Humans started to adorn their bodies with jewelry even before they discovered metal. Seashells, bones, animal skulls to twigs, and stones were turned into jewelry to accessorize. Evidence unearthed in 2013, reveals that even Neanderthals indulged in the beauty of jewelry.
In India, one of the most unique, eclectic, and quirky styles of jewelry comes from the nomadic tribes of the Indus Valley – The Banjaras. Banjara tribes are infamous for their love for vivid colors and bling. The lifeless deserts of Rajasthan come to life when they twirl in their colorful Phetiya (skirt) with glimmering mirror work, patchwork, and embroidery. However, what charms us the most is the clanking of their eclectic jewelry.
So, let’s take a look at the different types of jewelry worn by the Banjaras –
- Pawlar Haar or Haasli (Necklace)
The Banjara tribes are mostly deprived of worldly pleasures and live destitutely, but that doesn’t stop them from looking and feeling like Queens and Kings of the desert with heavy neckpieces. These magnificent necklaces are surprisingly made out of rupee coins, some dating from the 18th century even. The necklaces also feature metal tubes, beads, and bells to create stunners.
Hasli, on the other hand, is a bold collar necklace that features a hollow metal tube around the neck. The tube tapers towards the ends and is the thickest in the center. The hasli may or may not have pendants attached to the tube or have various carvings and decorations on the tube itself.
- Bhuriya (Nose ring)
Bhuriya is a golden nose ring that is only worn by married women of the tribe. They are usually worn on the left side of the nose. It is not an uncommon sight to see these women wearing more than one ring on their noses. Some even sport septum rings.
- Kasotia (armlets)
Armlets made of silver or metal alloy decorate the arms of Banjaras like warriors. However, another style of armlet is which weaves colorful threads, leather bands, beads, shells, pompoms, and bells into an exquisite armlet is also worn widely by the girls and women to match their colorful attire.
- Kolda (ankle rings)
It is almost impossible to spot a Banjara woman with bare ankles. Kolda ankle rings are again hollow tubes of silver or metal alloy. They are bent around the ankles to fit perfectly. The metal is usually engraved with intricate designs. Women often stack a few ankle rings together or use long metal tubes that can be wound up multiple times for a thicker ring.
- The Ghoogri and Chotla
The Ghoogri is sported by married women and looks like a huge circular piece of silver or metal that sits right above the Chotla. The Chotla is an enormous, chunky hair accessory that closely resembles an earring and is made out of silver or metal alloy. They are usually weaved into braids. Women only make these accessories out of their hair during their weekly or bi-weekly hair wash ritual.
At Kessa wear, our genius jewelry designers have gone through years of history associated with the Banjara tribe and their love for jewels. We have also interacted with these carefree tribes who gave us a lesson on how to live life carefree and add a little sparkle to it with jewelry. Our range of Banjara jewelry captures the essence and aesthetics of the Banjara Tribe and infuses a bit of modern style.