Mangalasutra designs in South India

Mangalasutra designs in South India

Coorgi MangalsutraIyer and Iyengar Thaali

‘The sacred knot’ or the Mangala Sutra, also known in the South as ‘Thaali’ is the most Important symbol of an Indian  married woman in the North, West, East and most significantly South India, in both Brahmin and non-brahmin weddings. While the toe-rings, the red sacred powder, ‘Kumkum’ also are equally Important, the sacred thread or chain called ‘Mangala Sutra’ is the one that actually transforms the hitherto ‘Single’ status of the girl to a ‘Married woman’ or ‘wife’ of someone’!

Marathi MangalsutraMushti Kanti Mangalore

We normally refer to a wedding like this ‘The two have decided to tie the knot’ figuratively it refers to the sacred bonding for Life, together in pain and pleasure, in disease and well-being. Specifically though the turmeric dipped sacred ‘Thaali’  (in the South), is the first , sentimental , Vedic-rich Intimate touch  of the groom and the bride, when normally, the bride’s father gives away the bride in holy matrimony, to the man who becomes her husband, her partner and protector , for Life! This ritual is called ‘Kanyadan’ or ‘Kanyadaanam’ ( Tamil), which means giving away the daughter by the father. At weddings, especially in the South, it is the most awaited moment, by the bride’s parents, groom ‘s parents, as well as all the kith and kin present at the wedding Hall. The moment of hysteric and feverish excitement, with tears welling the eyes of the bride’ s mother , her close friends, and the bride herself are worth a watch! also there is a drastic twist in the note played by the musicians on the Nadaswaram, the beats  on the accompanying pair of drums ( called the ‘Thavil) have a particular moment of loudness ( as signalled by the Pundit or Poojari or the vadiyar who conducts the rituals). And yes! it has been tied around the bejeweled and heavily garlanded neck of the bride, and everyone is clapping, wishing each other, congratulations pouring from all the sides , and well-wishers and elders sprinkle rice grains soaked in haldi, or turmeric and Vermilon ( Kumkum or red sacred powder), to offer their love, blessings to the newly wed couple! Soon after the three knots are tied ( In  Brahmin Weddings, the first knot is tied by the groom and the rest 2 are tied by the sisters of the groom , further strengthening the bond with the new addition to their family). If the groom has one sister, she ties both the knots, and if he has two sisters they share the remaining two. If the groom is a single child with no siblings, then his cousin sisters get the right to tie the remaining knots!

Syrian Christian thaliTelugu Thaali

Soon after the thread with a holy pendant in gold ( the thaali) is tied, the groom puts around his brand new wife’s neck , yet another gold thaali where the chain is in pure gold with some opting for traditional designs, and others going for fashionable patterns of the chain, but the pendent or the locket remains the same for each caste conforming to its specifications! It is Indeed Interesting to understand and examine the differences in the Mangala Sutra patterns of different regions across India!

Before we examine the differences in the designs, it is critical to understand the Importance of ‘The Mangala Sutra’ or ‘Thaali’
Thaali being tied

The phrase ‘three knot tie’ literally means’ ‘an auspicious thread which is knotted around the bride’s neck’. It is usually a gold pendant strung from a yellow thread prepared with turmeric, a string of black beads or simply a gold chain. It is comparable to the wedding ring of the West. A married woman is expected to wear this thread and is the most important part of a Hindu marriage ceremony.

It is called Mangala Sutra in Maharashtra, தாலி (thaali) in Tamil, ತಾಳಿ (thaali) or ಮಾಂಗಲ್ಯ (Mangalyasutra) in Kannada and thaali (తాళి), maangalyamu (మాంగళ్యము), Mangalasutramu (మంగళసూత్రము) or pustelu (పుస్తెలు) in Telugu. Konkanis (Goansand others) wear three necklaces around their necks referred to as “Dhaaremani” or “Muhurtmani” (big golden bead), “Mangalasutra” with one or two gold discs and “Kasithaali” with gold and coral beads. In Malayalam it is simply referred to as “Thaali” in general and “Minnu” by Syrian Christians.

