Thirumalayampalayam department of costume design and fashion study material

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The Nepali language is spoken and understood all over the state. This language is similar to Hindi and uses the Devangri script. The traditional male nepali dress consists of long double breast garment flowing below the waist and a trouser known as "Daura Suruwal". The female dress consist of a double breasted garment with strings to tie on both the sides at four places, which is shorter than the Daura and is known as "Chow Bandi Choli". They also wear a shawl known as "Majetro". The "Khukri" which has become a synonym to the Nepali (Gurkha) culture, is a very sharp edged, angled, heavy weapon carried in a wooden or leather scabbard known as "Daab".


The costumes of West Bengal reflect the state's rich cultural traditions. The traditional costume of the women of West Bengal is saree, though salwar kameez and western wears are also gaining in popularity. The women of West Bengal prefer to adorn themselves with a variety of colourful sarees, which they wear in a characteristically Bengali fashion. Both silk and cotton sarees are very much popular in West Bengal. Among the silk sarees, Baluchari sarees have achieved a legendary reputation.

They are the products of wonderful craftsmanship of the weavers of West Bengal, which endow the wearer with a seminal style statement. Daccai sarees are also quite famous and popular both within and outside West Bengal. In fact, West Bengal has an exquisite weaving tradition, which has given its sarees a unique appeal. Shantipur in Nadia district, Begumpur in Hooghly district, Kenjekura in Bankura district are weavers' havens.

The traditional costumes for the men of West Bengal are dhoti and panjabi. The former is a lower garment, while the latter is an upper garment. Panjabi is similar to kurtas that are worn in north India as upper garments. The dhoti and panjabi can be of cotton as well as silk. However, very few Bengali men of this generation and even its earlier generation wear dhoti and panjabi, except on formal occasions like weddings or Durga Puja. In day-to-day usage, they prefer to wear western wear in work and leisure.

Besides handlooms, West Bengal is also known for its intricate needlework, which even in this information age is practiced by the women of West Bengal in homes. Colourful kanthas are the products of this painstaking but emotionally rewarding embroidery and needlework. These multi-coloured patchwork quilts, stitched from often discarded pieces of garments, are not only beautiful to look, but useful. They can serve as bedspreads, as mirror-wraps or as plain quilts to ward away mild winters. Sometimes these kanthas have illustrated artworks stitched on them, which adds to their aesthetic appeal.


Costumes of Nagaland mainly comprise shawls which are an extensively used item of the state. The Nagas are classified into sixteen tribes speaking different dialects, customs and traditional costumes. Among the men, the costume mainly consists of a short wrap-around skirt and a feathered headdress. Naga women have different styles of wearing a skirt, called mekhla, which vary with the respective tribes. For example, the women of the Ao tribe wear a piece of cloth wrapped around their waists like a skirt with a hand-woven top or blouse. In some cases, just a single piece of cloth is used to wrap the body starting from the bosom and reaching up to the knees. The pattern mainly consists of red and black stripes with small yellow motifs on the black stripes.

The traditional shawls are the most prominent as well as popular traditional clothing of Nagaland. The women of Aos clan of Nagaland wear a skirt- one and a quarter metre long. Around 2/3 of the skirt length is draped around the waist and the outer edge is used for securing the dress. These skirts are of varied types and differ according to villages and clans. Some of the popular types of Ao skirts include Azu jangnup su- with red and yellow-black stripes; Ngami su- the fish tail skirt; and Yongzujangau- the cucumber seed skirt which is woven in red threads on a black base. The women of Angami clan mostly wear a plain blue cloth and a white cloth with black marginal bands of varying breadth . They can also be seen in men`s garment. Casually, these Angami women wear a petticoat called neikhro, a sleeveless top called vatchi, and a white skirt called pfemhou. The vibrant colors and patterns are the distinctive characteristics of the Naga women's clothing.

Tripura, the frontier hilly state of the North-East, is the land of skilled weavers, gifted with proper know-how .The women of the local tribes, such as the Khakloo, the Halam, the Lushei and the Kuki-Chin tribe , excel in the art of weaving, as is attested in the diligent traditional costumes, which they diligently preserve.

The tribals prefer to wear clothes made by themselves. The texture of such clothes is thick. The men wear turbans and a narrow piece of cloth as a lower garment. Most of the time, the upper part of the body remains uncovered. However, they wear shirts when they go out. The women wear along piece of cloth as the lower garment, which is known as pachchra. They cover their breasts with a small piece of cloth called risha, which is embroidered with various designs. Some of the tribals occasionally wear shoes. The tribal men and women are casual in the matter of their hairdressing. 

Young boys and girls present quite a different picture as far as the dress is concerned. The boys prefer to wear shirts and pants. The girls feel shy of wearing the risha, and prefer to wear the blouses, which they purchase, from the market. However wearing risha in the marriages is still customary among many of the tribals. 

The Khakloo are a small, little known tribe who claim agnative relationship with the Purum Tipra- a dominant community that ruled the Tripura state for several centuries. They make their own clothes. The cotton is grown in the jhoom. Women do spinning and weaving only. It is forbidden for men to take any part in the operation, as it is feared that any man who participates in spinning or weaving will be struck by lightning. Similarly, there is a taboo on women in basket making: it is believed that if any women makes a basket, the male will be idle and timid and as a result he will not be successful in hunting.

