(Last Updated on : 27/10/2012)
Traditional clothing in India varies with region, religion and community. Every state of India has its own culture, customs and standard of living to follow and to celebrate fairs and festivals with these traditions. Festivals are the best way to explore India and its culture, which is unique in every state. India is a land of colour and varied cultures, so clear in the varied dresses that decorate its folks. Indian dressing styles are marked by many variations wide variety of conventional Indian clothing includes sarees, salwar kameez and Ghagra choli. Folk costumes are best to know the traditional cloths and dress of Indian states.
Costumes in Vedic Civilisation
From the very inception of the Indian civilisation, the people of India stressed on the dress materials. The costumes in Vedic Civilisation are very advanced at that time. These are elite to the region and the culture of the particular state and vary to a great amount. The traditional costumes of Vedic Civilisation
proved that these costumes and attires that are deeply rooted in the history, religion, tradition, customs and culture. The topography of the subcontinent is an important cause for the accessibility of a wide collection of attires during the period of Early Vedic period and the Later Vedic period.
Costumes of North Indian State
The primary fibre used in North India is cotton. However, since this part of India experiences winter, woolen clothes are quite common as well. The costumes of Jammu & Kashmir
are made of wool, silk with intricate embroideries and cotton. In these mountainous regions, Pheran, the traditional gown, is the most popular form of dressing among both men and women. The Pathani suit, also referred to as Khan-dress, is a popular garb among the men, especially in Srinagar
. Costumes of Himachal Pradesh
are different for each community, be it the Hindu Brahmins, the Rajputs
, and the tribal people. The soothing suppleness of the renowned Pashmina shawls
is the specialty of the handlooms of Himachal Pradesh. Western influence is visible on the costumes of the younger generation of Himachal Pradesh these days.
is famous for the Phulkari
, which literally means flower-work, shawls that are worn with a tight-fitting Choli and Gaghra, traditional attire. Although western outfits are worn by Punjabi women, but still the dress materials for Punjabi culture stands out are Salwar Kameez
, Saree, and Sharara.
The traditional costumes of Delhi
are Churidar or Salwar Kameez Dupatta for women, and Kurtas and Pyjamas for men. Salwar-suits with sequined embroidery or semi-precious stones embroidery, mirror-work, zari work, prints, hand paints, all alluring on excellent fabric is the characteristic of Salwar-Kameez in Delhi nowadays.
Costumes of North East Indian State
The Indian state costumes of the North east India stand apart. Ankle length skirts, jackets and traditional caps are a huge draw for the tourists. The costumes of Mizoram
bear conspicuous resemblance with that of the other hill-states of the Northeast. Puanchei, the gorgeous attire of Mizo girls is a must during weddings and festivals.
Costumes in the state of Meghalaya
show the ethnicity of the tribes namely the Garos, Khasi and the Jaintias. The women drape a short cloth round the waist, while the men put in a loincloth. Muga or the golden silk
fibre of Assam
constitutes the lion's share of the costumes of Assam. Traditional costume of Assam is called Mekhla
Costumes of Nagaland
mainly include shawls which are an extensively used item of the state. Costumes of Andhra Pradesh
reflect the cultural and ethnic way of life of the tribal people residing there. The females beautify them with various accessories like silver rings, earrings cut from bamboo-bits and appended with red beads or lovely turquoises.
Costumes of East and Central Indian State
Sarees are common in the eastern and central India. The costumes of West Bengal
reflect the state's cosmopolitan culture. For the men in West Bengal, the traditional garment is the Dhoti
and the Punjabi. The Lungi is another variation of the dhotis worn by men in West Bengal. In Bengal, a section of the saree is wrapped around the waist and the remaining portion is swathed over the shoulder. The Salwar Kameez is equally popular among the Bengali women as the Sarees. Costumes of Bihar are very traditional. Women mostly wear Sarees and men stick to Dhoti
Costumes of Madhya Pradesh
show multiplicity in various aspects. 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. The womenfolk of Madhya Pradesh dress themselves in Lehenga (long Indian skirt) and Choli (Indian blouse). Bandhani
cloth, locally known as Bandhej, is produced on a huge scale in Maundsar, Indore
. The delicate Chanderi Sarees
and Maheswari Sarees
produced in Madhya Pradesh are hand-woven, and they are quite renowned all over India.
Costumes of West Indian State
Costumes of western India are also quite diverse. Costume of Maharashtra
contains a nine yard sari called Nauvari
as the traditional costume for the women, and dhoti and shirt as the traditional costume of the men folk. The fabric of Nauvari Saree is usually cotton, and for special occasions, silk tops the priority list. Paithani sarees happen to be the treasured creation of Maharashtra's textile-industry. The men of Maharashtra uphold Dhoti as their cultural heritage. It may be worn along with a shirt or Kurta, and Dhoti is often substituted with trousers. They also wear Bandi
over the shirt and turban, known as Pheta and Pagri
. Costumes of Rajasthani inhabitants are colourful, gaudy, bright and elegant. While Pagari (turban), Angarakha, Dhotis, Pyjamas, Kamarband or Patka (waistband) form integral part of a male's attire; the female's attire includes Ghaghara (long skirt), Kurti or Choli (tops and blouses respectively) and Odhni.
Costumes of South Indian State
South India enjoys a warm climate; hence the Indian state costumes in this region are primarily made of cotton and are light. Sarees for women and dhoti like attires for men are quite common. In fact states like Karnataka
, Tamil Nadu
are renowned for their silk and cotton Sarees. Costumes of Karnataka consist of regal silk Sarees, which happen to be the traditional costumes of this place. Bengaluru
are the epicentres of silk-industries in South India. The Kanjeevaram
or Kanchipurram silks, of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, dazzle the eye with the rich texture, colours, and fabulous designs. The traditional form of dress worn by the people of Kerala are Mundu and Neriathu (a piece of white cloth having borders of golden Zari symbolising royalty) for the men; and sari (a five to six meter long cloth which is embroidered with golden border) and jacket for women. Costumes of Andhra Pradesh are sarees and blouse for women, and Dhoti and Kurta for men. The women of all communities, together with Muslims, wear sarees and blouses.
India is a land of festivities as well. Besides the traditional dresses there are special attires for the festivals. On the other hand there are certain Indian state costumes that are worn in almost all part of the county but the styles differ. For instance, Salwaar Kameez
, Punjabis and others are worn in most of the states.
Costumes and accessories go hand in hand in India. Small pieces of ornaments are worn along with the Indian state costumes on a regular basis.