Nose piercing is an ancient art of body piercing usually associated with India and its neighboring countries. This body modification art is centuries old and has become a common piercing practice all over the world. Nose piercing is not just a fashion statement in India; rather it is a cultural demand and age-old tradition. Though the art did not originate in India, rather it was brought to India during 16th century by moughals from Middle East. In Ayurveda the perfect place for nose piercing is outside the left nostril, which is supposed to make childbirth easier and is said to be mandatory for all married women. This location is associated with the female reproductive organs.
Today, nose piercing depends on individual choice i.e. whether or not a girl wants her nose pierced. Today these ornaments are available in various shapes and sizes. However, in ancient times they were studs or screws and not rings. With time came in various designs and patterns.
In India, these nose rings differ from region to region. Some refer it as nath, some as bulaag, some as nathni, some as long and some as nose pin. It is one traditional art, which got a very late popularity in west. Earlier these rings or studs were made in silver or gold with diamond or other precious stone embellishments, but today, with the change in time and fashion these ornaments are available in common metals like steel, copper, bronze etc.
The nose ornament famous as a bridal jewelry is Nath. It is usually worn in the left nostril; it’s sometimes joined to the ear by a chain, and in some places both nostrils are pierced. Now day’s brides decorate themselves with these elaborated naths and it has now become an integral part of Indian bride’s attire.
The Right Position of the Nose ring:
Nose rings in India can be worn on the nostril, septum (the cartilage between the nostrils) or the bridge of the nose. However, most commonly, nose rings are worn on either the left or the right nostril. Typically, the left nostril is favored because in Ayurvedic medicine, the left nostril is associated with the female reproductive organs, and a piercing in that position is thought to make childbirth easier as well as lessen the amount of menstrual pain. In some parts of south India, women wear these studs on both the nostrils especially at the time of wedding. Women from north India and North Eastern India wear these nose rings on the septum right above the upper lip.
Regional varieties :
In diverse states of India this jewel is made differently. The mukhuttis of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have ornate, traditional lotus and swan designs and are mostly studded with diamonds, or the poor man’s diamond, the topaz. Rajasthani women wear the nathuri and the bhauriya. While the first is a small gold or silver ring with precious stones, the bhauriya has a slightly different design. The conventional clove-shaped nose stud is called the laung, while the small pendant suspended between the nostrils is the latkan, because of its pendulous character.
In UP the nath is adorned with two pearls and a pendulous bead to augur prosperity. The Punjabi damsel has a gold ring strung with as many as 20 to 25 motifs. It is the shikarpuri nath. In Bihar, the nose stud is the chhuchhi or the laung. In Maharashtra it is the guchhedar nath, which is known for its radiant beauty with pearl decorations. Pullakku nose ring in South India (bulaag in the North) is the pendant suspended from the partition of the nostrils.
Sometimes the septum rings in rural areas and tribal society are so large that they cover a portion of the mouth and often come in the way while eating.
Nose ring is such one small piece that beautifies the look of a woman especially Indian woman.
The colorful Indian woman with a decorative nose ornament
Kumauoni Nath……Nose Ring Worn by Uttranchali Women
Kumauoni Nath……Nose Ring W ornBy Uttranchali Women
Kumauoni bride bejeweled with a bridal nose ring
An old lady still following the age-old tradition.
Image Credit : Sukanto Debnath at Flickr
Traditional elaborated nose rings
A woman adorned in Garhwali nose ring
Juhi Chawla in Maharashtrian Nose ring
A Maharashtrian Bride
A South-Indian Bride
A Ladakhi woman with Ladakhi Nose ring