Topor, Mukuts and other Embellishments for the Bengali Bride and Groom

Topors, mukuts and ornaments form a huge part of Bengali matrimonials and they elevate the look of the bride and groom and add some great glamour and colour to the wedding ceremony.

Topor — the traditional headgear for the Bengali groom

The Topor is the conventional headgear of the Bengali groom that is worn in Bengali weddings. It is usually white in colour, and is made from sholapith, which is the sponge wood plant or the cork tree. Since it is made from a tree, it is quite fragile and can be easily burnt.

The topor is known as a mukut in Hindu cultures. These are crafted by artisans who are called Malakars. Sometimes, the Topor is made of natural Shola while in some shops you will find it to be of an artificial material. The artisans use a kath or a specialised knife to craft designs on the Topor.

Historical Significance:

According to a legend, the Topor was created because lord Shiva wanted a special crown for his wedding ceremony. He commissioned his artiste Vishvakarma to create a headgear especially for him. Visvakarma was used to handling only hard materials so was unable to complete the job. The Lord summoned a young handsome man named Malakar to make the gear using shola. Since then, the Topor is used extensively in Hindu weddings.

Importance of the Topor:

Topors made of Shola have a significant importance in Bengali matrimonials as they are known to bring good luck. As per tradition, the groom must receive the topor from the bride’s side, usually from the father-in-law and it is worn before the wedding takes place.

Conventionally, it is said that if the topor of any other accessory made of Shola breaks, it must be cast in water. According to tradition, the topor and accessories are emerged [a1] in a pond so that no one can destroy them. If a topor accidently catches fire, it is considered bad luck for the couple.

This beautiful and symbolic topor is a must for every Bengali groom and it enhances the look and the attire of the groom.

Bengali Brides:

Bengali women are extremely charming with their lovely long black hair, deep eyes and intricate features. They have a unique style of draping sarees that adds to their traditional look and gives them a complete homely touch. Bengalis have a wonderful way to pamper the bride-to-be and make her feel and look like a real-life princess. Bengalis are also extremely artistic and therefore, they shower the brides with decorative ornaments and various gifts and sarees as well.

The families also prepare a number of special dishes that the bride loves to eat. A fish delicacy is usually served before the wedding to friends and family along with some delicious Bengali sweets. In the shakha-paula ceremony, the bride has to wear one pair of red and white bangles and the bride’s family goes to the river Ganga to pray for a happy married life for the bride and groom.

The fascination with red colour:

If you notice, most Bengalis are extremely fond of the red colour and they wear red and white for most of their celebrations. Similarly, during weddings, the Bengali brides wear red, pink or maroon sarees. The banarasi silk is extremely popular amongst Bengali brides. The traditional wedding saree of a Bengali bride is white with a red or pink border. Sometimes, the bride wears a bright red gold saree with zari work or a gold border. Other popular sarees for Bengalis include kantha work, and hand crafted silk sarees with ancient prints and designs.

The love for jewellery:

The Bengali brides look even more stunning and gorgeous with the traditional jewellery that may have been passed on from their mothers or grandmothers. A lot of special jewellery is also made to order depending on the bride’s status and liking. In the Bengali culture, bangles hold a lot of importance and therefore, brides are seen wearing numerous bangles on their big day. These are customary and extremely traditional, known as nowa, ruli, etc.

The Bengali bride also wears heavy necklaces with wonderful designs of drops, butterflies, peacocks and semi-circles with pearls. She also wears a lot of gold chains and rings on her wedding day.

The bride needs to tie her hair up in a gorgeous bun which can be adorned by shimmering accessories. She has to then add a veil over her head with a final finish of the mukut as the head gear. The mukut is usually available in different shapes and with various designs. This is a compulsory piece of ornament for the Bengali bride and it must be worn during the wedding ceremony.