The Umlakh!

The Umlakh (Silver Groom's Crown):

The Umlakh is a beautiful piece of traditional yet designer Indian jewellery. It is a spectacular piece which depicts skilled work of craftsmanship which has its origin in the Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

It is a head ornament for men which is made of silver and is typically worn by the grooms belonging to these regions. It is thus a wedding ornament for men worn during the marriage ceremony. This elaborate ornament is adorned on the forehead by men and is held in place with the help of silver chains which are attached to it.

This spectacular piece of art is made of several hinged and attached silver metal-plate like panels. They are also known as ‘silver crowns’. Each panel of the crown has a picture of a Holy deity on it. This ornament is thus very important in the ceremony as it is meant to carry the blessings of the Gods thereby bearing an auspicious meaning. The pictures most likely displayed on this ornament are of Lord Shiv, Lord Karttikeya, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Kali.

This ornament has gained inspiration from the cave paintings which show men, or deities or tantriks wearing it. These lovely and carefully crafted pieces are almost always owned by the rich goldsmiths or the moneylenders as stated in the book by Untracht. They lend these priceless items for such occasions.

The Umlakhs are classic examples of the beauty and skill of Indian craftsmanship and are one of the ornaments which we wanted to bring to light through this series. These pieces are truly an ode to the heritage of our Traditional Indian jewellery.

Picture credits: Traditional Jewellery of India By Oppi Untracht; Collection the author, Porvoo.

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