In dress, the Khakloo do not differ from their neighbours. The typical dress of the Khakloo and their neighbours is simple but suitable for the hilly habitat. The infants are hardly given clothes except when it becomes essential in the winter and rainy season. The children put on a lion cloth. The working dress of an adult male is a napkin (rikutu Gamcha), a self-woven shirt (Kubai). When the sun is very strong, a pagri (turban) is sometimes used. In the winter, a wrapper is used.
The woman covers her lower part with a larger piece of cloth called Rinai. This cloth is fastened round the waist and falls down to the knee. She covers her upper part with a short piece of cloth. This is breast cloth called Risa passing under the arms and drawn tight over the breasts. Women folk also are found to use some kind of headdresses while at work outside. The necks of women are profusely decorated with strings of beads and coins.

The women are no more addicted to fine clothes than their men-folk. All women wear the same costume; a dark blue cotton cloth, just long enough to go round the wearer’s waist with a slight over-lap, and held up by a girdle of brass wire or string, serves as a petticoat which only reaches to the knee, the only other garment being a short white jacket and a cloth which is worn in the same manner as the men. On gala days, the only addition to the costume is a picturesque head- dress worn by girls while dancing. This consists of a chaplet made of brass and coloured cane, into which are inserted porcupine quills and to the upper ends of these are fixed the green wing-feathers of the common parrot, tipped with tufts of red wool. 

 Kuki-Chin tribe

The clothes the Kuki women wove in the past had designs that were copied from the skins of snakes. They were called by different names like Thangang, Saipi-khup, Ponmongvom, and Khamtang. These clothes in the olden days were not allowed to be woven by the commoners. Only the chief’s and the official’s families were allowed to weave these clothes. It was also forbidden to put on these cloths while crossing a big river. It was feared that the cloth might attract snakes to the weavers. The commoners were called chaga. The word denoted the common folk excluding the chief and his officers. In course of time, the priesthood came into vogue. 



  1. Write about the Traditional Costume of different States of India- Tamil Nadu , Kerala , Andhra Pradesh ,Karnataka ,Assam, Orrisa, Bihar, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, W.Bengal, Sikkim





Traditional Costume of different States of India; Maharastra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarpradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh


For Men: Dhoti, Shirt With A headdress 'Pheta'
For Women: Sari & Choli or Blouse

In Maharashtra, men wear dhoti and shirt with a headdress known as the "Pheta", and women wear sari with a short-sleeved 'Choli' (blouse). The sari is 9m long and is worn tucked between the legs.

Attires for Men

The dhoti is a fine cotton cloth of about two and half to three metres long, with or without borders on both the sides. The headdress is a folded cap of cotton, silk or woolen fabric, or a freshly folded turban known as 'Rumal', 'Patka' or 'Pheta'. The pre-formed turban known as "Pagadi" is now rarely to be seen. Sometimes a waistcoat or jacket known as "Bandi" is also worn over a shirt.

The Maratha Brahmans are very particular about the securing of their dhoti, which always had to have five tucks, three into the waistband at the two sides and in front, while the loose end is tucked in front and behind. Once Nagpur hand-made dhotis were famous for their durability.

Among the urbanite young men the use of dhoti is practically getting extinct; it is in some evidence among the middle-aged. The 'Sendhi' or scalplock is long discarded and they cut their hair short in imitation of the European.

Attires for Women

Maharashtrian women wear the Maratha 'Sadi' (saree) of nine yards and a short-sleeved 'Choli' (blouse) covering only about half the length of the back. The nine yards Sadi is generally worn by elderly ladies and is known as "Lugade" or Sadi in Marathi.

It is forty-five to forty-two inches in width and it has two lengthwise borders 'Kanth' or 'Kinar', and also two 'Breadthwise' borders, 'Padar', at the two ends, of which one is more decorated than the other. The mode of wearing the Lugade by Maratha Brahmans and other classes is with the hind pleats tucked into the waist at the back-centre and the decorated end (padar) thrown over the left shoulder. Maratha ladies allow it to hang form the waist down straight and round like a skirt and draw its end, which covers the bosom and back over the head.

Sadis of five or six yards in length have now become fashionable among young ladies in the urban centres. These are worn cylindrically over a "Parkar" or "Ghagara" also called petticoat. The old fashioned Choli is also discarded by them, and the use of blouses, polkas, and jumpers has become quite common. A reversion to new type of Cholis in the form of blouses with low cut necks and close-fitting sleeves up to the elbow is noticed now a days.

Women living in cities have become more westernised and working women these days wear 'Chudidars', pants, and skirts, which are more comfortable. With Bollywood in Mumbai, the city is the center of fashion and one can find the latest designs over here.

