Although I might not have lived all my life in Nepal, my roots lie there. My great grandfathers had literally galloped from the mountains of Sibhua, which lie somewhere in the eastern region of Nepal.
Nepal has over 125 communities which speak more than 200 dialects. Every community has a standard set of ornaments which Nepali women adorn. It was only recently that I got to know of the different varieties of jewellery a Nepali woman wears during and after her marriage ceremony.
A lot of you would know that brides in Nepal have to wear very heavy jewellery on the day of their wedding. If you want to keep it very traditional, an “Asarphi ko mala” is ideal. Asharfis were initially gold coins issued by Muslim dynasties in the Middle East and Central and South Asia.
An Asarphi ko mala is a chain made in different designs focusing on these coins as a centerpiece. The amount of gold you put into the necklace solely depends on your level of comfort. The first time I saw this necklace, all I saw were coins.
Just as how you have the Mangalsutra in India, we wear the Tilhari. The Chadke Tilhari is adorned just like a side bag and is the most important ornament in a Nepali women’s life. If I were to give you a description of the necklace, it is a golden cylindrical ornament held together by many strings of Pote.
Pote is a necklace made of glass beads and can only be worn by women who are married. A pote can be of any colour but the Pote used for a Tilhari is usually green in colour.
Chadke Tilharis are usually worn on special occasions in the family. Women generally prefer the Maili Tilhari which is worn like any other necklace. The only difference between a Chadke Tilhari and a Maili Tilhari is the length. Both the necklaces serve the same purpose but only differ in length.
The Jantar is also very typically Nepali. It hails back to the 19th century. Women used to initially wear a Jantar to dodge evil eyes .It consists of a squared gold centerpiece with typical Nepali intricate carvings such as a Kalash. It can further be decorated with precious stones. The squared centre piece is held together by beads and worn as a necklace.
Our love for gold resonates from the The Jun (Moon) Clip. This is a clip made of gold and decorated with precious stones. The Clip is usually made in the shape of the moon with a star attached to it. The Clip can be made in the shape of flowers, birds or even an animal. The head ornament is quite affordable and is worn by Nepali women across all communities.
It is said that we often learn from our neighbors and this holds true for Jewellery too. Nepali women wear a lot of jewellery inspired by Indian designs. In short, we love our gold in every form.