Temple jewellery belongs to the tradition of India, especially southern part of India. Olden days, Temple jewellery was worn by only Devadasi girls who perform dance in temple and in Darbars. Now a days, it is not uncommon to see south Indian brides wearing Temple Jewellery for their weddings. So today, one can say the Temple jewellery is traditional South Indian jewellery. The origin of Temple Jewellery dates back to 12th century. This was the period of famous Dravidian Tamil Dynasty known as “Chozha kulam” who ruled southern part of India. All the chozha kings gave very importance to cultural development and most of the of the temple jewelry today are similar to the designs in the heavily ornamented pillars with accurate details and rich sculpted walls of many south Indian Temples, especially ones in Thanjavur.
Today temple jewelry is prepared in a variety of metals. Originally it was made of gold with ruby, emerald & pearls and was used by the devadasi girls who danced in Temple and Darbars. Today Temple jewellery is mostly associated with Bharatanatyam dance. There are different types of Temple Jewellery manufactured today. Three of them are widely sold all over the world. Real Temple Jewellery, Imitation temple Jewellery and Stone type Temple Jewellery. Most of the real temple is made in Nagercoil, a southern city in Tamilnadu. These designs are quite unique which makes them more popular and adorable. These are made with silver and have a heavy coating of 22Ct gold over it. These are expensive and so imitation of expensive jewellery is also available on the market.
The most common Imitation Temple Jewelry set has 11 different ornaments. These are Long chain, Short necklace, Sun/Moon, Nethichutti, Mattal, Jimikky, Belt, Vanki, Rakkodi, Nath/Bullakku and bangles. Dancers also wear chilangai/salangai in the ankles during dance performance.