21 Ways to Wear Tikkas and Jhumars

2014 Oct 5 - by Shriya
Indian bridal outfits are commonly accessorized with tikkas on a woman's forehead. While they do look bedazzling, mang tikkas - the chain and pendant set worn by many South Asian brides - also serve a spiritual purpose at religious ceremonies. They represent the wisdom a bride carries into her marriage, as symbolized by the wearing of the tikka right above the brides' eyebrows, at her temple. They are also meant to protect the bride from bad energy.

With such important religious and fashion components, Indian tikkas and Pakistani jhumars are styled into bridal jewelry to best suit an outfit. We've compiled a list of 21 different ways the jeweled pendant can be worn on the big day:

The Single Strand, Sirmaang, from Divya and Priyank's Marwari Wedding

A simple mang tikka can hang from a gold chain right above the bride's forehead. For aesthetic symmetry, the chain can lay across the bride's hair part and the pendant can lay right where the forehead meets the hairline. This tikka has a small jhumka (umbrella or bell) on the end.

The Dauni Double Strand Maang Tikka by Divine Method Photography

The dauni is made of two elaborate chains (in this case, gold beads) that join at the forehead with a tikka, and then fall by the hairline.

The Modern Double Mang Tikka, from Pinterest

For a regal look, the mang or chain of the tikka can be doubled up to spread out across the top of the bride's head, similar to a dauni. This adds an extra level of reinforcement which allows for heavier pendants and also other dangling jewels and gems - such as the pearls in this piece.

The Side Tikka, from Malinder Kaur Photography

tikka can also be laid apart from the bride's hairline, laying parallel to the side part instead. This look allows the bride to part her hair in different ways while still showing off a dazzling hair piece. It adds a unique asymmetry to the look that draws attention to the pendant.

The Hairline Hugger, from Farha and Raza's Chicago Muslim Wedding

A double-chained tikka like this one has a chain that hangs right below the bride's hairline. The main chain, which leads to the pendant, can fall along with the part in her hair. The beauty of this tikka is the sparkle and attention it draws as it surrounds the bride's face.

The Multi-Chain Tikka, from Dia Mirza as Meena Kumari

Multiple chains can surround a bride's hair in this extravagant tikka look. The kundan-set gemstones are reminiscent of Mughal times, and Mirza looks regal in this heavily jeweled look. The multiple chains allow for a simpler hairdo and can hold up a heavier pendant.

The Hidden Mang, from Kirti and Sandeep's Fusion Wedding

The chain of the tikka can be hidden underneath styled hair, so that the pendant hangs right below the bride's hairline. This look is subtle, as the tikka almost looks like a fancy 3-D bindi - but it's secured in place and less likely to fall out of hair. It's a simple way to style a tikka into a bridal outfit.

The Pure Gold Tikka

This simple piece allows the gold to speak for itself - it is the core accessory with matching jewelry and earrings. A gold tikka draws attention to the bright red of this bride's outfit, and it adds a timeless elegance to her look.

The Multi-Strand Tikka

This tikka encircles the bride's head and creates a net of fabulous jewels and sparkles. It has multiple chains, which all support the multi-faceted tikka in the center. This look is a statement piece, which highlights the bride's bold accessories and calls focus to her face.

The South-Indian Style, from Tanishq Bridal Jewelry

South Indian tikkas have a thick band (mathapatti) that hang against the bride's hairline. They are often decorated with gold, red, and green colors - also commonly found in a bride's saree. The circular tikkas on the top of the head represent the sun (suriyan) on the right side and moon (santiran) on the left side. These ornaments are pinned directly into the hair, behind the larger jewelry. The whole set is known as thalai saman or thalaikkachchu.

The Maharashtrian Style, from Priyanka and Sandesh's Wedding

A Maharashtrian bride wears a headpiece made of blessed string, and her tikka is worn to complement this traditional look. The tikka is often worn in a single strand, so that the pendant hangs right above where the headpiece begins. This style allows a Maharashtrian bride to show off her beautiful mang tikka while still wearing her religious headpiece.

