Wedding Shopping in Kolkata: For the Bengali Bride
The wedding ceremony is all about getting decked up in heavy sarees, heavy jewelry and dollops of make-up. As per tradition, the Bengali bride wears a red Banarasi saree and a red and golden chunri or dupatta. Some of the best shops for bridal wear sarees in Kolkata are Adi Mohini Mohan Kanjilal in College Street, Adi Dhakeswari Bastralaya, Priyo Gopal Bishoyi and Benarasi Kuthi in Gariahat. The shopkeepers understand how fussy a bride can be and hence drape several sarees on her, until she finds the one that makes her look special and resplendent. There could be twenty brides trying out the sarees at any particular time in the shop but the shopkeepers do not tire. There is a lot of personal attention that goes into making sure that the bride is happy with her choice.
While dressing the bride is an elaborate process in itself, it is a big day for the groom too. The dress code for the Bengali groom for the wedding day is the dhuti panjabi and the jodh. The dhoti, is called dhuti in Bengali. This is either made of silk or khadi. The dhoti is worn in white, beige or cream colour. The kurta the groom wears for his wedding is called punjabi in Bengali. This piece of cloth is usually made of silk or tussar. This is a silk drape worn by the groom for the wedding rituals is called the jodh. The best shops for traditional Bengali groom wedding wear are Kimbadanti, Kinnor Kinnori and New Panjabi Stores in Gariahat. All these shops stock pre stitched dhutis, as well as the non stitched ones.
The most expensive item on the Bengali wedding shopping list is the wedding jewelry. While 90% of the jewelry purchase is for the bride, there is a compulsory purchase of a gold chain, bracelet and finger ring for the groom too.
The most popular shops for the gold jewelry in Kolkata are Anjali Jewelers, P.C. Chandra, M.P. Jewelers and Senco Gold. These shops have several showrooms in Kolkata. Costume Jewelry is gaining huge acceptance with the Bengali brides in the recent years. So, most of the established gold jewelry shops have a separate section for Costume jewellery. There are however some shops that deal exclusively in costume jewelry and the best shops for these in Kolkata are Chandrani Pearls and Shreeji Collection, which have branches all over Kolkata, as well as Amrapali Jewelry, in the Forum Mall.
For all the other wedding gifts to be exchanged in tattya (a Bengali ritual where both families send gifts in decorated trays to each other) and trousseau packaging, College Street in Kolkata is the one stop shop. The shopkeepers are well accomplished in assembling all the traditional and customary wedding gifts.
Wedding shopping is tiring but a great way to experience tradition and customs in Kolkata.
-Contributed by Nabadeepa Ghosh.