A nose ring in Indian culture carries a lot of symbolic meaning related to marriage. In fact the Hindi word "nath" is derived from the word "naath" meaning husband. Piercings in India, including nose piercings, are one way Hindus honor Parvathi, the goddess of marriage. Piercings on the nose and ears indicated the onset of puberty and the status of a girl as being of "marriageable age". Thereafter the nose ornament would serve as one of the sixteen items in a the beautification of a bride known as Shodash Shingar. On the wedding night the husband would remove the nose stud to indicate the end of the woman's virginity. Thereafter a nose ring would symbolise that the woman was married.
The nose served a far more sensual and romantic role in the traditions of Indian culture. Ancient Ayurvedic practice links female reproductive organs to a particular spot on the left nostril and a piercing on that point was believed to lessen the pain during childbirth.
Nose piercings came to India through the Mughals in the sixteenth century. In India a nose stud is called phul and a nose ring is called nath.