Indians, specially the women are known worldwide to love to decorate themselves. Every part of the body that can be exposed can be adorned with some piece of jewel, in gold or silver or some other precious metal. One such piece of jewel for the leg is a payal, or an anklet. The payal is usually made of silver and has lots of small bells hanging through out its length that give it a sound called jhankar in Hindi which is much like pronouncing the word ‘chan’ with a force on the letter ‘h’.
Mostly, girls from the village love to wear it, where as in the cities, a few young girls would be found wearing the payal. A much bigger form of the payal is the ghungroo, which looks almost same, just a bit too broad, and with bigger bells are worn by dancers all across India. While the ghungroo is restricted to dancing, the payal got the recognition of a jewel.
The payal is associated with a very feminine charm, and is usually worn by women to entice their men with its sound when they walk. This jewel of the traditional type can be found in various designs, mostly in silver, and is quite heavy. A much lighter version with even more trendier designs can be found at any jeweler’s shop in India for the modern woman as it is difficult to manage it in the daily rush of life. Not all payal designed now come with bells, serve only like an ornate decoration around the anklet.
Toddlers learning to walk were adorned with payals in the olden days as the sound from them would encourage the child to walk more. The beautiful and subtle sound from the payal is successful not only in encouraging babies to walk but also attracts the attention of anyone that listens to it. Seemingly extinct in the city, the payal symbolizes feminism, and goes perfectly with the shy and soft nature of a woman. To buy a payal, go to any jeweler’s and one would get hundreds of designs with the price range starting from a mere Rs. 150.