NAYAR (India)


More: Abor, Lingayats, Bengali, Punjabi; Rājpūts, Brahmans, Nagas, Chamars, Todas, Hill Maria Gond, Hill Saoras, Sinhalese, Purum, Veda, Santals, Garos, Muria Gonds, Baiga, Nimar Bahalis, Telugu, Lepcha, Lodha, Uttar Pradesh, Andamanese, Nicorbarese



The Tali ritual has been mentioned in the India chapter. Gough (1961 [1962:p346])[1] further notes that in former times “mothers and other matrilineally related women instructed girls in the arts of love”.


“The Nayars have three major marriage/ rite of passage ceremonies which are related mainly to the female gender: the tali tying ceremony [Tali-kettu-kalyanam, talikettu], the tirandukalyanam [Terundukuli], and the sambandham rite. The tali tying rite took place before the onset of puberty. During this ceremony the girl was married to a man, preferably a Nambootiri Brahman, and ritual defloration took place. The ritual husband had no further duties to the girl after the completion of this ritual, although she had to observe a period of death impurity upon the death of her ritual husband. The tali ceremony was a female centered ritual which emphasized fertility and household prosperity (Moore 1998: 258). The tirandukalyanam ceremony was the puberty ceremony; during this ceremony femaleness is celebrated as women occupy the parts of the household typically inhabited by men (Moore 1988:264). The third ritual the sambandham ritual is one in which men play a role, and while the tali tying is no longer in practice the sambandham continues to be important. The sambandham ritual is less auspicious than the tali, and puberty rites. This ritual marks the union of the bride and groom. The marriage, however, was not necessarily a permanent arrangement (Moore 1998:264)” (Karl, 2003[2]; cf. Jamanadas, nd)[3].










Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology, Berlin

Last revised: Oct. 2004


[1] Gough, K. (1961) Nayar: Central Kearla, in Schneider, D. M. & Gough, K. (Eds.) Matrilineal Kinship. Berkeley & Los Angelos, p298-404

[2] Karl, R. (2003) Women in Practice: A Comparative Analysis of Gender and Sexuality in India. 2003  Marleigh Grayer Ryan Student Prize []; Moore, M. (1998) Symbol and Meaning in Nayar Marriage Ritual, American Ethnologist 15:254-73

[3]Jamanadas, K. (nd) Use Of Sex By Brahmins To Gain Supremacy. Online article, as accessed Oct. 15, 2004 []