The Mangalsutra is one of the most common and most important jewellery items in India. It’s popularity and place in our culture exists because of its link with the Hindu marriage system. In every Hindu marriage it’s tied around the neck of bride by the groom. But what is it that formed this tradition? What is the thing that makes mangalsutra significant enough to be made a mandatory part of Hindu weddings? In this article we’ll try to get the answer to these questions.
Basically a mangalsutra is nothing but a beaded necklace made of gold and black beads with a pendant included in it. The pendant itself may be of diamond or gold depending on the choice of buyer, but the remaining part is largely made of gold in a Caratlane gold mangalsutra. Originally it used to be nothing more than a black thread dyed with turmeric, but later it evolved as a necklace of black and golden beads. Its name is a combination of two different words – Mangal, which means auspicious, and Sutra, which means thread. So it’s an auspicious and sacred thread that’s worn by the women for entire lifespan of their husband. And that is because it’s a symbol of marital dignity. By tying it to the neck of a bride the groom promises her that he will always be with her. It depicts that promise.
But besides that a mangalsutra is also known to achieve other important things in the lives of couples. It’s believed that a gold mangalsutra, like other pieces of gold jewellery, keeps the evil forces away from married couple and brings them more prosperity and peace.
When it’s tied around the neck of a woman in marriage, the priest utters 3 mantras in Sanskrit, which roughly translate into following meaning:
“This sacred thread is responsible for the wellbeing of my life. You are the one having many auspicious qualities. I am tying this thread around your neck with the hope that you live hundred long years with me”.
Traditionally, the Mangalsutra is also tied with 3 knots, each of which has a special meaning. First knot denotes everlasting loyalty to the husband. Second knot denotes devotion to his family, and the 3rd one denotes a prayer to the god for well-being of husband and protection of this love bond. And while the first knot is tied by the groom, the other two are usually tied by his sister as a symbol of acceptance. The woman then keeps her mangalsutra in the neck for as long as her husband is alive.
Nowadays this auspicious and sacred piece of bridal jewellery has also become a fashion statement, thanks to the large number of designs and TV shows which have contributed to this change in mindset. Therefore, a mangalsutra is an inseparable part of married woman’s jewellery.