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MANGALSUTRA The Symbol of Matriony

By Sarabpreet Kaur


By now we are all aware of the significance of mangalsutra in our samaaj, much thanks to the forever-decked-up-in-ethnic-outfits of ladies in television serials! So much so, whenever we think of mangalsutra ki rasam, the scene of a dulha tying the sacred chain around his dulhan’s neck immediately comes up in our mind, complete with some typical music to represent how auspicious this moment is.
It is almost natural that time and again, we find ourselves wondering… What’s the concept of mangalsutra? Why is it significant? Does it vary in design from region to region? What styles are trending these days? Can they be customised to our liking? Well, it seems it is time we explored the revered trinket to find out answers to all these questions.
Mangal means auspicious and sutra means link, chain or thread. So, mangalsutra translates to auspicious thread.


Encapsulating Positivity
Those who assumed that mangalsutra is yet another age-old convention, without any meaningful reason to adorn it, are in for a surprise.
There are usually two strands of black beads in it; one strand represents lord Shiva and the other one the lord’s power. Coming together of these two results in a meaningful consciousness—symbolized by the gold cups at the center of the strands.
Furthermore, the duality, represented by the two chains, implies continuity in life.
It is also believed that the mangalsutra symbolically reflect deities Shiva and Parvati. Apparently, the gold part of the mangalsutra depicts Parvati and the black beads depict lord Shiva.


Regionally Varied
In Marathi, this matrimonial ornament is known as mangal sutra. Thaali is the common name for it, in many South Indian languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu. In Kannada, it is also called mangaluyasutra. Maangalyamu, Mangalasutramu and Pustelu are other names for it in Telugu.
Konkani ladies wear three necklaces, which are known as dhaaremani or muhurtmani; the mangalasutra has one or two gold discs and kasithaali (Goddess Lakshmi pendant) with beads made from gold and coral. In states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, there are two gold discs, in the size of a coin, which are separated by 2-3 different beads. Traditionally, one of these discs come from bride's side and the other one from the groom's family.
“Gujaratis and Marwaris often use designs that incorporate diamond pendants, Maharashtrians wear a pendant that imbibes of one or two vatis (hollow semi-circular bowl), and Bengalis have special coral in the designing of their mangalsutra,” informs jewellery designer Akassh K Aggarwal.


Trendy Tradition
The custom of wearing a mangalsutra may be centuries old but its charm and popularity is unhindered. Vinay Gupta, spokesperson, Shri Ram Hari Ram, shares “Brides-to-be have a craze amongst them to wear a mangalsutra post marriage, even if not daily, then at least on special occasions.”
Talking about the trends, he says, “The older designs of mangalsutra usually involved a gold pendant stringed in black beads but lately, ladies have started to opt for diamond and polki pendants, as they have a contemporary appearance.”
Aggarwal throws light on other popular styles, saying “These days one-stone mangalsutra is in trend. Women love to adorn a single solitaire piece.” He opines, “The design has changed over the years. In previous days, women used to wear relatively simpler designs with gold pendants, but now, the trend is to wear short length ones, and that too with a single string. Instead of gold pendants, they are now preferring diamond ones.”
Summing up the current trend in mangalsutra, Akshay Kothari, director, Hema S. Kothari, says “The trend is to wear short, sleek and single string ones with small designer diamond pendants.”


Personalise It
Gupta informs that generally, mangalsutra is made from “silver and 22 carat yellow gold.” However, he shares “A customer asked us to make a mangalsutra in white gold as the yellow-gold one was not going with her attire. It was a difficult task to do the white gold plating on the black beads. But fortunately, at the end, all went well and the desired mangalsutra was given to the client.”
Women, today, are experimenting a lot to give the managalsutra their personal touch. Kothari say, “They are incorporating a lot of solitaires in the mangalsutra. Combinations of polkis and diamonds are emerging as a huge hit for all kinds of jewellery. We expect a demand for this kind of mangalsutras also in future.”
In fact, mangalsutra can be altered later on to design a more practical jewellery piece. Kothari reminds us that “Shilpa Shetty customized her mangalsutra into a bracelet which was in hype back in 2010.”
The fad of mangalsutra can be seen amongst celebrities as well, who chose to wear the sacred ornament not just on their D-day but also post it. Genelia D’Souza, other than her own wedding was spotted gracefully flaunting her mangalsutra on her brother-in-law’s wedding. Dia Mirza, Shilpa Shetty, Vidya Balan, and other bollywood actresses have been spotted wearing managalsutra not only on their D-day but also post it.
Whether you fall into the league of women who take mangalsutra as one of their daily adornments post marriage or you are among those who like to flaunt them on special occasions, one thing you can rest assured of is that this convention perfectly fits contemporary fashion.


Single-chained or double, having a diamond pendant or the traditional gold one, long or short—no matter what your pick is—consider it a perk of getting married to flaunt this uniquely designed neck-chain. So, what’s stopping you, girl? Get going, start exploring the markets and the pick the piece that you feel looks the best. 

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