Fashion & Beauty

Without Traditional Temple Jewellery, No South Indian Bridal Trousseau Is Complete! Here Is Everything You Ever Need To Know About It!!

By TGB Desk / On February 27th, 2017

The other day, I accompanied a cousin of mine to her daughter’s dance recital.

Yep, after I quit my regular job I have enough time to spend on things that interest me. As soon as we settled down in our seats, a group of young dancers took over the stage. As I watched them perform a Jati, depicting varied emotions of love-lorn gopikas waiting for Lord Krishna, I couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous jewellery adorning the dancers! Now, don’t get me wrong! Their footwork and abhinaya were impressive. And they enthralled the audience with their breathtaking performance, but I really couldn’t take my eyes off their dazzling jewellery. I later came to know that there are four types of Abhinayas (as per Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra). Ahaarya Abhinaya (expression through the costumes and jewellery) is one of them.

PC: Aarudra Photography

After the recital, I went backstage to have a closer look at the resplendent jewellery the dancers sported during their performance. And yet again I wonder, how similar the jewellery donned by these beautiful dancers and the jewellery sported by South Indian brides is!

Beautiful Hair Ornaments (Nethi Chutti & Jada Billai); PC – Aa Photography

Temple Jewellery
Few centuries back, these sparkling beauties that were crafted with perfection adorned the idols of the deities in temples. As time passed by, the Temple dancers also started adopting the designs of the jewellery adorning the Murtis (idols). These designs came to be known as Temple Jewellery. They became popular with the spread of Bharatanatyam (South Indian dance form) and found their way from the Sanctum Sanctorums to the trousseau of South Indian brides.

Layered Lakshmi necklaces; PC – Mystic Studios

Jewellery forms a significant part of any Indian bride’s wedding trousseau. For Indian women, owning gold might be about the security, but it is also about beautifying themselves with gorgeous jewellery. Inarguably, the jewellery adds to the aura of the bride and enhances her beauty. From the intricately crafted Nethi Chutti (maang tikka) to the whimsical toe rings, an Indian bride is adorned from head to toe.

                     Traditional Kerala Jewellery; PC – Weva Photography

Temple Jewellery is magnificent with it’s ornate designs and imperial look. The long haarams (necklaces) have intricately crafted large pendants that are attached to heavily embellished gold chains. These pieces are entirely made of Gold and are sometimes augmented with Rubies, Emeralds, Pearls and gold beads.

Gold jewellery with antique finish; PC – Mystic Studios

Figures of Gods and Goddesses, Elephants, Peacocks, Parrots, Lotus and Paisley (Mango Mala) motifs are commonly used in this jewellery style. For obvious reasons, Mahalakshmi (Goddess of wealth) motif is very popular among South Indian women. So, it’s very common for a South Indian bride to sport a Lakshmi Kasu Mala (Traditional necklace with Goddess Lakshmi motif being engraved on each coin) on her wedding day.

Lakshmi Kasu Mala; PC – Neeta Shankar Photography

Mahalakshmi Motif
Another reason for it’s popularity could be due to the fact that the bride is considered as manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi!
|| साक्षात महालक्ष्मि स्वरूपिणीम् कन्यां ||

Lakshmi Haaram and Necklace; PC – Aa Photography

Exotic motifs such as Dasavataram (Ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu), Rama Pattabhishekam (Coronation of Lord Srirama) and Gandabherunda (a two-headed mystical bird; Emblem of erstwhile empires of Chalukyas, Vijayanagara and Mysore and logo of present Karnataka State Government) are also popular with the brides who want to be unique!

Dasavataram Necklace; PC – Webandarts

Heavy neck pieces, maang tikkas, Jhumkas, armlets, bangles, waist bands, anklets, toe rings are crafted in elaborate designs which are cast in gold and are encrusted with pearls, precious and semi-precious stones that give the bride a royal look.

Traditional Temple Jewellery with precious stones; PC – Aarudra Photography

The brides also wear exquisite hair ornaments (Nethi Chutti, Rakkodi and Jada Billai) that are hand crafted in this centuries old style. It adds sparkle and glamour to their crowning glory. These stunning ornaments make sure the bride dazzles whichever way she turns and help the bride in adhering to the age old tradition of Solah Shringar!

Gorgeous Jada Billai (Brooch shaped hair ornaments); PC – Foton Studio

The Story of Sixteen Love Charms – Solah Shringar
Oh, and by the way, are you aware of the story behind the tradition of Solah Shringar (Sixteen Adornments) of an Indian married woman? As the story goes, Rati who is the daughter of Prajapati couldn’t find a suitor even after reaching the marriageable age due to her plain looks. Dejected with her fate she prays to Soundarya Lakshmi (An incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi who bestows beauty). The Goddess who is pleased with Rati’s devotion, presents her with Sixteen Love Charms (Solah Shringaar). Rati after adorning herself with these sixteen love charms, meets ‘Love God’ Kamadeva and as they say, the rest is history (or rather Mythology)!! 🙂
A few more pictures of brides who opted for Temple jewellery –

                      Lakshmi Neck pieces; PC – Smiley Media

                      Lakshmi Necklace & Mango Mala; PC – Sruvam Photography

Lakshmi Haaram; PC – Ashwin Th-Clicker Photography

                      Mango Mala with Lakshmi pendant; PC – Mystic Studios

Heirloom worthy neckpiece, isn’t it?! PC – Studio A

                       Mango Mala; PC – Photriya Photography

                      Long Haaram with auspicious Gaja Lakshmi Pendant; PC – Dilipan Photography

I just love Temple jewellery for it’s timeless charm and vintage appeal! How about you? Lakshmi Kasu mala is my favourite, but Dasavataram necklace is gorgeous too. No matter how you may feel about heavy jewellery, the trend of Temple jewellery is here to stay and we expect to see more brides opting for it. And you can trust us to bring the latest Temple jewellery designs to you as and when we lay our hands on the pictures.
So tell us, are you going to wear Temple jewellery on the most important day of your life?

Stay Happy!!

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