The Kazhuththu uru
The Kazhuththu uru is an interesting piece of traditional jewellery. It is a necklace or specifically a traditional gold marriage necklace which is rarely known to most.
This beautiful jewellery is part of the marriage ceremony of the people belonging to the Nattukotthai Chettiars community from the Pudukkotthai region of Tamil Nadu. This necklace is specifically gifted to the bride by her parents. The groom then ties it to the girl’s neck during the marriage ceremony.
This necklace holds a truly interesting meaning. This aesthetically pretty gold necklace has three knots on its cord holding the necklace units which stand for the union of the self, the husband and the holy God.
These necklaces do vary piece to piece when it comes to their design, sizes, the central unit of the necklace, the thali or the beads strung into them but the meaning behind them remains the same. Usually heavier necklaces are strictly used for marriage ceremonies and are later replaced by another lighter similar version for more frequent use.
This necklace clearly displays two big units on each side separated by a central unit. The units are said to represent the hands of the bride and the groom respectively. They display four finger like projections which stand for the four vedas; i.e rigveda, yajurveda, samaveda and atharvaveda. Another striking feature is the presence of an upright projection on each hand ending in a pyramid-like structure each of which is said to represent the four directions.
This necklace also has another occasion of use. The members of this community celebrate the 60th birthday of man as it marks the theoretical half life of a man (considering the Hindu concept of a man’s age as 120 yrs). As part of the 60th, a renewal or a reenactment of the wedding ceremony is performed along with a feast in which this necklace is worn by the wife.
The lovely and traditional design of this necklace along with the role it plays in the life of a woman is something that is very interesting. It shows that jewellery is so deeply tied to the old rituals prevalent in India, making jewellery almost an emotion for us Indians.
Picture credits: Traditional Jewellery of India By Oppi Untracht; Collection Ivory, New York.
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