Costumes Worn On Festive Occasions

Though there is no special holiday dress on festivals or on days of family rejoicing, all who can afford it put on richer and better clothes than those ordinarily worn. For ceremonial occasions men prefer to dress after Indian style in a spacious looking long coat, called "Ackan", and "Chudidar Pyjama" or "Survar" slightly gathered at the ankles-end with bracelet-like horizontal folds. A folded woolen or a silk cap and "Cadhav" or pump-shoes perfects the ensemble.

Foot Wear

Shoes are usually worn in the heat and cotton-growing areas, but are less common in the rice area, where they would continually stick in the mud in the field. Women go bare-footed, but sometimes have sandals.

In towns and cities boots and shoes made in the European fashion have now been generally adopted and with these socks are worn, but their use is confined to small number of highly paid government servants, pleaders, young merchants etc. For the use of the common people sandals and "Chappals" of various patterns are used, and the Kolhapuri Chappals manufactured in Kolhapur and its surrounding towns and villages are famous worldwide.


Maharashtrian women wear traditional jewellery patterns of the Marathas and Peshwas. The Kolhapuri 'Saaj', a special type of necklace is very popular with Maharashtrian Women. The saaj is designed in all over Maharashtra but the Kolhapuri Saaj is famous.

'Patlya' (two broad bangles), 'Bangdya' (four simple bangles) and 'Tode' (two finely carved thick bangles) are the typical jewellery on the hands of women from this western state. The Maharashtrians are fond of pearls too. 'Chinchpeti' (choker), 'Tanmani' (short necklace) and 'Nath' (nose ring) are a combination of pearls and red and white stones. The 'Bajuband' (the amulet) is also a favourite. Flower-shaped earrings are a clear preference with the people here.

Costumes of Rajasthan are extremely bright, colourful and elegant. The beautifully designed and vibrantly coloured clothes lend cheerfulness to the dull-coloured monotone of the sands and hills. Interesting costumes and jewellery of these desert people are not mere ornaments for them. Everything from head-to-toe including the turbans, clothes, jewellery and even the footwear establish the identity, religion, and the economic and social status of the population of Rajasthan. The clothes worn by the people of Rajasthani people have been designed keeping in mind the climate and conditions in which they live.
Costume worn by Rajasthani Men
The pagari (turban), angarkha, dhoti, pyjamas, Cummerbund or patka (waistband) form an integral part of a Rajasthani male`s attire.
There is a proverb in Rajasthan which goes so, `a raga in music, taste in food and knots in a pagari are rare accomplishments.` The turban is significant of many important things. The style of the turban, its colour and the way in which it is wound is of special significance to the people of Rajasthan as it is symbolic of the caste and region to which a person belongs. Turbans of Rajasthan, also known as pagaris, come in many different shapes, sizes and colours. Moreover, there are specific turbans for specific occasions as well. The people of Udaipur are accustomed to wearing a flat pagari, while pagaris of the people of Jaipur are angular. The safa from worn by the men of Jodhpur has the distinction of having slightly curved bands. In Rajasthan about 1000 different types of pagaris can be found. A common pagari is usually 82 feet long and 8 inches wide. A `safa` is shorter and broader. Whereas the common man in Rajasthan wears a turban of one colour only, the men from rich families wear designs and colours which are suited to the occasion.
Angarkha, which can be loosely translated as body protector, is a garment which is mostly made of cotton. When there occasions of celebration and festivities in the region, people can be seen wearing printed angarkhas or those which have been subject to the popular tie and dye method. The two principal kinds of angarkhas which are common to Rajasthan are kamari angarkha and the long angarkha. The former type styled like a frock and reaches till the waist. The latter is longer and goes beyond the knees.
Dhotis or pyjamas
Dhotis or pyjamas are used to cover the lower part of the body. The dhoti is a piece of cloth which measures 4m by 1m and requires quite a bit of practice to be worn properly. Ateh commonly worn dhotis are white in colour. However on special occasions people also wear silk dhotis with a border of zari.
Patka was a garment worn by people of upper classes and royal families. It is a cotton cloth which measures about 1.5 metres by 1 metre. It was traditionally kept on the shoulders or worn around the waist to tuck in the weapons during medieaval times. However it is no longer in use and has become out of date, though one can still see Brahmins who wear traditional dupattas on their shoulders.
With changing times, the traditional style of dressing has also undergone a change. The Rajasthani man is often seen to dress in the urban garb of trousers and a shirt, or, sometimes, in an attractive combination of both urban and traditional garments teamed together. They provide comfort and utility, while preserving the cultural identity as well. Synthetic fabrics that are easily available, durable and require little maintenance, have been slowly replacing cotton as the favoured choice of the consumer. Also mechanisation in the manufacture of textiles, jewellery, dyes and sewing techniques have enhanced this transformation of Rajasthani costumes.
Costume worn by Rajasthani Women
The Rajasthani female`s attire includes Ghaghra (long skirt), kurti or choli (tops and blouses respectively) and odhna. Most of the Rajasthani women wear the ghagra which is a long skirt that reaches up to the ankle. It has a narrow waist which increases in width and flares towards the base. The skirt is usually not folded at the lower end like normal skirts but a broad, coloured fabric known as `sinjaf` is sewn below to make it stronger. The width and the number of pleats in the `Ghaghra`, are said to symbolise the wealth of a person. The ghagra comes in many colours and styles. The ghagras which are most popular among Rajasthani women are those which are cotton ones which are coloured or printed with mothra, chunari and laharia prints. Much like the pagaris of the men folk.
The Odhni is a specialty of Rajasthani costume. It is a piece of cloth which is about10 feet long and 5 feet wide. One corner of the Odhni is tucked in the skirt while the other end is taken over the head and right shoulder. The colours and motifs which are found on the Odhnis are particular to caste, type of costume and occasion. Both Hindu and Muslims women wear `odhnis`. An `odhni` with a yellow background and a central lotus motif in red called a `pila` is a traditional gift of parent to their daughter on the birth of a son.
Today, the traditional costume of the Rajasthani women is almost in a state of transition. The women are opting for new fabrics, designs and accessories. This transition of Rajasthani costumes now becomes more apparent among the affluent, the educated and those who, through their work or otherwise, have gained exposure to a range of other external influences.

