The custom of wearing nose rings was brought to Indian and popularized by the Moughals in the 16th century. Nose piercing is not just a fashion statement in India it’s a cultural demand and an age old tradition which holds immense significance even today. In certain parts of India, the nose ring signifies the marital status of a girl. The nose ring is never removed once the girl is married. Though now a days even unmarried girls pierce their nose.
The nose ring is worn during weddings as it is considered to enhance the beauty of the Indian bride. It’s usually worn on the left nostril and is sometime joined to the ear by a chain but north Indian and East Indian brides usually wear the ring on the right nostril. In some parts of southern India, women pierce both their nostrils. Nose piercing in India, also has a religious significance. According to Hindu religion, nose piercing at the time of marriage is considered as a way of honouring Parvathi- the goddess of marriage.
Nose rings are available in various styles, designs and patterns and vary from state to state. The nose studs worn in southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, are known as ‘mookkutthi’. Their nose rings usually have ornate traditional swan or lotus designs and are usually studded with diamonds.
Nose rings are very common in north India and it is a must for certain communities. Rajasthani women wear either the ‘nathuri’ or the ‘bhauriya’. The ‘nathuri’ is a small gold or silver ring with precious stones while the ‘bhauriya’ is slightly different. Another pattern is the traditional clove shaped stud called the ‘laung’. This is a small semi circular ring which has delicate tassels hanging from the bottom. This looks very delicate and was recently worn by Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor in the song ‘ Chammak Challo’ from the movie ‘Ra One’. This style is a blend of traditional and chic and looks very pretty.
In Uttar Pradesh, the nose ring is adorned with two pearls and a pendulous bead which promises to bring prosperity. The Punjabi nose ring known as the ‘shikarpuri nath’, comprises of a gold ring with a string and some hanging motifs. The maternal uncle of the bride puts it on for her on the wedding day. In Bihar it is known as the ‘chhuchhi’. The Maharashtrian nose ring is called the ‘guchhedar nath’ and is known for its radiant pearl designs. We love Rani Mukerjee’s look wearing the traditional marastrian ‘nath’ at the recent Pune film festival.
Another nose ring worn in some parts of south and north India is the ‘pullakku’. This is a ring which is suspended from the partition of the nostrils. In certain rural regions the rings are quite big and cover a considerable portion of the face while sometimes it comprises of just a plain diamond stud!
The nose ring is considered to be the most seductive ornament worn by a bride and has become an integral part of an Indian bride’s attire.