Banjara Women Jewelry



Banjaras are the original inhabitants of Rajasthan, their colorful dresses and jingling jewelry often draws our attention. Residing amidst the vast, arid deserts of Rajasthan in India, they somehow have kept their tradition of colorful garments and charming jewelry alive till today. The Banjaras are a nomadic people. They descended from the gypsies of Europe thousands of years ago and migrated through the rugged mountains of Afghanistan to finally settle down in the deserts of Rajasthan. Even though ages have passed, the Banjara women have kept themselves strongly rooted to their culture. They are perhaps the most colorful and elaborate of any tribal group in India. Undoubtedly, their dress and jewelry sets them apart from all others.

Their long, wavy skirts still glow with ornate embroidery, mirror work and vibrant colors. Their heads are covered with mantles (odhnis) that are long enough to drape their backs and stretch till their feet. These are also heavily embroidered and studded with little mirrors. Their blouses (cholis) are lavish in design and cut. A variety of materials - silver, brass, some gold, cowries, ivory, and animal bone are used in the making of a Banjara wardrobe.

The desert beauties also adorn themselves with beautifully hand crafted metal jewelry.

They wear pretty silver anklets that tinkle as they walk barefoot across the hot sands of the desert. Long silver earrings are prominent, and patterned cowrie shells decorate their hair. Cowries are also worn on their wrists and ankles. The hundreds of cowries that the Banjara tribal women wear are very auspicious as they represent Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity.

The Banjara people are counted among the protected tribes of India.

Their way of dressing, impressive colors, handmade jewelry, embroidered fabric has traversed across borders and are the favorites of all handicraft lovers. Banjara style ghagra, choli and their tribal jewelry are hot fashion couture. From walking the dry deserts of India, their handicrafts have made it to the world of international fashion.

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