Umlakh – Groom’s Crown

This is Umlakh, a wedding ornament made of silver, worn by the groom around the forehead. Well, the groom is the King of that day.

The practice of wearing Umlakh is prevalent in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. I have seen pictures of grooms wearing something similar during weddings in Pakistan as well.

Here we have three panels depicting Ganesha, Karthikeya and Simhavahini (One with a lion as Vahana), a form of Durga.

Ganesha is identified by his elephant head and stylized vahana a rat. Unusual features, more like the absence of features, are his depiction with just two arms and the absence of a belly.

The middle figure is tentatively identified as Karthikeya by his Vahana, a peacock or rooster, and by association. The attributes are not discernible enough to provide positive identification.

Simhavahini is identified by her vahana , a lion and the presence of a sword and Trishul among the attributes.

It is quite symbolic the wedding happens in the presence of the deities and with their blessings.

The panels are richly decorated with flowers and shrubs. Quite appropriate for the occasion and is in line with Hinduism’s propensity to worship nature. The panels are attached to each other by pins and hinges. The outer panels have loops used to secure the crown to the groom’s head.

The patterns are made by repousse and chiseling. It is good to see the tear drops at the bottom all are intact.

Each of the panels is 7.5 cm across and 20.5 cm tall, including the finial and the tear-drops. There are Umlakhs with five panels as well. Understandably those panels are smaller. This Umlakh may not date earlier than the nineteenth century.

For another example see what is in the Los Angels County Museum of art.

11 Feb 2022: Received this comment about a month ago from Bhagwat Shah.

“I saw the page on wedding crown – and felt I should tell you about how a similar wedding crown called ‘sahero’ is still worn in Rajasthan.  They are worn on the right-hand side of the turban. In Pushti-Marg, a Vaishnav sect, it is used whenever Krushna is dressed to be a groom.”

11 Feb 2022: A classic reference from Krishna …” The same crown offered to Lord Shiva at the Khir Bhawani Temple in Srinagar”

No photo description available.

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