Indian bridal-wears are coveted for their gorgeous and richly decorated forms. The grandeur of the attires is supplemented by the diversity that these are available across the different regions in the Indian subcontinent.
While sarees are the common Indian wear for women, the traditional bridal wears show interesting variations according to regions. Lehengas, Salwars, and Ghagras can be found more commonly among Northern and Western brides. A Saree is common for the brides in the East while it gets modified in the North East.
In South India, while the Saree predominates, the style of draping, colour choice and even adornments that modify the look of the saree bring wonderful varieties. Apart from the bridal outfits, the bridal adornments also show beautiful variations along with associated wedding rituals, culture, and ethnicity. All in all, the different types of Indian Bridal wear make it very interesting to take a look into each of them.
The traditional bridal dress is called the ‘Pheran’. The pheran is a combination of Indian and Iranian dressing. The outfit hangs as a loose knee-length kameez with beautiful Ari embroidery over the edges. The bride has to wear an elaborate headgear called the ‘Tarang’. A white cloth turban called ‘Zoojh’ is tied on the bride’s head along with a ‘Kalpush’. The Zoojh is covered with a golden glazed paper. Finally, a beautiful drape of embroidered dupatta covers the head. The bridal Lehenga has heavy Zari and Kashmiri embroidery. Heavy gold jewellery is worn. A unique jewellery called the ‘Dejharoo’ is worn which comprises a pair of small pendants worn through the ear lobes.
A Maharashtrian bride wears a traditional saree called ‘Nauvari’. The saree is usually a bicoloured Paithani with golden pattern border. The bride looks very elegant with the saree being draped in a dhoti style. A characteristic headgear is worn which is called the ‘Mundavalya’—a string of flower or pearls with two dangling ends on the sides of the face. The jewellery is made of gold, pearls and mogra flowers are used for adorning the hair. A crescent shaped nose ring is worn matching the bindi on the forehead.
The dress is a heavily embellished Lehenga or a saree. The Marwari community belonging to this place has heavily decorated bridal attire with gold and silk thread work. The chiffon Dupatta called the ‘Odhni’ is a very important part of the bridal outfit. Tucked to the waist, it covers the head like a veil. It is decorated with hand embroidery. Heavy Kundan and gold jewellery are worn by the bride.
The Gujarati bride wears a ‘Panetar’ for the wedding, which is a bridal saree usually with colours red and white. The saree ‘pallu’ is kept in the front instead of the back. A heavily embroidered dupatta covers the bride’s head. The work on a Panetar can be simple to heavy stone laden decorations. The jewellery is mostly Kundan and gold.
The dress is usually Lehenga Choli with rich embroidery. Red is the usual colour chosen and the dress can be of silk, velvet or crepe. Gold Jewellery adorns the bride with ‘choora’ bangles and ‘bichua’—the toe ring which is very important for a U.P. bride.
The wedding in this region takes place mostly on lines of the Sikh tradition. The traditional wedding dress is a Salwar Kameez or Lehenga. The brides are gorgeously decorated head to toe. The color chosen is mostly red and the entire dress is exquisitely decorated with beads and embroidery. A dupatta covers the head and the jewellery that is worn includes the ‘Ranihaar’—long, ornamental gold necklace, decorated red and white ‘Choora’ bangles, Tika, Nath and most importantly the ‘Kalire’. The Kalire is tied to the Choora. It consists of pretty golden and silver danglings.
The traditional Assamese dress is the ‘Mekhla Chadar’. It is made from silk. The colours used are sobre like white, gold, cream and silver. The bridal make-up and jewellery are kept minimum yet classy. Traditional gold jewellery is worn. The Maangtika worn has traditional Assamese motifs on it.
The traditional Bengali bridal wear is the Benarasi silk saree. Red is the traditional colour, but similar shades are also worn. The saree has beautiful golden Zari work all over. Gold jewellery is worn all over. A white Styrofoam tiara made in traditional design completes the look. Another beautiful part is the use of sandalwood paste and red paint designs painted on the bride’s forehead, cheeks, and chin. ‘Alta’ a red dye is applied on the palm and feet.
The bridal dress is a yellow saree with red borders. Gold jewellery is worn by the bride and similar to Bengal, the bride’s feet are decorated with the red ‘Alta’. A scarf called ‘Uttariya’ is also worn around the saree. Nowadays, brides also choose Lehengas as well.
The Tamil bride wears Kanjeevaram silk sarees in bright colors. The sarees have exquisite Zari borders and golden ‘Buta’ embroidery. The most beautiful adornments of the bride are the jewellery decked on the hair and worn around the waist. The traditional ‘Jadai Nagam’ is worn on the braid of the hair which symbolizes a cobra—standing for fertility. They also wear a beautiful headpiece called ‘Nethi’ bordering the forehead with ‘Maangtika’. The waist belt is called ‘Oddiyanam’ and 2-3 layers of gold necklaces are worn by the bride.
The Telegu brides wear interesting outfits. They have to change their outfits twice for the rituals. During Kanyadaan ceremony, the bride is brought in a basket by her maternal male relatives. At this time she wears a Kanjeevaram saree complete with her bridal jewellery. Next, in the Madhuparkam ceremony, the bride changes into a white cotton saree with a red brocade border. Jewellery consists of gold and pearl.
The bridal dress is a white silk saree with golden border called ‘Kasavu’. They wear gold jewellery but also a lot of floral jewellery. This gives a simplicity and elegance to the bridal dressing. They wear necklace, bracelets, and garlands on the hair of Jasmine and Rajanigandha flowers.
Apart from these regionally diverse bridal outfits, there are also other differences in bridal wears across India. It is indeed fascinating to see bridal beauty in so many flavours.
Image Sources: Girlish, IndianRoots, Pinterest, WiseShe, WedMeGood, StyleCraze, WeddingMantra