A ‘Thaali’ ( or “Minnu”) is also worn by the brides of Kerala’s Syrian Christian community. An engraving of the holy spirit is a distinguishing feature of the Syrian Christian Minnu. According to tradition, the families of the bride and the bridegroom contribute a piece of gold and melt it with the help of the family goldsmith. This is then used to make the rest of the necklace. The process of tying is assisted by a sister of the groom, as it is with other Hindu communities. During the wedding ceremony, the Minnu is held on and tied using a braided thread made by twisting together seven threads taken from the Manthrakodi (wedding saree).

The practice of wearing a mangala sutra is mainly followed in western Indian and south Indian states.
The Kashmiri Pandits have the distinction of being one of the few Hindu communities that does not have the Thaali as part of its wedding ritual.

Adi Shankara and Mangala Sutra

In his  famous book Soundarya Lahari  Adi Shankara has mentioned that as per Hindu cultural ethos, the Mangala sutra symbolizes the inseparable bond between a husband and a wife. During the wedding ceremony, the bridegroom ties the Mangala sutra to the neck of the bride uttering- “May you live long by wearing this sacred Mangal sutra, the reason of my life”. Married women are entitled to wear a Mangala sutra throughout their life as it is believed that the practice enhances the well-being of her husband and family. It is also believed that the Mangala sutra protects the marriage from any evil. Three knots symbolize three different aspects of a married woman – the first knot represents her obedience to her husband, the second to his parents and the third represents her respect for God.

Design Variations in Mangala Sutra region-wise: It is very Interesting to see the differences in the design patterns of Mangala Sutra chains across our country. While the Maharashtrian ‘Thaali’ or ‘Mangal Sutra’ is Intricately woven around black beads, and has two gold Inverted cups with  pinkish or red tiny stones on them at the centre , as a locket ( with the chain of varying length as per Individual choice), the South Indian Brahmin Thaali’ in Iyers  (followers of Lord Shiva), has a ‘Shivalingam’ on one said of the dome shaped pendant, and  next to it the figure of Madurai Meenakshi amman or goddess who symbolizes a perfect and holy matrimony with her husband Lord Sundareswarar, and in Vaishnavites or the Iyengars the dome shaped pendant is the same, but has the figurines of  ‘Sangu’ ( conch shell) and ‘Chakram’ ( the wheel), these symbolize the elegant arms of Lord Vishnu, and also has Goddess Lakshmi who is his wife.  The Chettiars are a Shaivite sect of merchants in Tamil Nadu, the central pendant (thaali) depicts Shiva with his consort Parvati.  The Mangalorean ‘Thaali’  has most definitely black beads woven on a gold chain and is alternated with either rounded or oval shaped Corals ( red, precious beads). The ‘Thaali ‘ of the Karnataka brides is similar with black beads and gold with a pendant, and may either have corals or not. The ‘Karnataka’ Mangal Sutra of the Smartha and Madhwa Brahmins bear a striking resemblance to the Maharashtrian Thaali,  since  Pandharpur, Belgaum, etc are on Maharashtra border, so  most customs are similar, like the  green glass bangles, along with her gold bangles, worn  by the bride on the wedding day. The ‘Coorgi’ thaali is very very majestic and typical band-like chain with huge rounded beads that symbolize the ‘Malanad  or Kodagu Warrior ‘ community.  The Thaali is called ‘Pathaak’ and it is tied by the bride’s mother around the bride’s neck. The Kerala bride usually wears a simple ‘Thaali’ in gold with a tiny leaf as its pendant, and the figurine of baby Krishna at the center ( Krishna is the undisputed Lord for the Keralites). The Syrian Christians of  Kerala also adorn a thaali besides the wedding ring, but with a cross at the center.

The essence of Mangala Sutra or Thaali:  Whatever be the design or figurines Inscribed on the sacred chain worn by a bride on her wedding day, called the ‘Mangala Sutra’ or ‘Thaali’ the underlying essence is the bonding of the bride  with her spouse for life, in the best or worst situation.
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Top Marriage Halls In Chennai

Best Marriage Halls in Chennai

Chennai has become a major hub for grand and expensive marriages these days. Be it in a banquet hall or a farm house, [Click here for some of the best halls in the city] South Indians have developed a flair for wedding celebrations. Chennaihalls.in has come up with a brief about some of the well known and best marriage halls in Chennai.

