Jewellery from Himachal Pradesh in India

Like other tribal communities in India, the traditional style of clothes as well as dressing in Himachal Pradesh includes ornaments for all parts of the body. Himachal Pradesh used to be ruled by Rajputs and therefore the jewellery designs often include the traditional Rajasthan style of Meenakari (enameling done on gold and silver). Deep blue and green colours were used frequently in enamellings.  Over the years, the traditional Rajasthan designs got influenced by Tibetan designs and local flora and fauna.

The jewellery of Himachal Pradesh is quite unique. Elliptical anklets, solid iron-headed bangles, hair ornaments, peepal-leaf-shaped forehead ornaments, and pendants with motifs of the mother goddess are some of the exquisite pieces Himachal Pradesh is famous for.

Shringar-patti is worn on forehead and it includes a fringe worn on either side of the face, consisting of a star or geometrical shaped pieces linking to each other. Hung from it are pipal leaves or stars or drops. There are also moon or crescent shaped plaques sometimes enameled, suspended on to the middle forehead.

IndianBIjou_Jewellery_Himachal Pradesh

Shringar Patti

Chudamani is a head ornament designed in lotus shape, worn by parting the hair. Kangan is a bangle which looks thin and plain in its shape, but broadens towards the two ends and is engraved into heads of tigers or elephants etc. Necklace called choker or kach is formed by many silver beads and two triangular silver plaques. Women in Gaddi district also wear a silver forehead jewelry called chiri-tikka. Chiri means bird in the local language.

An interesting ornament is worn by married women of Kinnaur. It is called khul-kantaie and consists of several, often a couple of dozen, large earrings worn hanging down from the hair over the ears mounted on a strap of cloth. Another special ornament here is digra, a decorated shawl pin consisting of a silver plaque with fine carving on it and a silver chain to connect the two opposite corners of the digra. Another amazing ornament is mulmentho, multi-joined chains with numerous pipal leaf shaped pendants.

IndianBijou_Jewellery_Himachal Pradesh

Mulmentho

Chandramalang is a coin necklace that is tremendously well-liked by Pahari women. Chokers called kach, made of silver beads and triangular plaques and the collar-like hansali, are quite common. All women wear heavy anklets, bangles and silver bracelets or kare, solid or filled with shellac. These are usually seen in the shape of crocodile or lions heads.

In the Tibetan influenced Lahaul-Spiti, ornaments are studded with semi-precious stones like coral, turquoise, amber and mother-of-pearl.  Women of Spiti region also wear silver shawl fibula which has three circular forms symbolizing the three gems of Buddhism.

IndianBijou_Jewellery_Himachal Pradesh

Fibula

Chak ornament is worn on head. It is a silver domed top-of-head ornament which has a dozen varieties: where several round beads are hung at the edge with silver chains it is chak-boron-wala; when coloured enameling is done on it it becomes chak-meenawala; when two additional side-of-head domes are linked to the main chak it is chak-phul. This ornament is normally isn’t visible as it is covered by a head cloth.

Most of the older designs are no longer seen in today’s world but can be seen in museums like the Kangra Art Museum in Dharamsala, the State Museum in Shimla and the Bhuri Singh Museum in Chamba.
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