Some accessories hold a vital role in the life of Indian married women. It is a must to wear toe rings, earrings, anklets, bangles, etc., for a woman as they have a significant role. Mangalsutra is one among them that holds the utmost position. It has got both psychological and religious importance in Hindu tradition. Mangalsutra virtually symbolizes goodwill and love for the married woman. It is traditionally tied by the groom to the bride during the auspicious ceremony of marriage. As per the traditions, it is worn for the good health and long life of the husband. The origin of mangalsutra dates back to the 6th century AD. Earlier it was only the yellow thread that was tied to the bride before mangalsutra came into existence. The sole purpose was to protect the couple from the evil eye. Thus, even today in South India, a women’s neck is often seen as a yellow thread with a gold pendant.
Mangalsutra is just not a piece of jewelry that is worn by the woman, but it is considered as the most important ornament ‘soubhagyalankar’ that tells the world that the wearer of this ornament is a married woman. ‘Mangal’ means auspicious, and ‘sutra’ means thread. In the wedding ceremony groom ties this auspicious thread around the neck of the bride. It is considered that this thread is tied with the belief that it is responsible for the well-being of his life. Generally, the length of mangalsutra is reaching the woman’s chest. It may also be worn just like a necklace around the neck. Usually, the pendant is attached at its end that is either made of gold or gold along with the diamonds. Traditionally it is said that the woman is never supposed to part with her mangalsutra as long as her husband is alive. It has become mandatory for the widow to discard mangalsutra. It is believed to be the ill omen if the sacred thread of mangalsutra is broken for some reason.
The traditional design of mangalsutra consists of nine black beads intermixed with nine gold beads. These nine beads represent the nine forms of primal energy or Adishakti. It is believed that the black beads include the energies of the earth and water elements. The gold beads include the energies of fire and air elements. All these four elements attract and absorb all the negative energies directed at the newly married couple. This way mangalsutra ensures protection from evil.
Mangalsutra has an immense value which is beyond the value of all the other jewelries. The traditional bowl-shaped gold pendant has been replaced with many other stylish designs. Though the pendant has differed, the black beads remain the same. Thus the design and size of mangalsutra vary from state to state and region to region. Ms. Serafina D’souza is an artist from Arpora village, Bardez Taluka of North Goa. Since her school days, she is into imitation jewellery making specially mangalsutra. It is made of golden and black color beads. She follows the traditional Maharashtrian style. The designs of Maharashtrian mangalsutra are simple and adorning from the beginning. However, these days there are several designs of mangalsutra. Some of the best designs among several designs in the Maharashtrian style of mangalsutra are The shell charm, Kolhapuri, Fancy charm, Trio pendant, Gold bold, Threaded, Chain style, Peacock mangalsutra, Curvy floral mangalsutra, Saaj design, Peshwai mangalsutra, Sunflower, Pearl and diamond, Vati mangalsutra, Three string mangalsutra.