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Solah Singar

Solah Singaars (16 ways of beautifying body)

           Since my childhood I always heard that in India during ancient times there existed solah singaars or 16 ways of beauty therapy which bride to be has to undergo before meeting her groom  on wedding night. 'What could be those solah singaars?' I always wondered. and curious mind made me search here and there. Luckily I was able to find what I want to. I'm presenting them before you.

The Solah Singaars are as followings---

  1. Merdana
    Here the bride's body was messaged with perfumed oils- viz.--rose, jasmine, sandal etc.

  2. Mangal Snanam
    The bride to be was given bath with purified water mixed with milk or various oils such as almond oil during winter, mixed with rose petals and mixed with khus or marwah during the summer season. The paste of lodhra, bawchi, sitachini etc was used instead of soap.

  3. Keshpash sugandhi karanam
    The paste of Shikekai, nagarmoth, kachura was applied on well-oiled hair. It was kept for minutes. Then washed off with aritha. This served both purposes shampooing as well as conditioning of hair.

  4. Angraag wilepana
    A thin paste of sandalwood was applied evenly on face, neck, bare shoulders etc.(just like foundation creame is applied now a days).

  5. kajjal rekha deepan
    Eyes were lined with kohl or kaajal . In ancient India people strongly believed that the kohl protects eyes from harsh sunrays like that of umbrella, so I think applying kohl was customary.

  6. Tilak prasadhana
    Bindi or Mangalya chinha was made on the forehead. Different coloured Bindis were made from the gorochana, hartal, kusumba etc. Even flower petals also were used to serve this purpose.

  7. Mukha prasadhana
    Face was decorated with the help of herbal blusher, gold or silver or pearl dust
    Then a beauty spot or small black mark of kohl was made to ward of an evil.

  8. Kesha pash rachna
    This word means hairstyling. The main styles used in those days were Kundalakar (oval shaped or elongated role or bun), surpaakruti (snake shaped--may be a French role), folded in the wave like manner and the both typesof (i.e. high n low )bun.

  9. Alakta niveshen
    This literally means applying lipstick. During those days herbal lipsticks were prepared using beeswax mixed with the kusumba flower's petals.

  10. Hasta sushobhitam
    The hands were cleaned and decorated

  11. Paad sushobhitam
    The feet were cleaned and lined with Alitah.

  12. Maha vastra pridhanam
    Then the  wedding dress was put on the bride, generally a bright coloured silken robe with gold border was used.

  13. Pushpa dharanam
    The colourful, pretty and the sweet smelling flower garlands or gajjraas were worn on the hair, around the neck, as a armlet or around the wrist. Then the body was perfumed mildly.

  14. Alankaar dharnam
    The bride was given various ornaments to look stunning. The most popular ornaments were mekahla or the chain worn around the waist, anklets, armlets, diferent types of chokers and also various sets of the very heavy bangles.Those ornaments were made up of precious metals like gold and silver, ivory,shells, beads and the precious-semiprecious stones.

  15. Tambul sevnam
    Tambulam or opum or paan was chewed .It served as mouth freshener.

  16. Darpan vilokan (and  then shubha drishti)
    The bride used take a good  look at herself  in the mirror. Her make up used to be checked and rechecked. Some fine touches were given again.

When the well groomed beautiful bride was taken to the vivah mandap, then the custom of the first eye contact of the bride and the groom with each other ,known as "Shubha-drishti") used to take place. (This custom still exists in some parts of the India (e.g. Bengal) even today).

As the beauty treatment and the bridal make-up was done with the purest forms of herbs, real gold, conch, silver, pearl powder etc. the brides must be really looking very beautiful and gorgeous.


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