Tribal jewelry of Himachal Pradesh

photo source

Today I want to write about tribal jewelry of another region of India, Himachal Pradesh. This area is inhabited by the Buddhist of Lahul and Spiti, the Hindu Gujjar and Bakarwal nomads, and the Hindus of Kullu and Chamba. Designs of many ornaments here is of Indian origin mingled with those of Tibet. Many jewelry motifs are inspired by nature: a flower of lotus, leaves of a pipal tree, a tiger's head.
One of the most popular ornament in Himachal Pradesh is a head ornament. The most common one is the bindi which has a central pendant hanging from the parting of the hair and silver chains extending on both sides upto the ear. A set of attractive items for the forehead is called shringar-patti. It includes a fringe worn on either side of the face, consisting of a star or geometrical shaped pieces linking to each other. Hung from it are pipal leaves or stars or drops. There are also moon or crescent shaped plaques sometimes enameled, suspended on to the middle forehead.

Shringar-patti ornament

Mulmentho ornament. photos from  here

Women in Chamba wear a long silver chain round the head called shangli. Chudamani is another gorgeous head ornament in the shape of a lotus flower worn at the parting of the hair. Gaddi women wear an ornament called chak on their head. It is a silver domed top-of-head ornament which has a dozen varieties: where several round beads are hung at the edge with silver chains it is chak-boron-wala; when coloured enameling is done on it it becomes chak-meenawala; when two additional side-of-head domes are linked to the main chak it is chak-phul. This ornament is normally isn't visible as it is covered by a head cloth. Gaddi also wear a silver forehead jewelry chiri-tikka, chiri means bird. Gujjar women's head ornament is called sirka chamkuli. It is worn in pairs at the sides of the head with its end hooks fixed in the head cloth.

Gujjar woman wearing sirka chamkuli. Photo from  here

A woman from Chamba, chirri-tikka on her forehead. Photo from here

A woman from Lahaul-Spiti region. Photo source 

An interesting ornament is worn by married women of Kinnaur. It is called khul-kantaie and consists of several, often a couple of dozen, large earrings worn hanging down from the hair over the ears mounted on a strap of cloth. Another amazing side-of-face ornament is mool-u or mulmentho, multi-joined chains with numerous pipal leaf shaped pendants. Also a special ornament here is digra, a decorated shawl pin consisting of a parallelogram silver plaque with fine carving on it and a silver chain to connect the two opposite corners of the digra. Women of Spiti region also wear silver shawl fibula. The three circular forms of it symbolize the three gems of Buddhism.

Women from Kinnaur. Photo  source

Himachali silver fibula. Photo from here

One typical for Himachal Pradesh necklace is a choker called kach composed of several silver beads and two triangular shaped silver plaques. A coin necklace chandramalang is also popular in this region. Buddhist women as those in Tibet wear amulet containers gau of various shapes, sizes (some are really large) and designs, mostly in silver but golden one also can be seen.
Typical Himachali bangle is called kangan, it is thinner and plainer in the middle but widens towards the two ends which are engraved into heads of crocodiles, tigers, elephants. In Chamba the middle part of the bangle is twisted together to make it into a creeper and is called gokhru after a local thorny plant.

A woman from Lahaul-Spiti region wearing a silver shawl fibula, a gold amulet container and an enormous silver charm box.

A groom's crown. Photo source

Hindu grooms of Himachal Pradesh wear an interesting silver crown. It is tied to the head by the attached silver chains. Such crowns are owned by bankers, money lenders and goldsmiths who rent them out for the occasion. Each panel bears a representation of an important Hindu deity. Their represented presence at the wedding is considered auspicious.

photo source

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Related posts Tribal jewelry and adornments of Arunachal Pradesh
Tribal jewelry of Rajasthan


  1. Wow, what a fascinating post. I absolutely love tribal jewelry but am ashamed to say that I know very little about it, so many thanks for a very informative read.
    Hope you are having a fab weekend...xXx

  2. Indian jewellery is an inspiration for all of the world as we are famous as the world's highest gold consuming nation.Our every religious customs can be done without wearing jewellery.

  3. Good information dear. some latest and beautiful Indian Jewelery Designs to share

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  7. I thank the writer of this blog for sharing this interesting and important piece of information about jewelry of Himachal Pradesh.

  8. very good informative blog. wish you write more such blog?