Mangalsutra is a sort of necklace worn by married Hindu women in North India. Similar to the western custom of exchanging ring, it is usually tied by the groom around the bride's neck on the occasion of marriage. From this day, she carries it until her death as a means to protect their marriage and to safeguard the life of her husband.
Considered sacred, Mangalsutra is generally made of gold and consists of two strings of small black beads and a gold pendant. Black beads are believed to act as a shelter against evils.
In South India, Mangalsutra differs and is referred to as Thali, which is a pendant. Usually thalees are worn in a chain or thread. Thali varies according to communities and comes in several shapes and sizes. Most important of these are embithai thali, amathali (thali with tortoise shape), kolunthu thali and manikkam thali.
Thali is associated with the weapon of Lord Vishnu, and there is a belief that amathali was worn by Lord Krishna.