Shri Vaaru Venkatachalapathy Palace

Shri Vaaru Venkatachalapathy Palace is one of the largest marriage halls in Chennai with a 50,000 sqft area. The hall is equipped with centralized A/C and other state of the art facilities where a variety of events can take place like trade fairs, exhibits, corporate parties and weddings. The dining hall is split into two which can accommodate 700 guests at a time.

Largest parking facility in Chennai

The most surprising a rarest facility here in Shri Vaaru Venkatachalapathy Palace is the car parking facility with 1000 car park spaces. The weddings hall is surrounded by breathtaking landscape with a large fountain and greenery. Weddings with buffet arrangement can utilize the large lawn for a sumptuous spread of feast.

Uninterruptible Power Supply

Generator power supply for undisrupted celebrations! The hall is equipped with CCTVs for 24/7 surveillance.

Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Mandapam ( MRC Hall )

MRC Mandapam located in RA Puram, one of the best marriage halls in Chennai
MRC Hall located in RA Puram

Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Hall is one of the star studded marriage halls in Chennai. The hall is equipped with state of the art facilities like sound system, projectors and centralized air conditioning. Valet parking is available upon request and a car park space of approx 300 and above is available. The property has two halls, one bigger than the other.

Luxurious facilities

Both have huge dining areas. Along with the hall, the property offers 6 rooms for the bride and groom’s family upon request. All the rooms are luxurious and maintained well.

Personal security for the bride and groom

The speciality in this marriage hall in Chennai, is that they provide security personnel for the bride and the groom! Location is key. Situated in one of the finest areas in Chennai, your guests will be pleased to attend your wedding!





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Buzz in the Gourmet supply chain!

 

Is it a fact that the Indian food industry is way behind the developed countries in all aspects? Where do we start? Packing, hygiene, quality of vendors, consistency of supply and so on. Hoteliers are keen on  quality of the produce and constantly pushing their vendors to be at their best. When the vendors can’t hit the critical quality – some groups like The Oberoi produces its own home-grown fruits and vegetables just how the fast food giant McDonalds does for their potatoes. More so getting the quality cheese has always been a challenge, hence the industry heavily rely on the European sources. While the fresh vegetables, cheese and meat are up for a toss- the cold chain supply chain is not great news either. Groups like The Ashoka do not mind investing or paying higher price to pick vendors who are technically equipped. However not just a great database management system, and an uniform quality food supply could bring a new dawn – but one would need a quality man power, enable technology and also the hotels should be flexible with the new entrants in the local market- it will not only get the new vendors to be at the best but they will also ensure a constant quality supply, as far as they don’t overcook themselves on the orders.

Sit-down Meal or Buffet Style

The importance of food in a wedding

Indian weddings have special affinity towards food and like our elders say “The most remembered aspect of the wedding is FOOD and only then come the bride and groom”. Therefore it is vital for you as a couple to decide upon what kind of food, the seating and arrangements that will be required before fixing the wedding venue.

Sit-down Meal or Buffet Style

Its an age old debate as to what kind of food arrangement needs to be put up in Indian weddings. However, the influence of the west has made this decision less complicated. Many Indian families opt for buffet system as it may seem hassle-free and comfortable. But let us get a lil deeper into this topic so that you can decide for yourself as to what you want in your wedding.

The food arrangement, be it buffet or dining, it has to have both the couples’ taste and favourites. This way there is no difference in opinion and everyone is happy!

The sit and dine style has been in Indian weddings ever since its inception. It is traditional and a formal affair. The menu is preset and serving staff serve this menu to all the guests seated. Usually, the food is served on plantain leaf to enjoy the food’s taste to its fullest. Nevertheless, nowadays, faux plantain leaves and disposables are available for more durability. This style of seating requires long term planning and proper set up at the wedding venue.

The advantages of the traditional sit and dine style

This style is definitely more traditional. Many elders prefer this style of eating as they don’t have to wait for their turn in long line ups. The food is served to them just like at home.

