The Markandeya Purana (Study)

by Chandamita Bhattacharya | 2021 | 67,501 words

This page relates ‘Types of Ornaments’ of the study on the Markandeya Purana, one of the oldest of the eigtheen Mahapuranas preserving the history, civilisation, culture and traditions of ancient India. The Markandeyapurana commences with the questions raised by Rishi Jaimini (a pupil of Vyasa), who approaches the sage Markandeya with doubts related to the Mahabharata. This study examines various social topics such as the status of women, modes of worship, yoga, etc.

Types of Ornaments

From the Vedic times, various types of ornaments are used for enhancing look and appearance. The uses of ornaments are mentioned in almost all the puranic stories. On certain occasions, ornaments are used as gifts for the Brahmns. In the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, at the time of birth of a grandson[1] and at the time of performance of a sacrifice[2] etc., ornaments are used as a gift. The father in law of king Dama, gave him various gifts along with ornaments in his marriage ceremony.[3] The Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa mentions a general reference of female ornaments in connection with princess Vaiśālini who is said to have been “adorned with all the ornaments”.[4] A necklace of pearls[5], a golden ring[6] are also mentioned here in this purāṇa.

Some other terms are used to signify ornaments. For example, [the following are used in different contexts]:

  1. Ābharaṇa[7],
  2. Alaṃkāra[8],
  3. Bhūṣaṇa[9] etc.

Various types of ornaments are mentioned here without detailed explanation. Name of the ornaments found in Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa with the reference to their context are discussed below.


This means crest-jewel. According to Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, Cūḍāmaṇi is the best among the ornaments.[10] This ornament is mentioned in the context of the story of king Ṛtadhvaja[11] and is in the Devī story where the milk ocean gave a divine cūḍāmani to the Devī.[12]


Valaya means a bracelet, armlet. It is said to produce a twinkling sound. In the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa and also it mentioned in connection with an Apsaras Vapu by name.[13] The Bhāgavatapurāṇa said it was used by both men and women.[14]


Śroṇisūtra means waist-band. It is an ornament used round the waist in connection with king Hariścandra.[15]


It means anklets. This ornament is worn in the leg. In the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, the Apsarases are found to use the anklets.[16] Here a reference of giving a pair of anklets to Devī by milkocean is also found.[17] According to Bhāgavatapurāṇa, Nupūra was used by both men and women on their feet .[18] The use of nupūra, made of gold, is also mentioned there.[19]


Kuṇḍala means ear rings. This ornament is used for the ear, which is also called karṇa-śobhana. Describing the Nāga-maidens of Pātala the author of the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, mentions about this ornament worn by the maidens.[20] This purāṇa also refers about maṇi-kuṇḍala.[21] In the Vayūpurāṇa Rākṣasas we also found to use it.[22]


Aṅgulīyaka means ring. Almost all the married people are found wearing it. In the Abhijñāśakuntalam, the ring which was given to Śakuntalā by king Duṣyanta plays a great role in the drama. In the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, it is stated that the milk ocean gave to the Devī rings and gems on all her fingers.[23] Reference of aṅgulīyaka is also found in the Bhāgavatapurāṇa.[24]


It signifies gvīvāyāṃ haddholaṃkāraḥ i.e. neck ornaments. In the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, the milk ocean gave a graiveyaka to Devī.[25]


Hāra means necklace. In the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, the milk ocean gave to devi a serpent necklace adorned with large gems.[26] In the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, there are references of using this ornament by both men and women .[27] Also in the Vāyupurāṇa the Śūras are called hārakāḥ.[28]


Kaṭaka means bracelet. As quoted in the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, the kaṭakas are one kind of alaṃkāas which are given to Devī by the milk ocean.[29]


Keyūra means armlet, a kind of ornament which is worn in the upper arm. The Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, in the episode of Kuvalayāśva and Devī-māhātmya mentions about this ornament.[30] In the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, lord Viṣṇu is found to put it on.[31] In the Vāyupurāṇa, Lord Śiva is also found to use it.[32]

Footnotes and references:


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 125.10


Ibid., 129.20


Ibid., 130.03


sarvālaṃkārabhūṣitām/ Ibid., 123.10,46


Ibid., 21.104


Ibid., 33.9


Ibid., 66.11


Ibid., 123.10


Ibid., 1.4


Ibid., 1.4


Ibid., 22.13


Ibid., 79.25


Ibid., 1.54


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 6.4.38; 8.6.6; 10.60.8


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 7.34


Ibid., 10.94


Ibid., 79.26


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 6.4.38; 8.6.6; 10.39.51; 10.60.8; 11.30.31


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 8.9.17


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 21.100; 79.25


Ibid., 21.103


Vayūpurāṇa, 70.62


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 79.29


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 10.11.32; 10.12.1


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 79.30


Ibid., 79.30


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 8.6.6; 10.39.51; 10.75.24; 11.30.31


Vāyupurāṇa, 69.183


kṣīrodaścāmalaṃ hāramajare ca tathāmbare /
cūḍāmaṇiṃ tathā divya kuṇḍale kaṭakāni ca / Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 79.25


Ibid. , 21.104; 79.26


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, 8.6.5


Vāyupurāṇa, 24.153

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