The Solah Shringar does literally refer to the 16 adornments steps or stages a bride goes through before the wedding ceremony. It is a social undertaking that is deeply rooted in the Indian culture. The sixteen adornments do correspond with the 16 phases of the moon which in the Indian folklore do have a negative effect on every woman’s menstrual cycle; going through the Solah Shringar does nullify this negative effect. It is thus believed that once a bride goes through this ritual she is cleansed of all the ills that may have been present in her previous life and she is thus reborn; beautiful and clean.The word Shringar is also deeply associated with the Goddess Lakshmi; the goddess is viewed as a model wife who represents fertility, prosperity and good luck. In the Indian culture this beatification will consist of 16 parts and does cover almost every part of the bride’s body; from head to toe. It is thus marked by sixteen items of decoration that include Indian Sarees, Indian jewelry, Indian perfumes etc. The bride is usually taken through this process by her female relatives.The process starts with the bride wearing her wedding dress. These are usually specially made Indian sarees that are strikingly beautiful. The most popular color is red and is usually adorned with Indian jewelry like gold beads and threads. Other bright colors like maroon and green are also quite popular; Selwa kutwar and lehenga complete the first step.Flowers are used to adorn the already styled hair; additional Indian jewelry can also be placed on the hair. Using various make up products the brides face is powdered and lipstick is applied on her lips. Using kajal the bride’s eyes are highlighted to ensure they are appealing and beautiful. Bindi is then placed on the bride’s forehead, red and white dots are used to decorate it and also run along the eye brows. The Bindi is a very sacred symbol for married women.An accessory called Maangtika is the worn on the hair. It is a unique Indian jewelry that is made from gold and is richly mixed with some pearls and diamonds or any other semi precious stone. A nose ring is then worn by the bride; this gives her an ethnic and traditional look. It is usually worn on the left nostril; it is made from gold or diamond. The bride then wears some heavy earrings that are supported by a gold chain that runs across the forehead.Necklaces and chains of different lengths and sizes are then worn. Attention is placed on how they match with the Indian Sarees that the bride’s wear. The necklaces and chains are usually made of gold with diamond or pearl embellishments. During the actual wedding ritual the groom will tie a mangalsutra around the neck of the bride.Over the Indian Sarees blouses, some armlets or baajuband are worn on the upper arms. Mehendi is then applied on the feet and hands of the bride. The bride is then made to wear bangles and bracelets that are made from gold. The bride then wears eight rings in both her hands that are attached with a medallion which covers the upper part of the hand.Kamarband is then used to hold the Indian Saree in place. It is made of gold or silver. The toes are then adorned with silver rings as silver anklets are worn too. The feet are also beautifully decorated. Finally itar which is a fragrance is used to make the bride smell fresh. It is worth noting that most Indian jewelry constitute gold and silver.
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