Costumes of Royalty in Rajasthan
Royal costumes in Rajasthan reflect the regal taste of the state. The rich and luxurious dresses that were created for the royalty were made under the careful attention of special departments that were in charge of royal costume. The `Ranghkhana` and the `Chhapakhana` were departments that took care of dyeing and printing the fabrics respectively. The `siwankhana` ensured faultless and clear tailoring. There were two special sections, namely the `toshakhanand` and the `kapaddwadra`, that took care of the daily wear and formal costumes of the king. The Rajput kings were quite close to the Mughal court. Cosequently they dressed up in their most colourful and formal best. Richly brocaded material from Banaras and Gujarat, embroidered and woven Kashmiri shawls and delicate cottons from Chanderi and Dhaka were procured at great cost to make the various outfits of the Kings and nobility of Rajasthan.
The changes ushered in by modernisation were felt even in the changing costumes of the Rajasthani people. The popular culture that prevails in Rajasthan, the influence of television, cinema, magazines, newspapers and most importantly migration and urbanization have contributed to the modifications in traditional costume. However, traditional garments are still extensively worn in Rajasthan even today and the change has merged harmoniously with tradition, maintaining the spirit of Rajasthani dress.

'Mojaris' or 'jootis' (leather shoes made up of camel, goat or sheep skin) are worn by both males and females. Though camel leather is very soft and is only suitable to be worn inside the house, the shoes made up of goatskins and sheepskins are stronger and can be worn outside. Shoes are pepped up with intricate embroidery done on velvet or brocade, which is pasted on the outer part of the shoes. Jootis of Jaisalmeler, Jodhpur, Ramjipura and Jobre are especially famous all over the world.


Rajasthani jewellery has a distinctive style. Precious stones, diamonds and emeralds were not only used in ornaments but can also be seen in the hilts of daggers of kings and nobles, which are on display in the various museums. An earring or a pair of studs is common among men along with a gold chain or string of pearls (usually worn by the rich) or even silver 'hansli' (a variation of a thick bracelet worn around the neck usually worn by the peasants or the poor).

Tribal women of Gayari, Mina and Bhil are not far behind. Once they used to wear only brass ornaments made by Bharawas and it was customary for the bridegroom to give 25 kg of jewellery as a dowry. But times have changed and even these women have started using silver or white metal jewellery. There are other communities like Rabaris of Sirohi region and Raikas of Jodhpur region who wear heavy silver jewellery and often use inexpensive glass pieces to decorate them with. One can see captivating designs based on sun, moon, flowers, seeds and leaves on their jewellery. Besides the metal jewellery, Lac jewellery studded with glass pieces can also be commonly seen in Rajasthan. To the south of Rajasthan, one can see women wearing bangles that are made up of coconut shell with a silver strip set in a groove in the centre.

The vibrancy of the people of Haryana finds expression in their lifestyle too. Their simplicity and spirited enthusiasm for life is evident in their way of dressing up. The women of the region have a special attraction towards colours.

The dress of the people is generally simple. It consists of a dhoti, shirt, turban and a pair of shoes. A blanket or chaddar serves as wrapper. The men generally wear 'Dhoti', the wrap around cloth, tucked in between the legs with a white-coloured kurta worn atop it. 'Pagri' is the traditional headgear for men, which is now worn mainly by the old villagers. All-white attire is a status symbol for men.

Women love to wear colourful dresses. Their basic trousseau includes 'Damaan', 'Kurti' & 'Chunder'. 'Chunder' is the long, coloured piece of cloth, decorated with shiny laces, meant to cover the head and is drawn in the front like the 'pallav' of the saree. Kurti is a shirt like blouse, usually white in colour. The 'Daaman' is the flairy ankle-long skirt, in striking colours.

The turban has a different style for a Jat, an Ahir, a Rajput, a Bania or a Brahman. There is also difference in the dress of various communities particularly among women. A Jat woman's full dress, thel, consist of ghaggri, shirt and a printed orhni (a length of cloth draped over the front and shoulders) the ghaggri seldom falling below the calves. The Ahir woman can always be recognized by her lehenga or peticoat, angia (a tight blouse) and orhni. Her orhni is broader than that of Jat women. She employs it also to cover her abdomen. It is usually red or yellow, decorated with bosses and fringes, with a fall. The Rajput woman's dress is similar to that of an Ahir woman. Their orhni may be plain white with silver fringe but without a fall. The dhotis and saris are the favourite items of dress among Brahmans and Aggarwal women.

