In the Hindu culture, a married woman can be easily distinguished through the display of the kumkum, nosepin, Mangalsutra, bangles and toe rings.
Among these signs of matrimony, the Mangalsutra is the most relevant traditional Indian necklace.
In the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit, Mangal means auspicious and Sutra means thread, so Mangalsutra literally translates to the holy thread.
The Mangalsutra is believed to represent Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The golden part represents Goddess Parvati while the black beads symbolise Lord Shiva. Gold stands for prosperity and the black beads protect from the evil eye. Hence as per beliefs, a married woman wearing Mangalsutra protects her relationship from evil and brings prosperity into her household.
The Mangalsutra is a part of weddings across different cultures all over India, except the Kashmiri Pundits and the Nairs of Kerala. Generally a Mangalsutra is made of gold and black beads together with an attached pendant, but it varies with the regional influences. Here are some of the common styles of Mangalsutra:
In Maharashtra and Karnataka the brides wear the classic gold and black bead Mangalsutra with two golden hollow cups attached to each other, as the pendant. Each cup or vati represents the family of bride and groom respectively.
So the symbolic meaning of this Mangalsutra is the union of two different families through the marriage.Another belief is that each cup represents the sun and the moon, giving power and romance respectively to the union.