Everything that makes the bride glow on D-Day – I: Henna, The graceful Indian tattoo

I think the first time I applied henna (Mehndi in Hindi) is when I was six years old or something. If I remember well enough, it was my uncle’s wedding and that’s the only reason my mother allowed me to get it done. I remember adjusting my frilly frock as I sat on a high chair and extending my trembling hand to this petite girl. She took this cone and started drawing on my hand. I watched in amazement as that green fluid coming out of that cone took shape of a flower. Trust me, that takes some skill!  Once done, I was told not to let it get wet or smudged for the next few hours. And I quietly went, sat in a corner watching the henna dry out, start to peel, and the beautiful orange colour appear!

To an Indian girl, I think there is an eternal feeling of awe towards getting mehndi applied on your hands.You grow up watching your mother apply it on festivals and weddings, and its magic never ceases to enchant.

In an Indian wedding, the Mehndi ceremony is usually quite important. The bride gets her hands and legs beautifully painted with henna. This henna comes from the guy’s side – a part of the tradition. This is a part of what’s known as a bride’s Solah Singar (16 elements of getting ready for the wedding)


Copyright: Shuddhashil Mullick

It can get a little annoying as you have to sit for like 2-3 hours without moving a muscle as 2-3 people draw on your hands and legs. However, the patience is totally worth it! The end product, if done well, can take your breath away!

The superstition around henna with respect to Indian weddings can be considered as little absurd, however – it is said that darker the colour of your henna, the more your husband would love you. I know, it doesn’t make much sense, but here is the funnier thing. Now days, you won’t see a single bride in India with a non-black henna colour! How you ask? Colour Dye!


Copyright: Shuddhashil Mullick

Anyway, keeping those technicalities out, these days the henna designs are out of this world! Its amazing how much talent those artists have.  I remember when I was getting henna done for my wedding, I just stared at what those ladies were doing. They made the most beautiful design including so many elements of Indian weddings and going as far as making a small portrait of the bride and groom – something similar to what you see on top cakes in weddings!


Copyright: Shuddhashil Mullick

And, as always, I quietly went, sat in a corner watching the henna dry out, start peeling, and see the beautiful orange colour appear!


Copyright: Shuddhashil Mullick

Note: All the above photos are from my own wedding and have been clicked by a dear friend. You guys can check his work out on his facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/shuddhashil/