A woman would need at least three different sets of clothes, one for working at the grindstone, another for the field, another for drawing water from the well. Clothes indicate family status.

Coloured clothes are worn by the Hindus at weddings. The marriage party colour their duppatas only and the bridegroom his turban. A duppata or overcloth, kamiz or skirt, pajamas, salwar or ghagra with differences in make and colour is generally the female dress. Among the educated classes in the villages women are taking to saris of different colours. The dresses worn by women display more variety than male attires. The dress also proclaims the caste or community of the woman. A Gujjar woman can be known at once from the blue clothes and a Chamar from her red clothes. Round bits of glass are adorned by the clothes of Gujjar women. Unmarried girls abstain from gaudy dress to avoid undue attention.

In Haryana people of all communities were fond of ornaments. The common ornaments were small ear rings of gold or silver, necklaces called Kathla by Jats, and mala by Banias, bracelets and gold chains of several strings were worn on special occasions like marriages and only richer people could afford them.

The ornaments are usually made of gold and silver. The main items include haar (necklace), hansli (heavy bangles) made of silver, jhalra (long hanging string of gold mohars or silver rupees) Karanphul and bujni of gold and dandle of silver for the ears. The finger-rings plain and ornamented have different names. The large nose-ring is called nath. Other ornaments are Kari (anklet), Chhailkara neori and pati all worn on the legs by Ahir and Jat women but not by the Rajput women. Some new types of ornaments are tops (balian) for the ears, churis for the wrists and pandels for the neck.


The costumes of Himachal Pradesh are colourful and diverse and they differ from region to region, community to community, as well as from tribes to tribes. Each community in the state has its own costumes that are based on its customs and traditions. Again the costumes of each community are different, be it the Hindu Brahmins, the Rajputs, and the tribal people like Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis.

The priests of Himachal Pradesh mostly wear dhoti, kurta, a turban, a coat or a waist coat, and a small towel that is placed on the shoulders. The Brahmin priests also carry an Indian astrological yearbook, which is known as the Panchang. Based on these books the priest makes his astrological speculations.

The Rajputs, mostly descendants of royal families, generally adorn themselves with a long and body fit churidar payjama, a starched turban, a long coat and unique shoes with pointed edges. The turban is stiffened with the help of starch and is worn with a unique shape. The turban is thought of as a matter of honour for the Rajputs. During the olden days the Rajputs used to stick to the traditional veil for their women. All the women of the Rajput community had to venture outside in palanquins, which were heavily curtained.

The costume of the women hailing from the Brahmin and the Rajput clans are quite traditional. These women normally dress themselves in kurtas (shirt-like oriental blouse), salwars, ghaghri (Indian long skirts), choli (blouses or tops with intricate embroidery) and rahide (nice crimson headscarves decked with golden fringes).The farmers and worker classes required to toil, go for kurta, a loincloth and a cap. They cater to long pyjamas, for attending ceremonies, like marriage ceremonies or special occasions, such as festival.

However, there has been a visible change among the younger generation with more and more of them opting for westernised clothes. The most unique identity of the people in Himachal Pradesh is the hand-woven costumes, which are crafted with excellent finesse. The scarves that the women wear on their heads are very popular and make significant style statements. The specially made shoes, which are made from dried grass, are the best to keep their feet warm during the cold climate. Costumes of Himachal Pradesh are mostly woven by hand and the handlooms are very popular throughout the state. The difference in style and the quality of Kurtas, saris and gowns woven by indigenous weavers, serve as the insignia of Himachal handlooms.

Due to the cold and at times harshly cold climatic conditions, shawls are also very popular among the local people as well as the tourists. The people from Himachal Pradesh are renowned for their shawls. The shawls from Himachal Pradesh are very popular for their smooth texture, quality and finesse, and are the most stylist expressions of the costumes of Himachal Pradesh.

The Himachal crafts persons are extremely skilled in handicrafts and hence create masterpieces of art. These people, with their excellent skills, make for some of the best weavers in the world. The Himachali people are excellent at creating many beautiful art works and patterns, which is a must buy for any costume lover tourist. The beauty and smoothness of the Pashmina shawls and the soothing experience that comes from wearing it can only be felt. Manufactured from the hair of a type of goat also called Pashmina, these shawls are renowned across the globe.


Uttar Pradesh has had a long history of getting exposed to various cultures and traditions, which has helped the state to evolve a pluralistic heritage that is manifested through costumes, cuisines, handicrafts, dances and music among many other things. Over centuries, a wide variety of cultures and traditions, crafts and costumes, arts and cuisines has evolved in this state that has long been the cultural seat of India.

