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Parandis or parandas is a traditional handicraft of Punjab but famous all over the world. It consists of a bunch of colorful threads which is worn by women at the end of their long braids. The parandis are available in different types of designs with lots of variations in their weave patterns. Women wear a specific one that corresponds to the occasion. The bright, flashy brilliance of the Parandis are representative of the lively and energetic spontaneity of the Punjabis.

Punjabi women wear their hair long and these colorful and exquisitely designed parandis add to the look of their hair. The parandis are generally matched to the color of their traditional dress of salwar kameez or worn in complete contrast.

The History of Parandis

Parandis are often looked upon as one of the most captivating expressions of the folk art of the region which started ages ago in Patiala and later spread to other parts of the state. Punjabi women have traditionally loved using embellishments and accessories such as colorful clips and pins in their hair but most of these remained away from view because of the mandatory covering of their head with the Dupatta. The Queens and Princesses of royal families of Patiala came up with this smart move of using colorful threads at the end of their long, lustrous hair. This concept metamorphosed and emerged as Parandis over a period of time.

Making of Parandis

Making of Parandis is an industry in itself as there is a huge demand for these colorful knotty things with finely hanging threads at the end. Women from the districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Amritsar work in this handicraft industry. The growing market for the product ensures that women have enough work round the year. It must be mentioned that making parandis is a not as complicated a process as carpet or rug weaving and hence the output is pretty fast and in large numbers. There is a huge demand for parandis among visitors from other states and also among foreigners because of its unique design value.

Making Parandis is a creative process as the craftsmen have to work on an item that remains constant in terms of structure but must be made to look different by infusion of various elements with large doses of innovativeness. They are divided into the upper part, made by weaving strands of lengthy woolen threads together and the lower part which is the decorated element. The decorative trimming offers a lot of scope for variation in terms of forms, colors and sizes.

The Construction of the Parandis

The lower part or the tassel is made up of three parts. The Angoori which is called so because of its grape-like shape is actually a loop to attach to the upper part of the parandi called the Surahi. This is a conical-shaped accessory that holds all the elements together. The third part is the flower or the floral shaped thread design which completes the Parandi.

The artisans make use of some basic tools to make Parandis such as a pair of scissors and a comb. They also use ‘Thullu’ which is a small pillar like formation which forms the whole structure of parandis. There stone base and a vertical wooden rod are used to weave the threads of the parandis.

Some Popular Parandis Designs

Some of the most popular designs of Parandis that women love to wear include the Jali wali Parandi in which the threads are intricately weaved to resemble a jail or a mesh. The Moti Parandi consists of pearls and appears like a costly piece of jewelry. It may also contain mirror work creatively infused into the arrangement. You can also buy the Jalebi Parandi – called so because of its resemblance to the Indian sweet meat Jalebi. The Laddoo Parandi has rounded ball-like objects at the end of the tassels.

The designs of Parandis have constantly evolved with time. The ancient folk craft has been kept alive by the creative approach of craftsmen towards this art. New materials, clever mix of colors and addition of new type of embellishments has ensured that women still have the same intense desire to use this hair decorating tool as their ancestors had many decades ago.

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