Front view of turban with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearl in a gold setting, from the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple, Madurai.
Photographer: Nicholas and Company
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph shows the front view of a turban housed in the Minakshi Sundareshvara temple and was taken by Nicholas and Company c. 1882. It forms part of the Archaeological Survey of India Collections (Indian Museum Series). The Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Minakshi, an ancient local divinity. The construction of this imposing temple-town was made possible by the wealth and power of Tirumala Nayak (1623-1659). He was the most prolific builder of a long line of Nayaka kings, a dynasty who ruled a large portion of Tamil country in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The rectangular precinct covers six hectares and has eleven huge towers and four entrance gopurams. Inside this enclosure there are columned mandapas or porches, tanks, shrines and the two temples of Shiva and Minakshi. The temple is profusely ornamented with sculpture and paintings and contains a number of valuable jewels, including this head-dress studded with diamonds, emeralds, pearls and rubies, held in a gold setting.