Tradition of wearing toe rings carries tremendous social significance for married Hindu women in India. With age, designs and patterns of toe-rings have changed but it's relevance in the Hindu society has not altered. Even today these are very much a part of the bride's jewelry.
Toe rings, better known as bichiya in India, are a must for married Hindu woman. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, bichwa or toe rings is one of the most important symbols of marriage and women are encouraged to decorate each toe with different rings with myriad motifs ranging from paisley, to fish to flowers. In South India too, toe rings are a symbol of marriage and women wear a heavy ring on the second toe of each foot. Traditionally, toe rings are quite ornate, though more contemporary and simple designs are now being developed to cater to the requirements of modern bride.
During the Vedic times, Sanskrit texts laid down the concept of Sola Shringaar or the sixteen traditional accouterments with which every woman could adorn herself. These were carefully laid down for every part of body. Irrespective of class or economic status, these items of person grooming can be fashioned out of wood, glass, fresh flowers or precious jewels. Toe rings along with anklets were amongst the shringars to help women adorn their feet.
As Toe Rings or Bicchwas were considered to be symbolic of married woman, Hindu religion prohibits unmarried girls from wearing Bichhwas. Even in present times, girls refrain from wearing toe-rings before marriage.
Traditionally, toe-rings are made of silver and not gold, this is because, the metal gold is held in high regard by the Hindus. It is believed that gold is the metal of gods and hence Hindus do not consider it appropriate to wear it below the waist. In present times though, this tradition is not followed very strictly and women can be seen wearing toe rings made of gold and diamonds.