Did Sītā and Draupadi wear maṅgalasūtra (मङ्गलसूत्र) and toe rings (पादाङ्गुलीयक)?

What's the origin of the practice of a married woman wearing a maṅgalasūtra around her neck?

Also, what about wearing toe rings during marriage? How did this originate?

Which scriptures talk about wearing these?

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PS. I'm not looking for significance or "scientific explanation" for wearing these; just want to know the origin of these traditions. Related but not duplicate:
Why do brides wear a mangal sutra?
Why don't men wear the likes of Mangal-Sutra to signify they are married?

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    There is a reference given in Shremad Bhagvat Purana about Sita only kept her "Saubhagya Alankar" (सौभाग्य अलंकार) i.e. Mangalsutra etc. with her and rest is given in charity by Rama. (Skanda 9 ,Chapter 11, shloka 4).The sanskrit word used for Saubhagya alankar is "Saumangalya". Dec 29, 2016 at 2:42
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    Lailitha devi has mangal sutra tied by Kameshwara(shiva). Kamesha baddha maangalya sutra shobhita Kandharaa. This is even older than Sita and Draupadi. So this is not a new practice. Apr 11, 2017 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


Julie Leslie, the author of The Perfect Wife, which is a translation of/commentary on Strīdharmapaddhati (Guide to the Religious Status and Duties of Women) by Tryambaka of 18th century Thanjavur, says:

The maṅgalasūtra, the auspicious thread on which beads (usually black or gold) are strung, is fastened around the neck of the bride by the groom during the marriage ceremony (cf. PVK II.i.537). Chapter XV of the Laghvāśvalāyanasmṛti describes the sacrament of marriage in detail and provides the earliest reference to the marriage thread (māṅgalyatantu, v.33; Dh.kośa III.iii.p.2048). Mantras are recited to ensure the wife's fidelity to her husband and Gaurī bestows saubhāgya on the bride. Saubhāgya originally and literally meant 'good fortune' or 'prosperity', but it came to have as its established meaning (virūḍhalakṣaṇā) the good fortune of the happily married woman whose husband is alive. The prefix sau, with which the married woman is addressed, stands for saubhāgyavatī, meaning 'fortunate woman' (i.e. by virtue of her marriage; Baudh.gṛ.I.6.30). The maṅgalasūtra, the tilaka, and the red line of sindūra in the hair, are all indispensable signs of the married woman whose husband is alive; as long as he lives, they must be worn.

Re: Toe-rings, quoting Anant Sadashiv Altekar, she says:

Nose- and toe-rings seem to be another late development. Altekar notes the conspicuous absence of the nose-ring in sculpture and painting throughout India before the Muslim invasions. He concludes that it was originally a Muslim ornament (1978:301 ff.; cf. PVK II.i.537). By the time of Tryambaka, however, it was another indispensable sign of saubhāgya.

So, it's possible Sītā and Draupadī wore the maṅgalasūtra but not nose- and toe-rings.

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    But Muslims, persians, mid Asians don't wear nose rings. Most of the Persian art I've seen has very minimal jewellery. Mar 15, 2018 at 19:17
  • Practice maybe limited to Asian Muslims. Check out this question on Islam.SE. Mar 15, 2018 at 19:42
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    That would mean that nose rings are more popular in asian culture where they may have originated? Also each state in India have their own kind of nose rings while Pakistanis generally don't have much culture related to nose piercings, how so? Mar 15, 2018 at 19:46
  • @sv. The reson for lack of nose rings in sculptures is because it is hard to sculpt intricate small nose ring on a already docile nosed sculpture. None of the sculptures have ghoonghat, but from dramas we know that in gupta era women did cover themselves with avaghuntana.
    – Anisha
    Nov 29, 2019 at 10:10
  • @sv. Sita definietly wore toe rings since ramayana itself mentions it, this historian is out of her/his mind, if something cannot be credited to aryan credit it to mughals. Lol "Wearing of toe rings is practiced in India since ages. Toe rings have been a part of the Indian culture since the Ramayana times, there has been a mention of Sita, when abducted by Ravana, threw her toe ring in the way, so that lord Rama could find her. So from the Ramayana times, till now, toe rings have been a part of a married woman’s symbol."
    – Anisha
    Nov 29, 2019 at 10:45

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