As far as costumes of Uttar Pradesh are concerned, sarees are still popular among its women at large. In fact, sarees and salwar-kameej are generally worn by women all over India, and are the traditional dresses of the country. The saree, a six metre cloth worn with a matching stitched-blouse piece is the standard dress, which women prefer all over the country. Benarasi sarees are an exquisite creation and are generally worn in east India in formal occasions like marriages. Salwars, a long skirt reaching below the knees, along with pyjamas or lungis, is also a common costume in the state, and also all over the country.

However, nowadays, with continual pressure of globalization, western clothing has come to dominate the fashion of the Indian society, and UP is no exception. Where costume is concerned, in this day and age, the modern men of UP prefers to wear western clothing - shirts and trousers- and the trendy women don shirts and skirts and even shirts and trousers. However, in the villages of UP, the men usually wear kurtas, which are long and loose shirts. Or they wear half shirts known as gangis, and a dhoti as the lower garment, a scarf known as angauccha, and a cap or even a turban. Women wear loose blouses and sarees. They even wear lehengas, which is a long skirt of sorts, and a long scarf known as orhni, which is used to cover their head and the torso.

The male among the Muslim population of Uttar Pradesh prefer the kurta or a shirt as the upper garment, complemented by a lungi or pyjama as the lower garment. Sometimes, the kurta is substituted by a sherwani, a long coat worn in formal occasions. Additionally, they wear a cap or a turban. Muslim women wear pyjamas, kurtas and duppattas.

The costume unique to north Indian women in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana is the ghagra choli. It is one of the most attractive costumes of Uttar Pradesh and also in the major parts of north India; decorated with glittering mirrors. The ghagra is a long pleated skirt, very intricately decorated with handwork. It is worn with a matching blouse. The dress is designed to leave the back and the midriff bare, thereby contributing to the sensual appeal.

Jewellery plays a considerable part in the costumes of Uttar Pradesh. Gold chains, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, rings, earrings, anklets and tiaras, with or without diamonds and other precious stones, silver and platinum jewellery, are popular across the state. Most jewellery is worn by women. Men prefer rings and thin necklaces of gold or platinum. There are many shops in Uttar Pradesh selling jewellery. Jewellery with ghagra-cholis adds a unique richness in dressing.

Costumes of KashmirCostumes of Jammu and Kashmir reflect the richness of the culture and landscape of the region. It has been historically seen that the early Aryan descendants who lived in this region, interacted with various prosperous civilizations like the famous Greeks, the Romans and the Persians. Such influences of its cultural ethos and tradition coupled with the climatic factors find a reflection in the attires of its people. Most of the garments are made of wool, silk with intricate embroideries and cotton. In these mountainous regions, the traditional `pheran` is the most popular form of dressing among both men and women. The pheran has a lot of beautiful embroidery work done on it and is decorated with floral motifs and designs.
Costumes worn by Kashmiri men
The pheran is the most commonly worn garment among men. Hindu men usually wear churidars while the Muslim men are dressed in salwars beneath the formidable pherans. The pheran is a loosely fitted woollen garment which makes use of the `kangri`. The kangri is an earthen vessel which is filled with flaming coal. It is then placed within a container made of natural fibre. The kangri is usually placed in the front, skillfully shrouded by the pheran. It functions as an internal heating system in order to keep the wearer warm during the extreme cold winters.
The `pathani` suit, also referred to as `Khan-dress`, is a popular garb among the men, especially in Srinagar. Turbans are common among Muslim men. Skull caps are extremely prevalent, especially among the peasants and the `karakuli` or fur skull caps along with the Pashmina shawls worn by men often symbolize royal lineage. The Pashmina shawls are made from traditional woollen textiles which are obtained from mountain goat. Intricate work is done on both sides of these shawls. The special Kashmiri embroidery work, Kasida, is done in such a manner that the patterns appear in a uniform manner on both sides of the fabric. The Pashmina belts and `kamarbands" are common too. The Muslim men wear lace-free shoes known as Gurgabis. Brocade, camel hair and cashmere are the main elements that are used in the making of coats and fleece for men.
Costumes worn by Kashmiri women
The pheran is the prominent attire for Kashmiri women as well. Traditionally, there are the `poots` and the pheran, comprising two robes placed atop the other. The pheran worn by women usually has zari embroidery on the hem line, around pockets and mostly on the collar area. The pherans worn by the Muslim women are traditionally characterized by their broad sleeves and reach up to the knees. However, the Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir wear their pherans long, stretching up to their feet with narrowed down sleeves. Often, the pherans are wrapped tightly by a piece of creased cloth called `lhungi`. The Hindu women wear a headdress called the `taranga`, stitched to a suspended cap and it narrows down at the back, towards the heels. The taranga is an integral part of the wedding attire among Hindus.
Elaborate zari embroideries or floral patterns around the neck and the pockets are a prominent feature of a Muslim woman`s pheran. Brocade patterns adorn their long sleeves.
The pheran is accompanied by red headgears known as the `kasaba`. The kasaba is stitched in the form of a turban and is pinned together by ornaments and silver brooches. A pin-scarf suspended from the kasaba descends towards the shoulder. It is worn by the Muslim women as a part of their regular attire. The `abaya` is also commonly worn by them. For unmarried Muslim women, the costumes vary to some extent. The elaborate headgears are replaced by exquisitely ornate skull caps embellished with threads of gold, talismans and gems.
Accessories worn by Kashmiri women
The intricate patterns of a woman`s costumes in Jammu and Kashmir are further enhanced by the use of various accessories. Earrings, anklets and bangles are widely used apart from the use of ornamentation in clothing. Silver jewellery is popular among the Muslim women and they adorn themselves with neckpieces, bracelets and heavily bejeweled chains. `Dejharoos` or golden pendants are worn by the Hindu women. These dejharoos comprise two decorative gold pendants which are suspended through gold chains or silk threads. It is symbolic of a woman`s married status among the Kashmiri Pandits.
Costumes worn by ethnic groups of Kashmir
The Jammu and Kashmir landscape is dotted with various ethnic groups. The Dogras are tribes residing amidst the hilly topography of Jammu. The Dogra womenfolk are found attired in fitted pajamas and tunics accessorized with a suitable headdress. Similar fitted pajamas and kurtas of considerable length constitute the costume of the Dogra men. The use of kamarbands and turban are prominent among the Dogra elders.
The Gujjars, also residents of Jammu, are the second-largest group of ethnic tribes inhabiting in Kashmir. The members of this tribe are mostly shepherds. The Gujjar women are dressed in loose sleeved tunics coupled with baggy salwars. They cover their head by an elaborate headgear, akin to the ones worn by the women in Turkish villages.
The costumes of the inhabitants of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir deserve special mention because of their extraordinary variety. `Kuntops` are woolen gowns worn by women. It is accompanied by a `bok`, a brightly decorated shawl that can aid in carrying packages and even children. The men wear `Goucha`, a woollen robe made of sheep skin fixed at the neck. It is wound at the waist by a bright sash called `Skerag`. It extends to about 2 metres in length and 20 cm in breadth. The Skerag serves as an enclosure for the Ladakhi men to carry their bare essentials. Men in Ladakh wear velvet multihued caps while the women adorn turquoise colored hats named `Perak`. According to tradition, upon a woman`s demise, the perak is handed down to her eldest child. In Ladakh, footwear made of Yak skin and wool is known as `Papu`.
It has been seen that over the years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have adopted the dressing style and habits of the west as well as those of other regional Indian cultures. This is noticed primarily among the men have appropriated the western attire to a great extent. The sari is more popular among the Hindu women after the 1930s Reform Movement. However, despite these influences, the traditional pheran continues to remain the symbol of the culture and couture of Jammu and Kashmir.


