Women have always had a fond relationship with jewellery and the nose ring isn’t an exception. From head ornaments to necklaces, bangles to foot anklets, Indian women have a keen interest in the beauty and designs of their hand-picked jewellery.
In many parts of the world, women commonly wear the nose ring as a fashion statement. This does not mask the fact that it has been in societies for centuries, where the tradition of wearing nose rings has been a deep-rooted cultural practice.
Nose Ring – History and Tradition
Moghul emperors from the Middle East introduced the nose ring in the 16th century. From that time forward, the practice of wearing them took a stronghold across India. It is now commonplace amongst many Indian communities to wear the nose ring whether for traditional reasons or fashionable versatility.
While some view that nose rings are a symbolism for marriage, other Hindus practice nose piercings to honour Goddess Parvathi, the goddess of marriage. Additionally, Ayurvedic science believes that piercing the left nostril has fertility-related benefits. Interestingly, the nerve endings here connects with the reproductive organs. Hence, piercing this side of the nostril tends to lessen the pain of childbirth and also menstrual pains. Other views suggest that metal piercings in the nose can help regulate breathing and eliminate toxins from the nostril.
Types of Nose Rings
Health benefits aside, the alluring beauty of the nose ring is more than enough reason to wear one. Ranging from elaborate and exquisite versions of bridal nose rings to simple diamond studs that provide a touch of sparkle to the casual wearer, nose rings come in several variations to suit the occasion, fashion and tastes of its wearers.
The mookkutthi is a simple, lightweight nose-pin commonly known among South Indians. It is sometimes gem-studded and worn by both married and unmarried women and is seldom removed after marriage.
On the other hand, the nathuri or the bhauriya, is a favourite among Rajasthani women. Unlike the simple stud, the bhauriya can come in some complex and elaborate designs. Then there is the shikarpuri nath which is popular among Punjabi brides. It has ornate designs with a medium to a large hoop that connects to the ear stud with a chain. This design complexity further enhances its magnificence.
The septum ring is another common favourite among some women in rural areas. Sometimes called the “bull-ring”, piercing the septum can hurt more than nostril piercings as it involves the cartilaginous dividing wall or the “sweet spot” between the nostrils. But, beauty knows no pain and the septum ring is a popular fashion statement across the world today.
The age-old tradition of wearing a nose ring has certainly come a long way. What had once defined women long ago is now evolving to be a popular trend among both genders. We can be assured that nose rings are expected to be with us for a long time to come.
Photo by Sukanto Debnath