here. There are several tribes like Tharus, Buxa, Rajis, Bhotia etc wearing different designs of jewellery. Necklaces that assembles coins is an ornament common among all the tribes of the state. One more common piece of ornament is the nose stud except the Jaunsari and the Khampa females.

And the list goes on…

Nathuli

The most worn jewellery of the state, Nathuli is a pearl studded nose ring. Though it is worn by almost all the tribes of Uttarakhand and its designs vary from region to region, Tehri Nath of the Garhwal region is the most captivating because of its size. Nath worn on left nostril in both Kumaon and Grahwal regions of Uttarakhand are beautifully crafted in a moon like design and is sometimes paired with a chain which goes behind the ears. It can be light or heavy according to the occasion it is worn. This beautiful form of ornament is very popular among brides. The most common theme given to Nath is a trimmed peacock. The kundan work adds to the traditional value to the ornament. Nath is an important part of Kumaoni women’s attire.

In older times, the weight of the Nath and the number of pearls inserted in it used to determine the status of the family, but with the change in time, this does not stand true. However, even today many  brides in Uttarakhand love to wear king size heavy design Nath on their wedding day, while many find small-size Nath more attractive. 

Chareu 

A very important ornament among the married Pahari women is the Chareu Mangalsutra. Chareu are black beads that are beaded in a gold chain. A chain without Chareu beads is insignificant and has no religious value. The Chareu Mangalsutra is the jewel of a married woman, as it is a symbol of love and devotion of a wife towards her husband, and signifies her prayer for the well-being of her husband. Pahari women prefer chareu and gold beads beaded in a 24 karat gold chain.  

Galobandh

As the name suggests Galobandh is a neckpiece adorned by married Pahari women. Galobandh is like modern day choker, with red velvet patua as its back that prevents the neck from kind of cut or bruises. Its origin lies in the Kumaon culture but it is also popular among Jaunsari, Bhotia and Garhwali women. It is traditionally designed by arranging gold square blocks on a red belt with the help of a thread. The appearance is conventional, thus making it popular mostly among the rural Pahari women.

With the influence of fashion on the pahari women, the red velvet patua can be see replace with black. However, the red patua is the one that has the traditional and culture significance. 

Hansuli

Another prominent neckpiece which is common among the Garhwal women is Hansuli also known as Khagwali. It is crafted in both gold and silver with intricate designs. The key feature which gives it a traditional appearance is its weight and the way it clutches around the neck. Like Galobandh, Hansuli is adorned mostly by the rural Garhwali women.

Kundals and Balis

Kundals also go by other names such as Munad, Murkhli, Munda, Balli etc. These are gold or silver earrings and are crafted in different shapes and designs. The local crafters showcase their creativity by setting gemstones in these Kundals, thus enhancing their look. Balis are big loop shaped gold earrings common among Pahari women. The designs are such that even the simplest version creates a unique impression on an individual’s mind.

Dhagulu and Paunchi

Dhagulu are silver bangles popular among the Kumaoni women. Usually older women prefer this piece of ornament. Paunchi is a beautiful bracelet in which three rows of pure conical gold pearls are arranged on a red cloth. Adorned by married women this amazingly crafted jwellery are my personal favourite.

Pauje

This ornament is popular in the Kumaon, Garhwal and Jaunsar region. Pauje is a special anklet crafted in a web like pattern accentuated by motifs and ghungroos. The metal used is usually silver or copper enhancing its traditional value.

Bichhuwaas

Bichhuwas are silver toe rings that are worn by Kumaoni, Garhwali, Bhotiya and Jaunsari women in Uttarakhand. These toe rings are beautifully crafted with Indian motifs, petals, peacocks and flowers. Right from the day of her wedding, the married women wear these silver toe rings to symbolize her married state. 

Bulaq 

Bulaq has its origin in the Kumaon, Garhwal and Jaunsar region. This age old ornament is worn at the nasal septum. Its heavy and has a very traditional appearance.  It is crafted with intricate granulation and filigree work and is religiously considered to be worn by the married women of the area.

Chandrahaar

Common among the Shauka Bhotiya tribe of Uttarakhand, Chandrahaar is a necklace in which few fine chains made of star shaped silver beads are assembled into one. It looks very traditional and also has potential to attract females across India.

Mooge ki Maala

Necklace made from coral beads is called Mooge ki Mala. This piece of ornament has also lost its significance among the modern women of the state who prefer latest fashionable jewellery.

Wrapping Up 

There are several other jewellery items which are important exhibitors of Uttarakhad’s colourful culture. Munri or the gold/silver rings, Ginaal a word used for thick anklet, Fuli which is a clove shaped nose pin, Khongle a collared necklace are some of the ornaments which gives traditional value to the culture of the state. It is very important to revive these ornaments so that their legacy is not lost in the pages of history. Bigtokari attempts to bring you close to the heritage of the beautiful state of Uttarakhand.

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