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Temple jewellery: A Journey Worth Taking

A timeless journey from origins to modern trends

The root of temple jewellery has traversed a rich historical tapestry. The roots of temple jewellery can
be traced back to the majestic temples of South India, where the craft flourished centuries ago.
Historically, these pieces were created with a profound attention to detail, often featuring intricate
depictions of deities and mythological motifs, showcasing the skilled craftsmanship of the artisans.

Temple jewellery is the most beautiful and elegant type of jewellery, and It touches upon the culture
and heritage of South India. The unique designs are crafted by craftsmen of Tamil Nadu, who project
the icons of Gods and Goddesses in temples. The designs are studded with beautiful stones in different
hues and shades. The pieces of jewellery also worn by Bharathanatyam dancers in particular, continued
to patronise the same techniques of ornaments worn.
The jewellery is inspired by gods and goddesses from temples in South India with gold and silver along
with precious gemstones like ruby, emerald and sapphire, and that is the fashion now. The designs and
styles now include embossing, engraving, filigree work, and kundwork. Today, however, the eye-
catching designs and the ethnic look of these ornaments have made them famous among dancers and
across all sections of society.

The History of temple jewellery

The history of temple jewellery is vibrant and deeply connected to cultural and religious traditions, originating from the southern regions of India. It was crafted with great care to adorn deities as well as temple dancers for special occasions.

9th to 13th Century: Ancient Root
The study showed that the origin of the temple jewellery design is from the Chola dynasty in south India.
The rulers of that period were highly intellectual and great contributors to arts so this concludes that the
temple jewellery design began as an art form to adorn idols in temples.

  • 14th to 17th Century: Vijayanagara Empire- The temple jewellery flourished and reached new
    heights during the period of the Vijayanagara Empire. The production of elaborate jewellery for
    temples, which combined artistic expression with religious meaning, was sponsored by the
    ruling class and the rich elite.
  • 18th to 19th Century: Patronage of the Maratha and Nayaka Families – The Nayakas and
    Marathas carried on the custom of encouraging the production of jewels for temples. During
    this time, a unique aesthetic was created by the confluence of numerous regional styles in
    craftsmanship.
  • 20th Century: Resurrection and Modification- Early in the 20th century, traditional Indian arts
    and crafts saw a rise in popularity. Temple jewelry became popular for bridal jewelry as well a
    religious events because of its elaborate patterns. The craftsmanship was modified to
    accommodate modern preferences without losing the spirit of the classic design.
  • Today: Cultural Significance and Style Declaration- Temple jewellery is now a sign of cultural
    identity and legacy, transcending its religious origins. It is frequently worn to weddings,
    celebratory events, and classical dance performances. Traditional temple designs are still a
    source of inspiration for current jewellery designers, who use them to create pieces that combine
    historical elements with contemporary style.

The origin of temple jewellery is from ancient temples of South India, especially in the areas of Tamil
nadu and Kerala. The design is also deeply rooted in Hindu mythology and there is a strong connection
to religious and cultural tradition.

Temple jewellery
Temple Jewellery

Adorned Legacies: Exploring the Temple Jewelry and Ancient Icons

Every design and artefact has a story to tell that has a connection with our ancestors. The design we
wear signals our status and shows our inheritance and wealth. South India is famous for its rich tradition
and culture and above all considered as the “jewel in the crown”. The design and collection is often
patronized by classical dancers with their unique look.

Types of jewelry:

In the temple jewellery collection first comes the earrings and necklaces as the dominant and after that
comes the bangles and rings. The pendants are mostly strung on tassels and the traditional necklace
designs ‘Magari malas, the ‘Poothall’ from Kerala and the “Savadi’ necklace designs from Ceylon are very
popular. Besides, the entire range of jewellery required for the Bharatanatyam dancers, from the
conventional traditional ‘Vankies’ (armlet) and the necklaces ‘Mangalmala’ and ‘Thalasomala’ are
available in their collection.

According to Indianbijou (2015), the jewellery offered in the various temples of South India includes the
chains of coins (Kasinasara), Kadagas (bracelets), Kankanas (wristlets), Jjejjeranki (Armlets), Tali
(Mangalasutra), Kirita-Mukntas (headgear) and Mukhakirithi (masks). The earrings come in a variety of
designs like the Karnapatra, Chandra-Bottu, Abhaya, ‘Nagarmatalthod’, Varadahastas, ‘Padtnapithas’, Jhumkia and the ‘Danglers’.
The Golden Icons
The Golden Icons Many of the temples in south India possess images that show ancient jewellery.
An example that shows this is the Mudari menakshi temple. Two images, Goddess Parvati and Lord
Sundaresvara at the famous Meenakshi temple are made from solid gold. Particularly the figure of
Parvati, true to its pleasant, charming feminine beauty, is delightfully proportioned and gracefully
chiselled. ownership to the sixteenth century was probably consecrated by Viswanatha Nayak, the
founder of the Madurai Nayak dynasty. He remodelled the main Vimanam of Lord Sundarewara and did

much to bring around the ancient glory of the temple. audience in the unjal-mandapa, on every Friday
when special contributions and hymns are performed. heading for this

In the era of South Indian temples, the jewellery is an embodiment to the enduring allure of our tradition,
These pieces, whether adorning the divine icons or gracing the dancers on the classical stage, continue
to weave tales of elegance, heritage, and timeless beauty. As we delve into the intricacies of each
design, we uncover not just jewelry but a living legacy that connects us to the cultural magnificence of
our ancestors.

The common motifs used in temple jewellery?

The temple jewellery means that the pieces actually take inspiration from deities in their basic form.
The female deities are the most common motifs used by the craftsman In addition to these choices
temple jewellery also includes elements such as leaves, trees, coins, bells, and so on.
The jewellery makes a sense of divine presence when every time you wear the piece. People in the
modern era, they are trying to add a small piece element of traditional attire to their special days
for the contemporary ensemble.

The Temptation You Can’t Resist

But here’s the kicker: temple jewellery isn’t just any jewellery. It’s a connection to a history that’s over a thousand years old, a world where artisans poured their hearts into creating pieces that embodied spirituality and devotion. When you wear temple jewellery, you’re not just wearing gold and gems; you’re wearing a piece of history, a slice of art, and a symbol of the deep connection between humans and the divine.

So, the next time you see a piece , remember the stories it holds, the history it represents, and the temptation it arouses. It’s not just an accessory; it’s a gateway to a world of beauty, spirituality, and timeless allure. So why wait? Let the temptation lead you to discover the irresistible world of temple jewellery. Explore now!!

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