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No other culture enjoys perhaps as rich a jewelry culture as Indian culture; from the mangalsutra to the Indian chooda, Indian jewelry is full of both historical and religious significance, as well as aesthetic beauty. One piece of jewelry unique to India’s Punjab region is the Punjabi Kada; this heavy metal bracelet is an essential accessory for many Punjabi men, a way to express their style and heritage with pride.
The Kada is more than just a fashionable accessory, however. There are a number of reasons why Punjabi men wear kadas, many of which are tied to historical and cultural symbolism. One key reason is that wearing a Kada is seen as a sign of strength, courage and masculinity in the Punjabi culture; many Punjabi families also pass down the Kada from father to son, as a reminder of the family’s heritage and legacy.
In this blog, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about the Punjabi Kada; why it’s worn, what it signifies, and how it’s worn. Let’s get started!
What is Punjabi Kada?
Punjabi Kada (also known as Kara) is a traditional symbol of Sikhism, originating in the Punjab region of India. The kada is a steel bracelet with an inscription, usually in Gurmukhi script, that traditionally carries religious scriptures such as verses from the Guru Granth Sahib.
What does the Punjabi Kada signify?
The Punjabi Kada serves several different functions and has multiple meanings, depending on the particular design of the Kada itself. In parts of India where Sikhism is practiced, for example, the Kada is a symbol of dedication to God and being part of the Khalsa Panth. For other communities in Punjab, it could be a symbol of love and devotion between couples, with the Kada being gifted by a man to his bride.
The Kada also serves as a reminder of heritage and culture for those from the Punjab region who live in different parts of India or live as immigrants abroad. Wearing a Kada proudly is akin to wearing your family’s colors on your sleeve – it’s a sign of deep pride in who you are, and a nod to the country and region you come from.
How is the Punjabi Kada worn?
The Punjabi Kada is traditionally worn on the right hand, with the open side facing outward – this allows for greater visibility when wearing it. It’s also important to note that many people prefer to leave it on all the time, as taking it off is seen not only as a sign of disrespect to God and your ancestors, but also as something that brings bad luck.
What is Punjabi Kada made of?
The Punjabi Kada is typically made of steel. It can also be made from gold and silver – such as some luxury, 22 karat gold bracelets, which are sometimes encrusted with precious stones to make them even more bespoke. No matter what metal the kada made out of, it tends to always be inscribed with Gurmukhi script or other religious verses – this is what makes it truly unique and meaningful to those who wear it.
What are the benefits of wearing Kada?
The Punjabi Kada is not only a way to express your style and heritage, but it also comes with several practical benefits. Wearing a kada may help to maintain blood pressure levels, reduce aches and pains, strengthen the nervous system, and boost confidence.
Can you wear Kada on your left hand?
Generally, the Punjabi Kada is worn on the right hand. However, depending on the wearer’s own personal beliefs or limitations, there may be exceptions to this rule – for example, if you have a disability or are left-handed, wearing a Kada on your left hand shouldn’t be a problem.
The bottom line
For Indian men – especially those of Sikh heritage – the Kada is an important cultural symbol, and not simply a piece of luxe jewelry (although it definitely is chic and fashionable, too!). Whether it’s made from steel, gold or silver, the Kada demonstrates the wearer’s strength and commitment to their faith, as well as their ties to family and heritage. In short, the combination of style and symbolism makes the Kada a timeless staple in Indian jewelry.