By Emily Dowling:
In a country as vibrant as India, beauty is all around you.
Across India women are decorated and adorned, no matter what their place in society. The effort and care taken to enhance personal appearance matches the hospitality, kindness and honesty that is so evident in Indian people.
It is common for Indian women to be adorned with intricate piercings of precious metal and stone. The nose piercing is an ancient Hindu tradition; a girl’s nose is often pierced when she is of marital age, signifying her transition to a woman. It is also believed in Ayurveda, the practice of ancient Indian medicine, that a pierced hole in a woman’s left nostril relieves some of the pain of childbirth.
Mehndi or Henna as it is commonly known, is a turmeric paste used in a cone shaped tube to draw elaborate patterns and designs on the hands and feet of women. Men are also decorated with Mehndi, most commonly for weddings and special celebrations.
Bindi is the Hindi word for ‘point’ or ‘dot’, it is derived from the Hindu Sanskrit word Bindu, which is believed to be the point at which creation begins. The Bindi is a bright dot of red colour applied in the centre of the forehead close to the brow line, its design is to align with the Ajna Chakra or third eye. The Bindi is worn by Hindu men and women throughout South and South East Asia, in varying colours and sizes, depending on the occasion or stage in life one has attained.
The Sari is a traditional and common dress worn by Hindu women. It is a continuous piece of material, at 6 meters in length. Typically the sari is wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder or around the face revealing the midriff, a fitted crop top is worn underneath. Indian women from all walks of life wear the sari, enjoying its grace and beauty.
The Salwar Kameez originated in Punjab and is now worn as an alternative dress to the traditional sari across India. The Salwar Kameez is an ensemble of trousers which are narrow at the ankles and a tunic or long top with sleeves and a scarf draped over the shoulder or wrapped around the head.