The Hijab and Tikka, from Asma and Mohammad's Saudi-Palestinian Wedding

This look incorporates both a hijab and a mang tikka. The simple gold mang tikka isn't hidden by the hijab, but rather works with it. By hanging the tikka over the headscarf, the jewelry still stands out in all its beauty. The gold in the tikka and other jewelry also happens to match perfectly with the details in the bride's outfit.

The Rabari Tribal Tikka, from Before They Pass by Jimmy Nelson

The Rabari tribe in Northern India are known for their elaborate, handmade embroidery and patchwork. Their jewelry, as seen in the picture, is also handmade and locally sourced. This asymmetrical tikka reflects the hard work that went into the creation of the piece and the deep silver chains are a rustic tribute to the village. The tikka is paired with more unique necklaces and bangles - not so much "statement" as they are a part of this under-appreciated culture.

The Drape-Style (Mor Patti) Tikka

This beautiful, draping tikka style is made with pachchikam jewelry from the 16th century. The center tikka is called a borla, and the chains are heavily accessorized with beads to match the earrings attached to them. This style frames the bride's face and creates a halo of vintage elegance.

The Side Maang

The side-swooped chain on this mang tikka is a stunning and unique way to wear the jewelry. The look goes well with any type of hair part, since the chain does not have to align with the hair in any way. The central tikka is still the focus of the jewelry, but the elaborate chain design still stands out from a side view.

The Tiara Tikka

This tikka is perched atop a bride's wear, much like a crown or a tiara. The main focus of the jewelry is the golden chain design, which is attached to the hair in two separate strands. The tikka itself is small and simple, adding a pop of color to the otherwise pure gold piece. It definitely screams "royal."

The Headband Tikka

This design features a tightly worn and decorate chain as its main focus. The gold and red details in the chain are a classic look worn in a contemporary, headband style. The simple tikka still manages to draw attention with its bright green center jewel. This look is perfect for the modern bride who still wants to retain some traditional influences.

The Triangular Jhumar, from Naureen and Ghazaly's Wedding Reception

A jhumar is a Pakistani-style tikka worn to dangle on the side of the bride's hair. In this look, the triangular shape of the jhumar adds a glamorous touch to a gorgeous outfit. The jhumka at the bottom of the jhumar dangle along the bride's hairline, while the intricate beaded designs are still seen below the dupatta. The absence of a chain makes this tikka stand out even more.

The Chand Tikka, from Pinterest

The chand, or moon, is a common motif in Indian jewelry. For tikkas, this look is elegant without being too complicated. The kundan-like jewels are inset into a thin gold outline of a half-moon, with dangling pearls. The thin chain ensures that the focus lies on this stunning tikka.

The Jeweled Chain, from Dipti Amisha at International India Jewelers Week 2014

This piece of jewelry is more of a chain than a tikka, since it has no pendant. However, the embellishments of the chain make it an amazing accessory to any formal outfit. The dangling pendants are  made with silver and outlined by shiny red pieces that match the rest of the model's jewelry. The look is truly unique - but also tasteful.

The Full Strand, from International India Jewelers Week 2014

This is another style of tikka that is all chain, no pendant. This look features multiple, detailed jewels in polki-cuts. The three chains are asymmetrically draped across one side of the model's hair, with one even overlapping an ear. With such an elegant design and careful hanging, the tikka jewelry happens to steal the show away from the other pieces.

The Top Tikka, from International India Jewelers Week 2014

Although this tikka isn't front-facing and underneath the hairline like most, it's still a showstopper. The unique design speaks to more modern brides, who want to stand out from tradition and create their own. The mango-shaped tikka has its traditional origins, but the long, drooping gold chains add a touch of contemporary magic to the look. It's good that the headpiece steals the show, but there's always room for dangling earrings and thick necklaces too.

What are your favorite tikka looks? For more style tips, keep checking for 21 Styles Series and take a look at our 20 Desi Brides, 20 Looks article for inspiration.

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