Dazzling Bangles of Lad Baazar, Hyderabad

Standard
Dazzling Bangles of Lad Baazar, Hyderabad

The tradition of wearing bangles or churi or bangri in India is an ancient custom, with deep significant meanings. Its humble evolvement from terracotta, stone, shell to ivory, lac, glass, metal and to modern-day plastic shows its cultural importance. Bangles are primarily worn to adorn the woman’s delicate wrists, but the deeper significance to protect her from evil eye, to ignite the Shakti and the gunas within hold equal improtance. Bangles are traditionally part of the solah shringar for the bride. How else can she call her beloved demurely other than with the soft tinkling ‘chan chan’ ?

Metal and studded stone bangle sets

Metal and studded stone bangle sets

My visit to Hyderabad’s popular Lad Bazaar or bangles bazaar set next to the magnificent Charminar was the place for study. Behind the modern-day cacophony, the old world charm and nostalgia of the Begums and bangle shops is one to be feasted upon visually!

Street shops near Charminar

Street shops near Charminar

Established during the Qutb Shahi rule in 1500’s the bazaar became famous for its glittering bangles, especially made by Kasars from glass or lac.  Hyderabad was first ruled by Kakatiya kings and later the Qutb Shahi rulers who were great patrons of Persian and Indo -Islamic cultures and languages making the city an epitome of Hindu -Muslim architecture and grace. architectural. It became famous for its diamonds, pearls and rubies too. The Nawabi era saw sprawling palaces, rich cuisine, bazaars and parks and lakes. The locals were Deccani Hindus – creating a harmonious society borrowing from each others cultures and traditions.

Indian traditions around the significance of bangles ceremonies abound with celebration of festivals, seasons and events in woman’s life. At  wedding, birth ceremony, nuptial, Teej season and prayer times  women would head to Lad bazaar: henna for the hands, bangles for wrists, bindis and jhoomar for face uplifts, gotta patti or shimmering gold borders for dresses and dainty anklets for the feet.

A young bride with henna colouration

A young bride with henna colouration

Women apply Henna during Ramzan festival

Women apply Henna during Ramzan festival

 

Faux zari borders, lace and gotta patti

Faux zari borders, lace and gotta patti

The market is a scene of cultural blend. Muslim women in black Abeyyas covered from head to toe contrasted with Hindu women in sarees. Men in ethnic tunics, Lungis or casual trousers walked by. Tourists of all ages, focussed their cameras on the Charminar, unperturbed by the bangles dazzling in the sunlight and shop lights.

Women in burqha looking at bangles

Women in burqha looking at bangles

 

Woman in burqha admiring lace and trinkets in street bazaar

Woman in burqha admiring lace and trinkets in street bazaar

Street vendors with carts stuffed with beaded slippers, fake watches, cheap bangles and hair clips jostled for space. Speaking in Hindi, Urdu or local Telugu they knew the character of the place. Errand boys with shoulder baskets zig zagged through the crowds selling souvenirs.

Street cart selling plastic bangles

Street cart selling plastic bangles

Laughter, whispers, excited children, screaming vendors shouting ‘Chudi le lo…, Bindi le lo…’ lent an air of drama and vibrancy to this bustling market.

Built in 1591, rectangular Charminar, the edifice with four minarets is the focal point of the market area. Its pale yellow walls show chipped construction and a veil of neglect. Its towering minarets rise twenty metres from the roof. There is a mosque and impressive prayer hall on the upper floors. On the outer perimeter of the central chowk, are the four arches or Char Kamans in four directions namely: Machli Kaman, Kali Kaman, Kaman Sher-e-Batil and Mewawala Kaman. Names of the arches show many an interesting story of bravery, traditional beliefs and fortunes.

Magnificient Charminar with symmetrical arches

Magnificient Charminar with symmetrical arches

 

Charminar terrace, arches and clock

Charminar terrace, arches and clock

 The street leading west from Charminar, from under the Kaman Sher-e –Batil leads to the Lad bazaar. At once, you are greeted with endless row of shops, competing with their colourful display. Colour coded bangles wrapped around circular moulds stand tall behind glass panes in tight cupboards.

