Decorative, colorful strings, knotted together into a woman’s braid or designed into hair buns, parandas form an important part of women’ attires in Punjab. The tassels are highly decorative: red is usually used for brides, gold or silver for special occasions, and other colors to match the everyday apparel. The Nala is the drawstring that holds up the lower garment at the waist be it a salwaar, pajama/women and men’s loose pant or the ghaghra gathered skirt. They are elastic across their width and the net-like surface is patterned with motifs.
The Patiala nala and paranda were famous as they were more elaborate and made of fine resham, silk, with decorative tassels that hung low and could be seen from under the kameez, upper garment.
Before the advent of factory made nala and paranda this was a household craft with every woman twined, plaited and knitted her own and these skills were passed on from mother to daughter. While techniques varied the nala were usually made by using the sprang technique where a net-like structure was formed by twisting and twining the wrap elements. Twists made at the top automatically formed at the bottom till the rows meet. The ends were then knotted into either a round or square knot called the harad after the black myrobalam as it resembled the fruit and then were plaited from the knot into naliyan or fine braids.
Using simple basic tools of the adda/frame and karma -sticks this tradition continues in Patiala where craftswomen from neighboring villages make and sell the handmade nala to traders in the Quilla Chowk area of the city.