Stars give mehnd i a hand

Sunday Tribune - - TRA VEL - | Compiled Omesh­nie Naidoo

MEHNDI, or henna, has al­ways been pop­u­lar with South African brides, but ac­tresses Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra’s vi­ral wed­ding pic­tures have spot­lighted the form of In­dian body art, which looks set for a re­vival.

Even Bol­ly­wood leg­end Amithabh Bac­chan got in on the ac­tion, pos­ing for a Kalyan Jewellers pho­to­shoot (@ kalk­i­fash­ion) re­cently, mod­elled on the mehndi cel­e­bra­tion (pic­tured).

The dec­o­ra­tive art with Ara­bic, In­dian and Pak­istani vari­ants has roots in an­cient Vedic texts. It was first used for women’s palms and later ap­plied else­where, and also used by men.

It is said that Haldi (stain­ing one­self with turmeric paste) as well as mehndi (a dye made from dried leaves of the henna plant) are Vedic cus­toms, in­tended to be a sym­bolic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the outer and in­ner sun.

Vedic cus­toms are cen­tred on “awak­en­ing the in­ner light”.

Tra­di­tional In­dian de­signs are rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the sun on the palm, which, in this con­text, is in­tended to rep­re­sent the hands and feet.

Mehndi has a great sig­nif­i­cance in clas­si­cal dance like bharat­natyam.

The pre-wed­ding mehndi party of var­i­ous groups in­volves dif­fer­ent rit­u­als but it is of­ten held a day or two be­fore the ac­tual wed­ding. It seems an ideal way to keep the bride re­laxed – there’s lit­tle to do but wait for the dye to dry.

Over­all, Chopra and Padukone seem to have cap­tured a bit of the magic of the mehndi cel­e­bra­tion in their wed­dings and the world’s at­ten­tion.

The art form looks set to be right on trend.

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