Rows of bangles on display

Rows of bangles on display

One needs time, patience and colour sense to choose from the myriad options of bangles: family set, wedding set, single kangan, glass bangle, lac bangle, pearl bangles, stone studded, plastic bangles and many more…

Vendor packaging bangles in plastic wraps

Vendor packaging bangles in plastic wraps

Here is the significance of colour:

  • Red and gold are prefered bridal colours.
  • Green is for fertility or peace
  • Yellow and orange auspicious.
  • Black, dark green is prefered at henna parties or to match the seasonal monsoon clouds.
  • Gold is reserved for weddings, prayer ceremonies and royal fanfare. They are always coupled with other multi colours.
  • Violet and blue were the fashion statements of the day
  • In Bengal, married women wear ivory and red coral bangle
  • In Karnataka and Maharashtra the bride wears green glass bangles
  • The Punjabi shaadi choora is an elaborate set of red, white and design

Have you ever seen the churiwala or bangle man at an Indian wedding, especially at the bride’s house? Amidst the laughter, music, garlands of flower and henna, the churiwala is man is important. Sitting traditionally on a soft, floor mattress, surrounded by the household women and bride’s friends, he proves his skill, patience and ability to choose bangles colours and delicately push them on the wrists. Aha!

Multi coloured fancy bangles

Multi coloured fancy bangles

Bollywood cinema, western fashion, modern office etiquette, lack of time and disinterest in olden traditions has its impact on the wear of bangles and its business.

Faux pearl bangle set

Faux pearl bangle set

A visit to Hyderabad is regarded incomplete without buying the pearl bangles.

The Lad bazaar holds a special place in the heart of every woman, especially in Hyderabad. Here history merges with grace and beauty, the bangles continue to dazzle one and all.

Do you wear bangles as jewellery? Why?

I really hope my Indian readers will share some stories and significance about bangles. I’ve spent much time and patience here. Readers interactions only give more positivity and pleasure.

 All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

Advertisements

16 responses »

  1. Really your description brings the place alive! Although i have been to hyderabad but missed visiting this market. Added to my to do list !!
    Bangles are a pleasure to be experienced. they lack the feeling of restriction of a watch strapped on your wrist and infact make you feel very festive n spirited.
    wonderful perspective on this small
    but important aspect of indian women!

  2. Veena, very informative and good pics.
    This time when I was in Hyderabad, Anjali Kapoor was visiting, so we decided to venture into charminar. It was during ramzan and the place was bustling. Very festive with loads of street vendors, with bangles, varieties of fruits which you wouldn’t find in new city, vermicelli to make the traditional sheer kurma and clothes. We were planning to have the famous biryani at Madinah restaurant, but time didn’t permit us. Next time….
    Coming to wearing bangles, they are just very colorful and gives a festive feel.
    In our community, green bangles are presented to a pregnant lady around the 5th month of her pregnancy, in fact it is a big ceremony . My grandmother used to say that it brings good luck.
    Veena, enjoyed reading your blog.

    • Lovely to read about your visit to Charminar. Such an awesome hustle-bustle isn’t it? Thanks for the information on green bangles…sure other readers will like it too.

  3. खूप छान ! पर्ल बांगल सेट खूप चांगला दिसतोय ! !

  4. Veena I had no idea that the bangles had any meaning other than decorative. Thank you for this most interesting post. The photos left me feeling as though I was walking in the markets with you. Another country for our list. 🙂

    • Yes, in Hindu culture bangles and their colours have deep significance, I have learned from childhood. It was great to share that. India is a riot of colour and people – certainly very little cycling, snowboarding and trekking for you…unless you do it in the crowds!

  5. These pictures makes a person feel like they belong to that area; making pictures come alive! Getting to learn more about indian customs and tradition through simple photos is a great and smart way to get the viewers attention! Great work aunty Veena! Great work!

  6. Pingback: World Palate Recipes: Hyderabadi Qubbani Ka Meetha | Walk to Market

  7. Pingback: Street food, Hyderabad | Walk to Market

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s