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Kolhapuri Saaj (Accoutrements)

This article is made possible by Gokhale Jewelers, Kolhapur, India. Contact Information: Vidyadhar A. Gokhale (Partner - Gokhale Jewelers), Phone Number - +91-8087355465.

Indian women are very fond of ornaments. Every region in India has a particular fashion of design which is relatively different from the other states. Kolhapur, in Southern Maharashtra is well-known for an extraordinary type of necklace called the ‘Kolhapuri Saaj’. It is very popular among women from Maharashtra and bordering Karnataka areas. While the Saaj is created in all over Maharashtra, the Kolhapuri variety is the most popular. The first artisan of Saaj remains unknown to this day.

The Saaj depicts different kinds of human emotions in its design. It includes two vatis (small bowl shaped design) which symbolize the Sun and the Moon. These two vatis together make a pendant. It is called Ghat, and is surrounded by 23 small and big Ghagris. In the center of the Ghat is placed a Manik, a precious stone depicting the power of the Sun. Krishna’s image is the design on the surface of the Ghat. It symbolizes the long life for a married woman’s husband. The intent being that the husband should live longer than the existence of the Sun and the Moon. The traditional Kolhapuri Saaj includes the shapes of Sun, Moon, Koorma, Matsya, Narasimha, the latter 3 being the incarnations of Vishnu. There are 16 other designs and all the 21 designs make the complete Kolhapuri Saaj. The Even number of parts represent completeness and the Odd number of shapes in Saaj indicate growth. So generally, women prefer 11,13,15,17,19 or 21 shapes in the Saaj.

Every shape has some special meaning hidden in it. Actually these 21 shapes are in appreciation of a woman’s husband who is like GOD to them. Whatever is good should be offered to God. Similarly these 21 golden flowers (21 shapes) are offered to God.

The meaning of 21 symbols:

  1. Chaphekali (Bud of a flower named Chapha): This flower is very beautiful. Its fragrance is sweet. It indicates highest peak of growth.
  2.  Panch Panadi (Five Holy leaves): It symbolizes five holy leaves namely Bel leaf, Tulasi leaf, Betel nut leaf, Mango leaf and Trunakur leaf.
  3. Bel Leaf: Mahadev likes this leaf very much. Bel plant has three united leaves (i.e. tripartite) which indicates three gods namely Brahma the creator, Vishnu the Cherisher and Mahesha the Destroyer.
  4. Ridged Gourd: It symbolizes all plants.
  5. Bitter Ground: It symbolizes six types of juices. It is life giving herb or medicine.
  6. Sun: Sun is one of the important Gods. Sun is symbol of splendor. The sun is beneficial to all.
  7. Manik Panadi: It is Ravi planet’s gem. It symbolizes friendship, devotional service of Master i.e. Guru and symbol of high glow
  8. Matsya: There are 10 incarnations of Vishnu. This is the first incarnation of Vishnu and symbolizes strong reproduction power.
  9. Koorma:This is the second incarnation of Vishnu. It symbolizes longevity and humbleness.
  10. Narsimha: Narsimha is the third one. Narsimha is the special incarnation who appeared for saving his dearest devotee Bhakt Prahlad.
  11. Flower: Rose flower is king of all flowers. It is symbol of love and pioneer of scents.
  12. Beetle: Beetle is king of appreciator. Beetle is the symbolic power which never destroys the beauty and at the same time enjoys it. Even the God Dattatreya made Guru to Beetle. It symbolizes broadmindedness.
  13. Moon: It is symbol of coolness.It has got place on the head of Shankara.
  14. Emerald: It is symbol of Uranus. It is cool gem. It increases intelligence. It increases love between spouses. It indicates good richness.'
  15. Gandbhairi: The sign of Gemini. It indicates two bodies but one soul  It symbolizes oneness of wife and husband. It is one of the most important symbols in the Kolhapuri Saaj.
  16. Morchel: IT is the symbol of kingdom, richness and sovereignty.
  17. Peacock Feather: The peacock is our national bird. It is the symbole of prosperity and luxury. The superme personality of Godhead i.e. Krishna has feather of peacock in his hair. It is also a symbol of many colors and beauty.
  18. Conch: It is symbole of divine sound. It is favourite musical instrument of God Shrikrishna  and Shankar.
  19. Tiger Nail: It symbolizes weapons. The sound should have proper grip so it is nearby conch. It symbolizes power of weapon.
  20. Snake: It adds beauty in the sacred tie. It symbolizes union of husband and wife. It even symbolizes strict ruler, hermit. It strictly warns and reminds about the promises which has taken at the of marriage.
  21. Good Luck Charm: This is last symbol in the Kolhapuri Saaj. It is for the protection for the husband from the evil power and an evil eye.

·        Java Beads: Each symbol (shape) has two beads. They are alike.

Ghagari: Each symbol has three to five ghagaris. Ghagar is Marathi word which means a big water container. It symbolizes Jal Kumbha. In every holy work first Jal Kumbha is worshipped. It is also the token of love.

Tassel: Kolhapuri Saaj  is woven into green colored silk. A few red colored brocaded silk tassels are used for decoration. So Kolhapuri Saaj is symbol of good fortune.

In Kolhapuri Saaj symbols starts with Chaphekali and ends with Good luck charm. Chaphekali means transcendental union of Sun and Moon. It is sacred thread of holy emotions of husband and wife. Kolhapuri Saaj is the token of dignity and love given to a wife by her husband.

Kolhapuri Saaj (Accoutrements)