Today I want to write about tribal jewelry of another region of India, Himachal Pradesh. This area is inhabited by the Buddhist of Lahul and Spiti, the Hindu Gujjar and Bakarwal nomads, and the Hindus of Kullu and Chamba. Designs of many ornaments here is of Indian origin mingled with those of Tibet. Many jewelry motifs are inspired by nature: a flower of lotus, leaves of a pipal tree, a tiger's head.
One of the most popular ornament in Himachal Pradesh is a head ornament. The most common one is the bindi which has a central pendant hanging from the parting of the hair and silver chains extending on both sides upto the ear. A set of attractive items for the forehead is called shringar-patti. 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.
Mulmentho ornament. photos from here
Gujjar woman wearing sirka chamkuli. Photo from here
A woman from Chamba, chirri-tikka on her forehead. Photo from here
A woman from Lahaul-Spiti region. Photo source
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 amazing side-of-face ornament is mool-u or mulmentho, multi-joined chains with numerous pipal leaf shaped pendants. Also a special ornament here is digra, a decorated shawl pin consisting of a parallelogram silver plaque with fine carving on it and a silver chain to connect the two opposite corners of the digra. Women of Spiti region also wear silver shawl fibula. The three circular forms of it symbolize the three gems of Buddhism.
Women from Kinnaur. Photo source
Himachali silver fibula. Photo from here
One typical for Himachal Pradesh necklace is a choker called kach composed of several silver beads and two triangular shaped silver plaques. A coin necklace chandramalang is also popular in this region. Buddhist women as those in Tibet wear amulet containers gau of various shapes, sizes (some are really large) and designs, mostly in silver but golden one also can be seen.
Typical Himachali bangle is called kangan, it is thinner and plainer in the middle but widens towards the two ends which are engraved into heads of crocodiles, tigers, elephants. In Chamba the middle part of the bangle is twisted together to make it into a creeper and is called gokhru after a local thorny plant.
A woman from Lahaul-Spiti region wearing a silver shawl fibula, a gold amulet container and an enormous silver charm box.
A groom's crown. Photo source
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