The Thali is the major part of the ceremony and is the wedding locket, also known as Mangalsutram.Thaali' is a Tamil word. It is the symbol of matrimony. It is known as 'Mangalsutra' in North India. Tying a thali is the most important ceremony in Indian marriages. It is similar to the western custom of exchanging rings. Every Indian woman considers the thali as the most prestigious token of love offered to her by her husband during the ceremony. For Hindu women, the mangalsutra or "Thali" is the one single symbol of their wedded state. Three knots are tied - the first one by the bridegroom, the other two knots by his sister to make the bride a part of the boy's family. In olden days, even children used to wear Thaali's made with tiger teeth and tiger nail covered with gold. Thaali's are of different types namely - embithai thaali, amathaali, kolunthu thaali, variven thaali and manikka thaali.The concept is that every child who wears embithai thaali will be protected from all kinds of evil. This Thaali is associated with the weapon of Lord Mahavishnu. It is believed that Lord Krishna wore amathaali (shape of tortoise) and kolunthu thaali (tender leaves).The design of the mangalsutra depends on the budget. Moreover, people do go for the orthodox design because of its symbolism. These are emotional matters and generally people shy away from experimentation. Yes, if the family can afford it, more than one mangalsutra is made but the one used in the marriage ceremony is one of traditional design.Historically, the custom of tying a mangalsutra, the auspicious emblem or cord, on the wedding day, appears to have become popular only after the 6th century AD. Before this, a yellow protective cord known as 'kankanabandhana' was tied around the wrists of the bride and the groom to signal their commitment to marriage. The mangalsutra is considered a talisman to ward off the evil eye.And, different regions of India and different communities have varied versions of the mangalsutra or taali. Some wear it on a yellow thread, others on a thick gold chain, yet others have black beads strung together with two “vatis” representing the union of two strung at the end. Some have diamond pendants while others have coral beads -- the design really depends upon the family traditions. And, often the taali is elaborately crafted with representations of the family deity—Shiva, goddess Sri, the tulsi, or the emblems of Vishnu and so on. Emotionally, the taali / mangalsutra binds the bride to her groom..." The "Thali" (mangalsutra) consists of two pieces, ONE FROM EACH FAMILY, traditionally dangling on a yellow thread. It contains images of the Shiva Lingam - Iyers The Namam and Sudarshana Chakra - Iyengars A pair of shell (shakha) and red coral (paula) bangles - Bengali Ivory -Punjab and Rajastan Gold chain with black beads and a gold pendant - West and other parts of India.Ka****ali - gold chain with coral beads and two black beads on either side of a diamond shaped gold pendant - Karnataka, specifically "Konkini" Soft 24 Karat Gold is fashioned into necklaces modelled on the local flora and fauna—earrings like the hona, which replicate the orchid, and the lokaparo, which consists of two birds placed back to back. The black colour of the beads is said to absorb all negative vibrations before they can reach the bride and her family. The stringing together of the beads into one thread has its significance as well. Just as each bead contributes to making a beautiful necklace, so does the woman have to blend and integrate into the new family after marriage." Our humble "THAALI" had a very humble Beginning. In ancient days the leaves of the palm tree called "Thaala Vriksha" were strung together and used in the place of a cord or thread. In this context, it is interesting to learn that the tying of the mangalsutra, which means auspicious thread or cord, is not a religious practice but a social one, and that too of recent origin.It is surprising but true that this practice was not in vogue in ancient days in Hindu weddings. The "Grhyasutras" ( laws of domestic rituals) do not mention the mangalsutra but only a "kankana bandhana". The kankana bandhana or protective cord was worn by the couple to protect them from all kinds of pollution before the samvesana (consummation). It appears the mangalsutra evolved more as a popular practice than as a scriptural observance.Mangalsutra designs have changed within the prescribed parameters. For example, instead of the conventional gold pendant, women prefer diamond pendants. The length has also been altered to a shorter version that fits around the neck. Instead of two strings people now prefer a single string of black beads, or a gold chain interspersed with black beads. Whatever the modification, the black beads stay constant. It cannot be denied that the Tulsis and Parvatis have brought back the mangalsutra in fashion along with other symbols of the married Indian woman.courtesy:ammas.comRajaputhran.
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