Gujarat is land of diverse cultures and a large number of folk dances exist here. For precisely this reason, Gujarat has a lot of costumes, which are relevant for various occasions. Many of the costumes of Gujarat are specially designed for each occasion and are heavily embroidered.

Navaratri is the most famous and the most liked festival in Gujarat. It is also a very colourful festival. During the dance of Navratri, traditionally men wear kedia and women wear ghaghra cholee. Kedia comes with tight sleeves and pleated frills at the waist. Gauri Puja, Nag Panchami, Janmashthami, and Ganesh Chaturthi are other important festivals of the state. Most of the festivals of Gujarat are celebrated by women, and they provide the perfect opportunity for them to showcase the colourful costumes of Gujarat.

Generally the men in Gujarat wear dhoti, along with a long or a short coat and turban. But nowadays, the pants are becoming common instead of dhoti. Men of sawarashtra wore dhoti with front pleats formed by the portion of the left side and the lower portion of the right side tucked at the back. The dhoti was called kaccha. But the men of Brahmin community were dhoti in a different manner. They picked up the lower edge of pleats and tucked them at the waist so that no loose pleats were formed. This form of dhoti was called dhotia, dhotara and potiya. A short double breasted jacket fastened on left side and tight fitting up to the waist, called chaubhandi was also known as bodiyan, or badar. On ceremonial occasions, they wore a long coat called Jama or Angrakha or vago or vagho. They carried a piece of fabric folded and drapped over the shoulder known as dupatta, pachedi, angvastra, upvastra or upvami. Head dress consisted of performed turban known as sopha or pheto.

The main dresses for women in Gujarat are sari and blouse, ghaghra was worn as undergarment. Ghagra even being an undergarment is richly embroided and is called caniyo or carino. They have a particular style of wearing these sarees. The sari was worn in two different styles:

Sari was tucked in at the left side, carried through waist from back and brought to the front over the right hip, formed into a few pleats and these pleats were tucked in the carino. This manner was called oti. Remaining part of the sari was carried backward and then to cover the head and brought to the front right shoulder or tucked on left side of waist. The portion of the sari hanging back is called phadek or sodia and the portion covering the head head is called lagger or ghunghat.

The upper part of the body was covered with backless choli called kaeli. Some older women were front fastening choli. This was usually worn by tying up in front two lapels. Sari worn by Gujarat women had a border, which is called chora leka or gotha. The common term used for cotton saris was lagadu. Silken sari were of three types- one, red silk with silver or golden border and small motifs all over the field, called Paithan sari. Second, white silk with red circular tie and dye motifs (or vice versa), called ghar charo sari. And third, any colour silk with black and white border called ghatapoda.

