Bugadis: origin, types and how it's worn

At Aham, we have been particularly fascinated by the Bugadis.

About 7-8 years ago when i first noticed someone wearing them, i knew i had to get the piercing done. i didn't know what it was called or where i would find them.  My search led me to the bylanes of commercial street in Bangalore, where i found a tiny shop who handmade these in silver and would hand pierce them. Piercings are painful, but this pain was something else. Since Bugadi piercings are a little bigger than normal earring piercings. But it has been worth all the pain! 

We had never initially planned to make and sell the Bugadis. But interestingly when we started posting images of earrings been worn, customers would send us cropped / marked images asking if we were selling the 'top' earring. Thats when we decided that its time to explore and start making these beautiful pieces.

A lot of you asked us more information on the Bugadis and how its worn. So we decided to write a little blog about it. Hope you enjoy reading it. For those who have the helix piercing already, hope you find a piece from our collection that you will like, and for the rest, we hope you fall in love with this beautiful jewel and are inspired to get the piercing done. 

"Bugadis have been a popular ear ornament worn in many communities. Specifically worn in the Helix. The basic pattern is a thin, long, hollow plug with screw which is secured by little balls at both ends. Typically has silver granules with pearls, or beads hanging. Primarily seen worn by traditional Hindu communities of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu"
Name: Bugudi in Karnataka, Bugadi in Maharashtra, Koppu in Tamil Nadu

Origin: Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, some parts of Telenga and Andra Pradesh and Sri Lanka 

The word Bugudi means a cluster of something and Koppu is probably a derived version of the Tamil word krambu(ch) which means Clove stick

Material: Gold, Silver, Pearls, Diamonds, Rubies, emeralds,
Mode of Fastening: Hollow plug with a screw.
Worn in the Helix

Image Source: Earrings by Waltraud Ganguly 
Traditional Bugadis are categorised as follows depending on the decorations

  1. The Lavanga Kadi - The simplest form of Bugadi the shape of which inspired from the clove stick. A prominent spice used in every Indian household for cooking. A prominent design seen in Tamil Nadu

    Lavanga kadi koppu

  2. Khaddi Bugudi - comes with small wire-loops as top

  3. Kalashin Bugudi - A knob of 6 granules, topped by the 7th giving the impression of a temple top called Kalash.

  4. Moti Bugudi - Comes with pearls fixed at either side of the tube. Originally only married women could wear moti bugudi and young girls and widows were not allowed.

  5. Jhumki Bugudi - Addition of a small jhumki hanging at the bottom

    Jhumkie Bugadi

  6. Disc Bugudi - Attached with a Disc shaped design typically with flower, Lakshmi, hamsa designs 

    Disc Bugadi
Below are some fine examples of traditional Bugadis from museums and auction houses 

Bugadi Victoria and Albert Museum, London,
Source: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Bugudi: michaelbackmanltd
Source: From the collection of michaelbackmanltd

Bugadis as depicted in paintings by Raja Ravi Verma 
Bugudi - Raja Ravi Verma
Tamilian Lady painted by Raja Ravi Verma 
Bugudi - Raja Ravi Verma 
Bugudi - Raja Ravi Verma
Maharashtrian Lady painted by Raja Ravi Verma 
At Aham, we have adapted the traditional Bugadi to suit and work in todays context. Designed in silver, the Bugadis are wearable art pieces that you would enjoy wearing. We have one of the largest collection of Handcrafted Silver Bugadis that one would find online. Follow this link to see our Bugadi collection: Aham Silver Bugadis 
Aham Bugadi
Aham BugadiAham Bugudi Silver
 Aham Bugadi
 Aham Bugudi
Aham Finds: a series that attempts to discover stories and origins of different pieces of jewellery and its significance in our culture and our heritage.
Pooja, Founder Aham Jewellery 


  • Want to know price of bugdi

  • Hi I live in Bangalore and am looking for dis bugadi please can u help me

    Siyona yogesh
  • Hi pooja,

    Thanks for inspiring me on you bugadis. I’m from Bangalore and got my ear pierced for bugadis through gunshot just now…
    .would have loved to hear more on the scientific reasoning behind bugadis.

    Core south indians always held their ancient practices closely. Hope I get the opportunity to adorn some of your pristine and divine bugadi collection soon!

    Thanks for the the story above!

    Naya Nandargi

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