Revisiting 7 ancient Indian beauty rituals for your body, mind and soul Advertisement

Revisiting 7 ancient Indian beauty rituals for your body, mind and soul

By ELLE team  December 10th, 2018

Revive the essence of Indian rituals that have been nourished by centuries-old traditions

Floral Legend

Considered pure and auspicious, the jasmine flower has always held a very important position in the Vedas. While jasmine strings are a common sight in the country, wrapping a few around a plait or a bun leaves hair naturally perfumed. Not only is the fragrance a mood-lifter, it’s also known to be an aphrodisiac.

Silk saree, Akaaro. 22K gold and diamond earrings, Zoya Jewels. 22K gold and diamond necklace, Tyaani Jewellery


Keep Guard

The ancient text of Indian medicine, Charak Samhita sings praises of herb-infused hair oils that protect against greys, hair loss, and improve hair strength. Even though we spent our childhood fighting oil massages and long plaits, this age-old ritual keeps hair nourished and prevents damage.

Cotton blouse, Kanelle. Cotton saree, Torani. Sterling silver earrings, nose pin and hairpin; all Lai Designs

Focal Point

Rooted in the Hindu tradition, the bindi is commonly associated with the ‘inner third eye’. Wearing a red dot between the brows is believed to improve concentration and retain the body’s energy. Most women and men still draw it the customary way with kumkum powder and sandalwood paste.

From left, on Shetty: Cotton top, Saaksha & Kinni. Handloom cotton saree, Anju Modi. Sterling silver earrings, Lai Designs. On Monteiro: Silk blouse, Torani. Linen saree, Kanelle. 22K gold necklace, Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery. Sterling silver nose pin, Lai Designs. On Shirodkar: Silk blouse and saree, Anavila. 22K gold necklace and bangles, OM Jewellers


Subtle Hints

The prevalence of ornamental hair accessories dates back to the Indus Valley civilisation, when women dressed their elaborate hairstyles with ivory combs, strings of beads, and ornate pins. The beauty lay in  the simplicity of the jewellery and the intricacy of the braids.

Brocade blouse, Anju Modi. Linen saree, Anavila. Embroidered chiffon dupatta, Tarun Tahiliani. Metal hairpins, Nicobar. Brass- and gold-plated hairpins, Roma Narsinghani. Handcrafted gold and mosaic earrings, Shachee Fine Jewellery

Pattern Play

An anomaly at modern Hindu wedding, alta (a deep red dye) dates back to Vedic times, and it was actually a precursor to henna. The dye was traditionally created with betel leaves or sindoor, and women lined their feet and hands with it as a symbol of prosperity and fertility.

Silk top, Payal Khandwala. Cotton dhoti, Anju Modi. Sterling silver ring and arm cuff, Lai Designs

Dark Veil

Kohl is the OG smoky eye style that continues to be an ubiquitous look. Conventionally made with sandalwood oil, ghee, castor oil, a mud lamp and a brass bowl, the sooty paste has antibacterial benefits that protect the eyes.

Silk blouse, Torani. Silk saree, Ekaya. Silverplated earrings, Mrinalini Chandra. 18K gold and pearl necklace, Renu Oberoi Luxury Jewellery. Gold, pearl and ruby bracelet, OM Jewellers

The practice of applying sandalwood paste on the forehead is a distinctive Ayurvedic ritual to cool the body and increase mental alertness

Silk saree, Ekaya; 22K gold earrings, Zoya Jewels; 22K gold-plated bangles, Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery; Gold-plated sterling silver nose pin, Lai Designs; Wooden bangles, stylist’s own

Photographs: Taras Taraporvala
Hair and make-up: Mitesh Rajani
Styling: Divyak D’souza/Inega
Models: Rashmi Mann; Scarlet Achangada And Yvonne Monteiro Feat. Artists; Sam Shirodkar and Sumaya Hazarika/ Anima
Creative Management: Prathiksha Shetty/ Faze Management; Archana Akhil Kumar; Sonali Singh And Priyadarshini Chatterjee/Inega
Assisted by: Khushi Bhatia, Keyuri Sangoi (Styling)