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Silambu in hand with the statue of Kannagi

Silambu (Tamil: சிலம்பு) is a traditional anklet worn mostly by South Indians. This ornament is referred to in the famous Tamil silapapthigaram, where the story begins and ends with a silmabu. In olden days, both men and women wore a variety of silambu. This can be discovered in most of the Tamil texts. A silambu, worn by a woman, is a hollow circular tube, made of gold, with precious stones or pearls to fill the space, which in turn produce a characteristic sound while walking. Silambus are worn by traditional dancers during performances. This produces a rhythmic, jingling sound in tune with the steps of the dancers.

Lord Shiva[edit]

Even, Lord Shiva in his famous dancing pose, nataraja, is found with a silambu on his ankle. Nowadays silambus are made up of silver or copper and are worn by young children, even babies.

Tamil Nadu[edit]

In Tamil Nadu, a traditional dance called Kai silambu aatam is performed in temples during Amman festivals in which the dancers wear or hold silambus in their hands, which make noise when shaken.


See also[edit]