In search of the Snake Earring

It is always a thrill to match objects – we had such a thrill the last time we went in search of a ring. We continue on that path once again but this time is an ear ring ! Not any ordinary ear ring – but a snake earring !!

We had absolutely no clue of what it was when Raman Sir showed it to us. First question was if it were some amulet ! Even when he told us that it was an ear ring we were apprehensive. Even still when he told us that these were very much prevalent in Tamil Nadu right upto the 19th C we were not really sure. It looked too complex but then when we started comparing these with the modern day version of the heavy ( looks heavy but is mostly hollow – plated) earrings worn on dis intended earlobes by the village folk – could not but imagine at these the root word of the ear ring could be the same – Pambadam ( Paambu – snake) !

He proceeded to show us the same design in multiple materials – silver and copper.

Some googling helped us to land on this interesting article “Snake earrings of India” There the author had given a name to it – Nagavadura.

Further searches led us to sites assigned dates in the 19th C to the specimens.


Yet, despite multiple searches we have not been able to photograph of an actual person wearing this beautiful ornament. Raman sir made our task easier by letting us know that there exists a Paavai vilakku ( Deepa Lakshmi) in a popular temple with the same Ornament. So we had our antennas up when we visited the shrine and there she was. However, we couldn’t take obtain good photographs then.

Luckily our friend Mr. Veeren managed to source them thanks to mr. Vasanth Kathirvel (of Pondicherry.) – a big thank you to both of you. ( you will know why after seeing the photos next !!)

Such a masterly bronze – dating to the 17th – 18th C. Beautiful ornamentation and there is our Nagavadura.

I do hope some modern day jewellery designer works on this design but maybe he needs to find a way for it to be worn on a normal ear !!

8 thoughts on “In search of the Snake Earring

  1. அன்பு நண்பரே!
    தங்களது பாம்பு காதணியை பற்றிய விளக்கம் மிகவும் அருமை. தயை செய்து எனது நீண்டநாள் சந்தேகத்திற்கு பதில் எதிர்பார்கிறேன். எல்லா கடவுள்களும் பாம்பை அணிகலனாக அணிந்திருப்பது ஏன்?

  2. Excellent Article, all the articles I went through here are exceptionally written. I also wanted to know in which temple is the above mentioned Paavai vilakku found?
    Thank You

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