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 A Marriage of Equals

When the artistic and the auspicious merge

A marriage may be conceived in heaven. But all the detailing takes place on earth.

The Kodavas of Coorg have long distinguished themselves as a unique community with distinct customs, language and traditions. Kodava marriages are a case in point, known for their elaborate rituals, striking ceremonies and exquisite wedding wear informed by an ethnic aesthetic and consciousness. The bridal wear and the details of its donning make up for a dress code unique to this community.

When it comes to wedding finery the focus is upon the bride who symbolizes life and its continuity. The different items of jewelry she wears on her wedding are all crafted with a certain significance in mind. The gods of fertility, wealth, beauty and courage are all honored through these finely crafted pieces made of gold, silver and gems.

Kodava bridal jewelry is a treasury of bangles, necklaces, head and foot ornaments, each with their own place in the scheme of things.

The Jomale is a necklace and an unusual piece of finely crafted jewelry. It consists of gold and black beads that are grooved and strung on a black cord about 70 cms long in two distinct rows. The hollow beads are filled with a resin called lac. While traditionally the cord on which these beads were strung was black, today they are of multiple strands and colors to keep pace with fashion trends.

This remarkable necklace represents a propitious conjoining of craft with tradition, ceremony with community and inspiration with innovation. In other words, the Jomale is born out of a happy marriage of equals.

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