Colourful and sparkly are two words often associated with Indian fashionista. What makes them colourful and sparkly? Their bright coloured outfits and their jewellery! The penchant for gold jewellery and traditional jewellery has always been a part of Indian culture especially so in the southern part of India.
The origins of the traditional South Indian Gold jewellery are often linked to the Hindu religion and temple culture in our country. The Indian Gold jewellery is often inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones. Even though stones may be used in South Indian Gold Jewellery design, most of the time it is made totally of pure gold.
The traditional gold jewellery is the most preferred choice of women when it comes to weddings, religious festivals and events and auspicious days. One of the most popular traditional gold jewellery styles among the South Indian women is the Kasu Mala. The story of its origins and the styles available are as intriguing as the design itself.
What Exactly Is A Kasu Mala?
The literal translation of a Kasu Mala would be Coin Necklace. It is a Malayalam word where Kasu means coins and Mala means a neck chain/necklace. The Mala is made using gold coins that strung together on a cord of gold. The gold coins are attached to each other in such a way that they overlap each other (a prominent feature in most of the designs).
This is popular in other parts of South India and is known as a Kasu Malai in Tamil and Kasulaperu in Telugu.
History Of Kasu Mala
It is believed that one can trace back the origins of design to the Vedic Period and it has been mentioned in the Rig Veda. However, back then the necklace of gold coins was referred to as Nishka. According to historians, this necklace was also quite popular during the rule of Andhra Ikshvakus.
Different Styles Of Kasu Mala
This traditional South Indian Gold jewellery is available in different styles. Each style has a different gold jewellery design and may or may not be inlaid with stones. The most popular styles are given below.
The Lakshmi Mala is a Kasu Mala with the imprint of Goddess Lakshmi on each gold coin. The Goddess Lakshmi is considered to be a Hindu deity of wealth and prosperity and wearing this necklace is considered to be auspicious. It is believed that wearing the Kasu Mala on her wedding day will bring good luck and prosperity to the bride.
The Mala with the imprint of Ganesh Lakshmi and Ram Durbar are also popular choices.
Like any other type of traditional gold jewellery, the Kasu Mala has also undergone several changes in designs over the years. The following are some of the popular choices of designs available today.
- Double/Multi-layered Kasu Mala
- Inlaid with precious/semi-precious stones
- Kasu Mala with a pendant
- Choker Kasu Mala
The necklace is worn by women of all ages. This timeless classic is most of the time a part of the bridal jewellery in the traditional Hindu weddings held in Kerala and rest of South India. The length of the necklace and the design chosen could vary depending on the personal taste.
Traditional gold jewellery, as you already know, is made of pure gold. The mind-blowing craftsmanship and exotic designs are the main reasons behind the popularity of South Indian designs within the country and all over the world.
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