The conventional dress code for the Parsi women in Gujarat is very similar to that worn by the Hindu women. The only difference between the Parsi dresses and the Hindu dresses is that the Parsi women wear long sleeved blouses and a scarf on the head. However, the trend of wearing salwar kameez among the Gujarati women is also catching up fast. The western attire is also becoming fast fashionable among the younger generation of Gujarat in great numbers.

Gujarati women are also fond of bindi, and they are preferred by both married and unmarried women. Generally, the colour of the bindi matches the colour of the outfits worn. Married Gujarati women wear red bindi on their forhead. Mangal sutra is also adorned by most married Gujarati ladies, as are necklaces, earring and bangles. During marriage ceremonies, Gujarati women are fond of wearing their jewelry, and the bride gets virtually bedecked in jewelry. Among the Hindu Gujarati males, wearing a gold chain or a ring is fairly common. Traditional men folk of Gujarat also wear embroidered caps and colorful turbans.


. Madhya Pradesh costumes exhibit diversity in various aspects. Handicrafts and distinct textile techniques have given rise to a rich variety of costumes of Madhya Pradesh. The various techniques and patterns of cloth include tie and dye, batik and weaving. Threads are tied, dipped in multi-coloured dyes and tied on cloth to make various imprintations. This resultant printed cloth is called bandhani, which is quite famous all over India.

Bandhani (locally called Bandhej) cloth is produced on a large scale in Maundsar, Indore and Ujjain. The fabric is painted with molten wax and is dyed with cold dyes to produce a cloth type called Batik. Contrast patterns on Batik cloth are quite famous. The delicate Chanderi and Maheshwari sarees produced in Madhya Pradesh are hand-woven, and they are quite famous all over India.

Costumes in urban Madhya Pradesh are quite like the costumes all over the urban India. They include sarees, shirts, pants, salwar suits, etc. The peasant population wears dhoti made from cotton or other light garments. The headgear here includes Safa, worn in the eastern part of the state, and Pagri is being worn in the western part. A piece of cloth known as Orni or Lugra is used to cover the head and the shoulders.

The majority of the people of Madhya Pradesh attest Dhoti as their traditional costume. Safa, a kind of turban, is the headgear, which is the common feature of Madhya Pradesh`s costume. Furthermore, a white or black jacket called Bandi or Mirzai, is a part of the men`s attire, specifically in Bundelkhand and Malwa. The myriad colours of this traditional costume of the men of Madhya Pradesh, gives the men a radiant and dignified appearance. The womenfolk of Madhya Pradesh dress themselves in Lehenga (long Indian skirt) and Choli (Indian blouse).Another additional strip of cloth called Orni or Lugra is draped around the head and shoulders, to retain a decent and sober look. Red and black, are the favourite shades for this feminine costume.

Tribal people, for presenting themselves in public wear short-sized Dhotis, but in the remote ambience of the forests they feel cozy in minimal garment, called langot. The children, or the school-going group of Madhya Pradesh, have uniforms, very similar to the student`s costume of other states. Boys visit school in short-pants and shirts; whereas, girls, cover themselves in ghaghri, a kind of Indian skirt, or in Western frock. It is definite that a costume is incomplete without shoes, which are a necessity and no more a luxury. The villagers of Madhya Pradesh wear raw-leather shoes, made by the village-cobbler. These shoes are tough and lasting in order to endure the immense toil of he primarily agricultural rustic people of Madhya Pradesh.

Ornaments are a natural accompaniment to Indian costumes, and that of Madhya Pradesh, is no exception to this rule. The tribal women of this state augment their beauty in silver or Kathir ornaments. Their treasure-chest incorporates Kadas (bracelets) and Kangni (bangles) on hand and Hansli and Haar (necklace). Aluminium or silver bracelets decorate the wrist and armbands, the upper-arm. Bali or little ear-studs, Zele on the forehead, silver Kandora on the waist-line, payal (anklet) and Bichhudi on the toes, gives the tribal woman a gorgeous look. The accessories of the refined and educated elite women have a different charm. They go for similar types of ornaments, but they have the affordability to indulge in the delight of gold. Young girls, hanker for silver or aluminum-made Pyjeb to embellish their feet. Their necks are adorned with sleek silver or golden chain, bearing often, attractive pendant or locket. Semi-precious or today`s imitation jewelry are quite popular among the young generation of girls.
Tattoo painting is an important constituent of the costume-pattern of Madhya Pradesh. In tribal-crowded zones like Bhil, Bhilala, Banjara, Meghwal, Charan, Kahar and Kumhar, the tribes, who are by profession potter, engage in a lot of captivating tattooing. Particularly, the women of these tribal sects prefer drawing on their arms tattoos of flower, self-name or picture of a god, an ox, i.e. subjects from the wide range of the flora and the fauna encircling them.






Indian Jewellery – jewelleries used in the period of Indus valley civilization ,Mauryan period , Gupta Period , the Pallava and Chola Period ,Symbolic Jewellery of South India, Mughal period. Temple Jewellery of South India,Tribal jewellery

A brief study of gems and precious stones.


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