Singaars (16 ways of beautifying body)
Since my childhood I always heard that in India during ancient times
there existed solah singaars or 16 ways of beauty therapy which bride to
be has to undergo before meeting her groom on wedding night. 'What
could be those solah singaars?' I always wondered. and curious mind made
me search here and there. Luckily I was able to find what I want to. I'm
presenting them before you.
The Solah Singaars are as
bride's body was messaged with perfumed oils- viz.--rose, jasmine,
The bride to be was given bath with purified water mixed with milk
or various oils such as almond oil during winter, mixed with rose
petals and mixed with khus or marwah during the summer season.
The paste of lodhra, bawchi, sitachini etc was used instead of soap.
The paste of Shikekai, nagarmoth, kachura was applied on well-oiled
hair. It was kept for minutes. Then washed off with aritha.
This served both purposes shampooing as well as conditioning
A thin paste of sandalwood was applied evenly on face, neck, bare
shoulders etc.(just like foundation creame is applied now a
Eyes were lined with kohl or kaajal . In ancient India people
strongly believed that the kohl protects eyes from harsh sunrays
like that of umbrella, so I think applying kohl was customary.
Bindi or Mangalya chinha was made on the forehead. Different
coloured Bindis were made from the gorochana, hartal, kusumba etc.
Even flower petals also were used to serve this purpose.
Face was decorated with the help of herbal blusher, gold or silver
or pearl dust
Then a beauty spot or small black mark of kohl was made to ward of
means hairstyling. The main styles used in those days were
Kundalakar (oval shaped or elongated role or bun), surpaakruti
(snake shaped--may be a French role), folded in the wave like
manner and the both typesof (i.e. high n low )bun.
literally means applying lipstick. During those days herbal
lipsticks were prepared using beeswax mixed with the kusumba
were cleaned and decorated
The feet were
cleaned and lined with Alitah.
Then the wedding dress was put on the bride, generally a
bright coloured silken robe with gold border was used.
The colourful, pretty and the sweet smelling flower
garlands or gajjraas were worn on the hair, around the neck, as a
armlet or around the wrist. Then the body was perfumed mildly.
The bride was given various ornaments to look stunning. The most
popular ornaments were mekahla or the chain worn around the waist,
anklets, armlets, diferent types of chokers and also various
sets of the very heavy bangles.Those ornaments were made up of
precious metals like gold and silver, ivory,shells, beads and the
opum or paan was chewed .It served as mouth freshener.
vilokan (and then shubha drishti)
The bride used take a good look at herself in the
mirror. Her make up used to be checked and rechecked. Some fine
touches were given again.
When the well groomed beautiful bride was taken to the vivah
the custom of the first eye contact of the bride and the groom
with each other ,known as "Shubha-drishti") used to take
place. (This custom still exists in some parts of the India (e.g. Bengal)
As the beauty treatment and the bridal make-up was done with the purest
forms of herbs, real gold, conch, silver, pearl powder etc. the brides
must be really looking very beautiful and gorgeous.