The bridal attire of a Malayalee Hindu bride is very simple and elegant. The traditional bridal dress consists of a two piece cream colour saree called Set Mundu with a thick woven gold zari border. But very few brides choose to dress in the traditional Set Mundu today. Instead they opt for expensive Kancheepuram silk saris, which are available in plenty of bright colours like red, maroon, magenta, green and blue.
Though the bridal saree is quite simple, the jewelry complementing it is very unique and heavy and forms a very important part of the bridal attire. The jewelry designs are inspired by nature or temple statues mainly consisting of motifs like paisley, rice grains, melon seeds, cobra heads or birds and usually crafted in red and green semi precious stones. The jewelry from this region is commonly known as Temple jewelry.
A Malayalee bride is heavily decked with bridal jewelry from head to toe. The piece of jewelry worn along the parting of the hair is known as Netti Chutti. It is very similar to Mang Tikka which is worn by brides from northern parts of India but the design and style of a Netti Chutti is very different from a Mang Tikka. Typical hanging earrings in the shape of an umbrella known as Jhimkis are worn and suspended by an artistic chain called Maattal which goes around the ear. The hair is adorned by a stone studded ornamental chain which is worn over the plait is known as Tirukkuppu. The bride also adorns various gold necklaces with designs inspired by temple borders and comprise of a gold disc in the centre with different designs and motifs of goddesses. These necklaces are traditionally called – Nagapada thali, Laxmi thali, Palakka mala and Kasu mala. The bride also wears a combination of gold and stone studded bangles along with other pieces of jewellery like gold anklets known as Padaswarams, a waist band embellished with pearls and stones, a stone studded nose ring and a gold armlet.
Though Malayalee bridal jewelry is known for its bold and heavy designs, brides these days are opting for more contemporary designs and are switching from the yellow gold to diamond and platinum jewelry.
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