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solah shringar

What Is Solah Shringar?

The sixteen steps of adorning oneself with bridal jewellery, clothes and other essentials is an integral process almost every bride follows on her special and big day. The beautification process from head to toe has much deeper level of meaning and is an emotional medium for the bride to connect with the onset of her new life as a married woman, with her partner for life as well as with a new family. This ritual denotes that the bride is equated with goddess Lakshmi, who symbolises fertility, prosperity and beauty. The Solah Shringar process is also followed by married women whenever there is an important occasion or event or even festival. In the ancient times, women would always get ready following the Solah Shringar ritual before making any public appearance.

How this ritual evolved?
The mythological association is related to a complete transformation or makeover of a woman. Earlier where daasiis or help would be involved in getting a woman ready to follow the Solah Shringar process, nowadays, the similar practice has moved to salons and parlours where trained professionals enhance the beauty of a woman who is ready to tie the knot. A more customised approach is followed when it comes to the modern-day brides where all the 16 processes may not be followed.

As per the traditions, the Solah Shringar process begins with oiling and washing of the tresses of a woman. After this, the hair is dried and styled as well as tied in a beautiful hairdo, mostly a beautiful bun or adorned plait. The hair is beautified with hair accessories, flowers, etc. Much attention is paid to giving a flawless complexion to a bride by applying a mixture of sandalwood powder, turmeric powder, oil, and gram flour. This is much like the tradition of Haldi, as this mixture is used for body polishing or scrubbing that enhances and brightens a bride's complexion.

16 Different steps-
1. Bindi - A red bindi or kumkum is applied on the forehead between the spaces of two eyebrows. Traditionally, vermilion is used which is in the powder form but sticker bindis are more popular amongst the brides these days.
2. Sindoor - Red vermilion powder is applied by the groom on the bride's hair parting.
3. Maang tikka - An essential accessory for any bride, maang tikka is self-explanatory that says it is meant to adorn the maang or the parting of a woman who is newly married.
4. Kajal - Black kohl is used as this accentuates the beautiful eyes of a bride, making them look more attractive.
5. Nath - This symbolises marital life for a woman.
6. Necklace - The haar symbolises prosperity and wealth. The groom brings a Mangalsutra, a black and gold beaded thread, for his bride and she also wears a separate necklace along with it on the wedding day.
7. Earrings - Very important part of jewellery, a bride must not leave her ears empty as she adorns her ears with stunning earrings or kaanphool styles.
8. Mehendi - Also known as henna, this is applied a day or two days before the wedding day where the bride's hands are decorated with beautiful patterns and designs.
9. Bangles - Choodiyas are meant to adorn a bride's wrists and generally, bride's are gifted heirloom bangles or kadas by their families.
10. Armlets - Bajuband are popularly worn by South Indian and Rajasthani brides, giving them a very royal look.
11. Haathphools - These are worn on both hands by the bride. The haathphools have attached eight rings each, generally decorated with tiny mirrors. In the earlier times, women would keep most of their face covered with a veil and the mirrors reflected their husband's image during the ceremonies.
12. Hair accessories - The design may vary from one region and clan to another but almost every bride wears hair accessories to beautify the look of her hair.
13. Kamarbandh - The waistband is a traditional jewellery item South Indian brides wear without fail.
14. Anklets - These also may vary in the design and style but mostly brides like wearing silver anklets however some might opt for gold ones as well.
15. Rings - Toe rings or bicchuaas are also worn by the brides.
16. Red outfit - The 'shaadi ka joda' or the bridal outfit is a part of the Solah Shringar, and the colours traditionally worn by the brides are red, maroon, pink, peach, and gold. White colour is strictly avoided.