Shankha Pola: The Traditional Bengali Wedding Bangles
- 30 Nov, 2022
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Bengali wedding jewelry is famous worldwide for its unique designs and intricate detailing. Shankha pola are such traditional wedding bangles.
Brides across the world spend months shopping for their wedding night look and bridal jewelry is what grabs everyone’s attention. What’s so special about bridal jewelry is that each state has its unique designs and styles. A bride from Kolkata, for instance, would look incomplete without traditional Bengali wedding bangles.
Mantasha, bauti, noa, Kankan, beloyari churi, chur, and sankha pola are some interesting types of bangles that make a Bengali bride look divine. These are ancestral jewelry with intricate designs that are passed on through generations. Pola and shakha are two such traditional bangles that are commonly worn by married Bengali women.
Shakha Pola Bangles: An Integral Part of the Wedding Trousseau in Bengal
Pola and sankha are two Bengali wedding bangles that every bride wears as this combination looks exquisite. On the morning of a Bengali wedding day, there is a ritual called ‘Dodhi Mongal.’ Seven married women together soak the sankha and pola in holy turmeric water. Then the bride’s mother gifts these accessories to her beloved daughter. A Bengali wedding photographer never forgets to capture this moment. Later, the bride is fed curd and she fasts for the rest of the day and breaks the after the wedding is over.
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Shankha Pola and its Significance
Sankha bangles are always white, symbolizing purity. The red coral in polas, on the other hand, stands for fertility and marital bliss. Women wear this bangle pair out of deep love for their husbands.
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Folklores on Shakha Pola
Sankha Pola gold bangles have been an intrinsic part of Bengali customs and traditions for centuries. As per ancient folktales, these originally belong to needy fishermen. The fishermen found good amounts of corals and conch shells by the ocean. As they couldn’t afford any expensive wedding bangles set, they made bangles out of what was available. Fisherwomen wore these bangles as a substitute for ivory ornaments worn by rich brides.
Sankha and Some Interesting Facts
Several exciting customs related to Bengali sankha pola are prevalent in the society:
Once you have chosen a Bengali gold sankha design, you shouldn’t negotiate with the jeweler.
The wife cannot take money from the husband for buying sankha nor should he accompany her to the shop.
Sometimes women take the help of the ‘Shankhari’ to wear these Bengali wedding bangles and then touch his feet for blessings.
Shankha’s Historical Legacy
Earlier, Bengal’s main conch-cutting industry was in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The place is still famous by the name Shankhari Bazaar. Conch makers have taught their children this craft for generations and now the main industry operates from Kolkata.
Over the years, best wedding photographers in Kolkata have captured beautiful pictures of brides wearing pola and shakha. Some modern and elegant bangle designs commonly spotted these days include floral pola and sankha designs, white sankha with golden stripes, sankha with green meenakari detailing, red pola bangles with intricate gold designs, ‘chuda’ style pola and sankha with crystal beads. Through such amalgamation of modernity and tradition, Bengali women have kept the ancient customs alive.