In this thirty-ninth archive story by Kristian Bertel, we learn about the Indian traditions of the beatiful and colored bangles and jewellery of India. Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Bangles are rigid bracelets usually from metal, wood or plastic. They are traditional ornaments worn mostly by South Asian women in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is a common tradition to see a new bride wearing glass bangles at her wedding and the honeymoon will end when the last bangle breaks. These stacks of bangles were photographed by the photographer in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, India.
Bangles are rigid bracelets usually from metal, wood or plastic. They are traditional ornaments worn mostly by South Asian women in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is a common tradition to see a new bride wearing glass bangles at her wedding and the honeymoon will end when the last bangle breaks. These stacks of bangles were photographed by the photographer in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, India.

Bangles and jewellery of India

The photographer found out that bangles also have a very traditional value in Hinduism and it is considered inauspicious to be bare armed for a married woman. Toddler to older woman could wear bangles based on the type of bangles. Bangles made of gold or silver are preferred for toddlers. Bangles are also known as Nepali chura, Bengali churi, Hindi choodi and Marathi bangadi. Some men wear a single bangle on the arm or wrist called kada or kara.

Beautiful bracelets of India
In Sikhism, the father of a Sikh bride will give the groom a gold ring, a kara, which is a steel or iron bangle, and a mohra. Chooda is a kind of bangle that is worn by Punjabi women on her wedding day. It is a set of white and red bangles with stone work. According to tradition, a woman is not supposed to buy the bangles she will wear. Moradabad is India's largest producer of bangles. Bangles are circular in shape, and, unlike bracelets, are not flexible. The word is derived from Hindi bungri, which is glass. They are made of numerous precious as well as non-precious materials such as gold, silver, platinum, glass, wood, ferrous metals, plastic and so on. Bangles made from sea shell, which are white color, are worn by married Bengali and Oriya Hindu women. A special type of bangle is worn by women and girls, especially in the Bengal area, commonly known as a 'Bengali bangle', which is used as a substitute for a costly gold bangle, and is produced by fixing a thin gold strip weighing between one to three gram is thermo-mechanically fused onto a bronze bangle, followed by manual crafting on that fused gold strip. Bangles are part of traditional Indian jewellery. They are usually worn in pairs by women, one or more on each arm. Most Indian women prefer wearing either gold or glass bangles or combination of both. Inexpensive bangles made from plastic are slowly replacing those made by glass, but the ones made of glass are still preferred at traditional occasions such as marriages and on festivals. The designs range from simple to intricate handmade designs, often studded with precious and semi-precious stones such as diamonds, gems and pearls. Sets of expensive bangles made of gold and silver make a jingling sound.

The imitation jewellery tends to make a tinny sound when jingled. There are two basic types of bangles, which is a solid cylinder type and a split, cylindrical spring opening and closing type. The primary distinguishing factor between these is the material used to make the bangles. This may vary from anything from glass to jade to metal to lac and even rubber or plastic. One factor that adds to the price of the bangles is the artifacts or the work done further on the metal. This includes embroidery or small glass pieces or paintings or even small hangings that are attached to the bangles. The rareness of a color and its unique value also increase the value. Bangles made from lac are one of the oldest ones and among the brittle category too. Lac is material which is molded in hot kilns-like places to make these bangles. Among the recent entrants are the rubber bangles that are worn more like a wrist band by youngsters while the plastic ones are there to add a trendy look. Normally, a bangle worn by people around the world is simply an inflexible piece of jewellery worn around the wrist. However, in many cultures, especially in the South Asia, bangles have evolved into various types in which different ones are used at different occasions.

Jewellery of India
Indian jewellery is as old as Indian civilisation itself. The ruins of the Indus Valley civilisation, going back to 5000 years, have yielded examples of beaded jewellery. In the sculptures at Bharhut, Sanchi and Amaravati and the paintings at Ajanta can be seen the wide range of jewellery worn by man and woman, by king and commoner. The temples of South India, Bengal, Orissa and Central India present a veritable cornucopia of the jeweller's art. Greek visitors to ancient India marvelled at the elaborate Indian jewels of the time. The epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and the Arthasastra, a text nineteen centuries old, mention the intricate arts of the jewellers of yore. The Silappadikaram, an ancient Tamil classic, talks of a society dealing in gold, pearls and precious stones. Paes, a Portuguese chronicler, writes of the Vijayanagar empire where visitors were dazzled by the jewellery worn. Jewellery in ancient times was not only an adornment, but each stone was endowed with a mystical quality and used as a protection against evil forces. The navaratna or nine gems, each sacred to a planet, are worn in a particular order for the same reason to this day. The maniratna, called the serpent stone, was used as a talisman to protect the wearer. Rudraksha and Tulsi seeds and sandalwood beads are worn even today during Hindu worship.

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of bangles in Aurangabad. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.