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The Brides Forehead ornament

By Sanhati Banerjee

The ingenious little stringed beauty, the maangtika is a timeless indian hair accessory, placed mostly on the bride’s hairline. It is accentuated with a drop pendant that gracefully adorns the forehead. Apart from being an integral part of the solah-shringar of a bride, this piece of jewellery is commonplace in various states of india and is worn variously by women of different cultures. Here’s an update on its various styles and how-to-wear it tips. By jagjot saini

The maangtika in India is an integral part of a bride’s jewellery, which is a magnificently crafted ornament placed on her forehead especially for her wedding. Maangtika, according to tradition is not just an adornment but it symbolizes unification of the bride and the groom for the rest of their life. A golden maangtika is essentially a beautifully designed pendent attached to a chain that has a hook at the other end to hold it in place. The tika is held on the forehead, exactly at the place where it sits on the agya-chakra or the sixth chakra of the bride that stands for preservation and control of emotions and concentration.
Diverse Spins
The styles of maangtika range from very simple to the ornate ones. They come in various shapes and sizes generally embellished with precious and semi-precious stones in various art forms like kundan, polki, and filigree with or without traces of meenakari. Traditions and styles of maangtikas differ among various communities in India across varied geographical locations, religious and cultural nuances. While for a Hindu bride, the maangtika is in the form of a pendant, which dangles on the centre of the forehead; on the other hand, a Muslim bride adorns her hair with a jhoomar-style-maangtika. According to Ishu Datwani, founder, Anmol Jewellers, “The latest trend is that of wearing a more contemporary version of the maangtika with an elaborate mathapatti, which is set with diamonds, uncut diamonds and pearls. Even jhoomars embedded with a fusion of diamonds like yellow diamonds and uncut diamonds have become very popular these days.”
The maangtika is one of the rare versatile pieces of classic jewellery as you can wear it with a saree or lehenga or you can team it with a little black dress for bohemian chic appeal. There are a few styles to choose from. North Indians customarily wear a kundan or jadau-encrusted tika while women from South prefer a tika crafted with rubies and pearls. In Rajasthan, one will often see a maangtika with a round centre and three strings - often embellished in gold with rubies and emeralds.
• Flat Pendant Style: This is the most common type, which is particularly popular in the north India. It is meant to suit a number of occasions, including weddings and festivals. The pendant can be a simple design of gold or be decorated with a colourful work of kudan, pearls or diamonds.
• Matha Patti: Another type of maangtika is the mathapatti which is particularly designed for the brides. This heavy piece consists of two extra ornate chains on each side, which adds glitter.
Bor/Borlaas: Worn by Rajput women, the traditional Rajasthani maangtika resonates of age-old tradition. Even today, it is common to see a married Rajasthani woman wearing this as a regular wear ornament. However, this spherical maangtika is a little difficult to handle and takes time getting used to.
Multi-Layered Side Panels: Essentially a bridal wear, this style is popular in the southern part of India. An intricately designed maangtika with multiple side panels goes perfectly with a veil-less appearance.
Jhoomar: This is a fan shaped ornament placed on the side of the hair unlike the other types of maangtikas. Gold and pearls are mainly used to design this unusual style of jhoomar. Jhoomar quintessentially is meant to be adorned by Muslim brides, though now it is worn by choice by women of other communities as well who want to look a bit different.
Tilki-Tairaa: The Bengali tairaa had been incorporated in the bridal trousseau to tie up the veil. A tairaa is a combination of a mangtika and a tiara. Tikli is a traditional Bengali forehead ornament worn by Bengali brides on the middle parting of her hair, are laced with a string of pearls and studded with a precious stone or beautiful gold design incorporated with excellent craftsmanship. Aishwarya Rai had famously worn the traditional butterfly tairaa in the film Chokher Bali.
Not Just for Brides
Until a few years back the trend of wearing a maangtika was confined to brides during the wedding ceremony. It completed her bridal look when worn in the centre parting of the hair. Today, not only brides but girls and young women who attend bridal functions or festivals have started wearing a maangtika as a piece of jewellery coordinated with their nose-pin, chokers or even cuffs. According to Sumit Sawney from Apala by Sumit, “Head ornamentation has always played an important role for women from tribal communities to the royal households and for women from different regions and communities. Maangtikas have become a major trend now, and people are experimenting with them and going contemporary too.”
Coordinating the Maangtika
Maangtika is one piece of jewellery along with nath or the nose-pin which has caught the fancy of global fashionistas. It is not an uncommon scene to spot this gorgeous piece of Indian tradition sizzle many ramps across the globe. And why not — it is a cracker of a combination when worn together with a maangtika. As Sumit Sawney, designer, Apala by Sumit says “Pairing depends on the occasion, time, and mood. If it is a casual occasion then just go for a diamond nose pin or ring. A big round nose ring or an ethnic nath would look good for a formal occasion like wedding or a related ceremony.”
If you are planning to flaunt that piece of trinket, but a little unsure then shed your inhibitions; maangtika is the ‘in’ thing not just for your weddings. This symbol of traditional elegance generally goes well with ethnic dresses, but it can also be carried well with fusion as well as Western attires. “Maangtikas usually go well with an ethnic saree or a lehenga, whereas jhoomar looks good with an Anarkali dress. Maathapatti is usually worn with a bridal outfit. It can also be paired with Indo-Western dresses and gowns, especially the one with delicate mathapatti, which gives a very Grecian look” adds Ishu Datwani of Anmol Jewellers.
So, if you are still wondering whether you should purchase an expensive maangtika that you may not be able to wear often; fret not! Its versatile character allows you to wear it with a simple thin gold chain as well as a stunning pendant! So go ahead and flaunt your maangtika wherever and whenever!
Choose your maangtika according to your features and face cut; the worst mistake would be to go in for oversized ones for a small face; your maangtika should be the focal point. You can also accessorise your maangtika in varied ways and do a lot of experimentation with it by opting from funky-to-very-suave styles.
You can go for a chain maangtika worn in a way of wearing a sleek crown style or a diamond band style; this will be the best hair accessory which is very versatile.
Use maangtika as a side paassa or side string. These days Rajputana borlas are also very popular; you can wear them with long skirts, sarees or even with Western outfits.
Inputs by Sumit Sawney, designer, Apala by Sumit

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