(Last Updated on : 30/10/2012)
Costumes of Assam consist of the Muga or the golden silk fiber which has a huge demand in the global market. When an Assamese lady wraps herself in the extremely beautiful `Mekhela Chadar` of golden `Muga` variety then it is hard to pass by without casting a momentary look on her. Besides the `Muga` variety there is the `Eri` and the `Paat` that is being used mostly in the making of clothes in Assam. The former is used to make winter garments especially shawls called `Eri Chadar` and the latter is used for the making of `Mekhela Chadar.` The `Muga
` is the most important and the most preferred wild silk all over India and is the main cause behind the exquisiteness and elegance of the Assam Silk saris. The delicate designs, finely woven, on the saris cater to patterns in nature, for example, the flora and the fauna. Embroideries also incorporate, acquainted and culture-related things, such as architecture and stone-sculptures on the Madan Kamdev Temple in Assam.
Experiment of the Muga artists on the Costumes of Assam
Nowadays, Muga artisans, indulge in experimentation. They offer contrast creations of pinkish red or greenish blue and other innovative as well as traditional colours of red, blue, yellow, and green, against the inherent golden colour of the fabric. Assam silk saris Bridal wears are decked with gold and silver threads, to make the bride catch a splendorous get-up on her special occasion. This high quality textile of Assam, Muga silk, serves as the material-base, even for the traditional costume of Assam, called Mekhla Chadar. The Mekhla is an awesome ensemble, which resembles a sari, and is yet not a saree. The distinction lies in the fact that a Mekhla is composed of two or three pieces of cloth, whereas a saree is a single piece of cloth. One half of the Mekhla is worn as the skirt or petticoat or Lungi, while the other half, Chaddar, is akin to the saree`s Anchal, used as the upper-garment for the skirt. Added to the Chaddar, blouses are worn, below Chadar, to complete the dress. The Mekhla
skirt bears a broad border and is thicker in texture, but the Anchal is light-weight for easier handling. A Mekhla is hence a mix and match of Aanchal and Lungi
Hub of Costume of Assam
Sualkuchi is the place where the world famous Assam silk is grown. This place is called as the hub of Assam Silk. Various varieties, such as, Golden Muga, the White Pat and the warm Eri are grown here. It is situated at a distance of 32 kilometers from Guwahati. This village is often called the "Manchester of the East". Amongst all varieties of silk that are grown here the best is Muga. The golden silk of Assam is exceptional to this state.
Costumes of the Assamese Tribes
The Bodo Tribe
of Assam resides amidst the lush greenery of Assam. The Bodo tribal womenfolk acknowledge Mekhla as their prevalent costume. Along with the Chaddar, an upper-wrap called Riha. In fact, this happens to be the usual costume of the rustic people of Assam. The men of the Bodo tribe, dresses themselves in Dhoti
(an Indian loin cloth) and Chaddar, made from Endi (a material made from conglomeration of silk and cotton).
The dressing style of Dimasa Tribe in Assam
is very similar to the Bodo tribe. The men and women of Dimasa wear clothes made in looms of household. The women of this tribe wear Rigu which is skirt-like attire. It is usually made of silk or endi. On top they wear a vest-like cloth, called Rijamphai. The women folk also wear attire called Rikhaosa while dancing. The Dimasa men wear costumes called Rica or Dhuni. They also sport beautifully designed scarf known as Rinsaso. He also attaches on his head, a turban woven from pure cotton or Endi, which is 19 meters in length.
Thai Phake Tribe
The costume of the Thai Phake tribe stands illuminated with respect to its attractive charm. A Thai Phake woman uses a striped girdle, called Chin which stretches from the waist down to the ankles. There exists a cloth belt encircling her waist. It is called Chairchin. It has a width of about 6 cm and a length of 1.5 m. Young girls resort same upper-cloth structure, with the only difference being in size. It is called Fafek. The Thai Phake women are inclined towards beautification of themselves. They enhance their prettiness, by wearing multi-coloured blouse, called Chekhamchum. While attending invitation or paying visit to far-flung places, they flaunt themselves in dignified white shawl-like cloth called Chaddar. At times of wedding, this Chaddar acts as the customary veil to the bride.
The costume of the Thai Phake man is to some extent same. He wears a chequered green loin cloth, invested with black stripes and red, yellow or white lining, called Fatong. Upwards, he matches his Fatong, with a shirt called Sho. He also bears a white turban called Fa ho ho. While venturing out, the Thai Phake men, adorns himself in a white shirt with long sleeves, enriched with a plain bordered white shawl called Fa fek mai, to make him presentable at the place of his visit. Jewellery is a fundamental aspect of costume of any place. The remarkable feature of Assamese jewellery is Khopo Phool, an earring which appears like an orchid. The outlook is like two small shoes paired together and crowned by a floral construct, which is again connected to a chain.
Gaam Kharu is a large-sized silver bangle with shimmering gold polish. Another fashionable earring is Lokaporo, wherein two gold or ruby or mina or enamel-plated, bird figures are conjoined together, back to back. Assamese costume has cast an enchanting spell on not only India, but on foreign nations also, because of their mind-blowing perfection.
Mech Kachcharis Tribe
Mech Kachcharis wear ordinary dresses that are hand spun and hand woven. The men wear dhoti, turban and endi shawl or chaddar while the women wear dress like Assamese Mekhela Chaddar.
The people belonging to Rabha tribe
wear typical costumes known as koum kontong that are woven by women on the back-strap loom. These costumes are usually very elegant and colourful costume that is wrapped around as a skirt around their waists. A kambang covers the upper part of the body in the nature of a stole. Rabha women also adorn themselves with colourful blouses that they make themselves. The women also wear a delicate belt made of several, small conch shells or pearl balls around their abdomen that is known as labok.
The women of wear the Mishing tribe
Sampa around the west. Additional piece of cloths are worn by the married women around the hip. The upper portion of the body remains covered by Galuk. The women also adorn themselves with headdress known as Hura. Women wear a self-woven lion cloth, which is known as Gaseng Kebbung is the upper garment covered round just below the shoulders. Beautiful shawls or Ribi Gaseng is used mainly during the winter season and during festivals.
The males dress themselves in white dhoti as the lower garment and wear a white bush shirt or kurta as the upper garment. They also wear a turban on the head. The men also wear a cover coat with parallel and stripe design known as Mibu.