Because the menu is preset, the guest don’t have to worry about what they have to eat next. Everything is already decided for them.

This type of food arrangement allows the caterers to manage the guests accordingly as the food is served to many guests at the same time. This way the reception takes place without any hassle.

The disadvantages of the traditional sit and dine style

The traditional dining style could work out to be a little expensive. The venue decision depends on this as it has to accommodate this type of food arrangement. Some venues might not have a large enough kitchen to serve dine-in.

Serving staff need to be on their heels to serve every guest promptly. Also, the serving staff will be more in number when compared to buffet.

There is no much choice of food for the guests as the menu is preset. Therefore, there are chances of wastage. Some people might get served everything but will prefer eating only less.Therefore a lot of food could get wasted.

Buffet Style

This type of food arrangement has been a recent addition to Indian weddings, inspired from the west. This style of food serving allows the guests to serve their favourite food item from the menu on their own or with the help of a serving staff. This provides more of a casual feel to the wedding and can adapt to any style of wedding be it a Muslim wedding, Christian or Hindu.

The advantages of the buffet style

This style of food arrangement can be cost effective if you choose to hire necessary number of serving staff.

A buffet system has less chance of food wastage as the guests get to choose what they want rather than give them a preset menu.

The options are wide open. The couple can choose the menu according to both their taste and incorporate both their favourite dishes in the menu.You can have two entrees, three appetizers, two mains and various desserts. This way the menu has more options and guests get to taste a little of everything.

The disadvantages of the buffet style

The cost really depends on the type of food you choose. Expensive food is always expensive no matter how much you try to cut down the cost, especially if you variety to the menu.

Elders and physically challenged people might find it difficult to eat while constantly holding the plates in their hands. A special arrangement has to be done for them.

If you have invited too many people and their plus ones have rocketed beyond the roof, there might not be adequate food to serve. Especially if the craters are bring the food from elsewhere. You don’t want unhappy guests, do you?

 Indian weddings are very particular about the food served as that is one aspect everyone remembers. No matter how grand the wedding is, if the food goes wrong, people can’t keep shut about it for years to come. So keep a watchful eye before deciding what kind of food arrangement you want at your wedding and make sure you taste the food before hiring the caterer!

ITC Grand Chola

ITC Grand Chola

ITC Grand chola is the 3rd largest hotel in India which is spread over 1,600,000 sq ft, over 600 rooms, 10 restaurants, a column less banquet hall which is 30,000 sq ft which can accommodate over 2000 guest at theatre style, ITC Grand chola is the first hotel in India to use IPADS as in-room controller to opening the door to switching off/on the light, browsing on the television while using the IPAD as your keyboard, the placing of room service orders to the opening of the door itself or viewing the guest through your IPAD who is waiting at the door.   The total investment for the project was over Rs 10,000 Crore.

The Rajendra Hall- Ur Hall Ur Price
The ITC Grand Chola Chennai

The hotel is built in Dravidian architecture with the entrances similar to that of the temples of south India, The Grand Chola name itself derived from the The Cholan dynasty ruled this part of TN many centuries ago. The hotel stands tall with over 50 meters to its dome from the ground level with over 450 pillars and a bronze horse in the entrance to mark the chariots of Cholan emperor.  The hotel is also consider as the largest green hotel with over 390 sq m of planter area. With such key features – The ITC Grand Chola Hotel stands second to none.

The Rajendra Hall - Chennaihalls
The Rajendra Hall – ITC Grand Chola

As you walk the hotel and climb the epic stairs – you will reach Kaya Kalp – The spa, with is the highest standard of luxury offers a mind blowing experience and remarkable therapies. Madras Pavilion is the public favourite restaurant located In the zero level offers three course buffet during dinner, lunch and breakfast. The menu comprises a wide range of Indian and International cuisines with many live counters.

Right next to the Madras Pavilion you will find the Cafe Mercara Express which serves a la carte menu with specializes in gourmet snacks and its coffe menu. Then the Peshawari – ITC’s signature restaurants, serves North West Frontier cuisine. At Peshawari, some dishes are cooked more for more than a day before it is served hot….

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