(Last Updated on : 16/08/2011)
The traditional costumes of Lakshadweep
are enriched with abundance of colours. The scenic landscape is hence in tune with the resplendent costumes. The plain, but colourful costumes of Lakshadweep, and the Amini cluster of islands, deserve praise, for their inherent sense of artistry. The costumes vary for men and women, where as the costumes of the Minicoy are rather diverse than that of the rest of the population of Lakshadweep. Other than the traditional costumes, the women also embellish them selves with ornaments and jewellery. The young generation, however, are more inclined to modern western wear, than that of the traditional attires.
Men`s Costumes of Lakshadweep
The tribal men, of this coastal land, other than Minicoy, adorn themselves in white or coloured Lungi
, coming as a rectangular piece of cloth, with its edges, stitched together. Not only men, but also women tie a silver thread round the waist. This act as a girdle for a senior person, who pulls the Lungi through the string to hold it firmly round his waist. Normally, for daily wear and tear, men do not cover themselves upwards the waist. However, in ceremonial participation, they flaunt themselves in cotton or silk drapery, invested with impressive embroidery. This cloth is passed around the shoulders. The younger generation, exhibit themselves in shirts.
Women`s Costumes of Lakshadweep
The traditional costume of women comprises of Kachi, a rectangular piece of cloth, but unstitched unlike that of men. Kachis are, often made of silk fabric. This Kachi, enveloping a woman from the waist, is tucked into the waistband of silver thread. The shades of Kachis are generally black or white with black borders. However, the silk Kachis commonly come up in red body with contrasting black borders. The jacket, on the front side, contains fine-embroidery, done with glass or gilt bits. It is topped off by a full-sleeves close-fitting jacket around the waist. The colour-smeared scarf, known as Thattam, serves as a wonderful headdress.
Costumes of Minicoy
There is a discrete charm about the costume of the Minicoy population. The various stratas of this community namely, the Manikfans, the Thakrufans, the Thakrus and the Raveri project their own traditional dress. The Manikfan class has an air of elegance about them, reflected in their costumes too. Manikfan men dress themselves in the customary Lungis and shirts costume. However, the men of the remaining classes have embraced trousers, similar to the pattern of Jeans, as their daily costume. The trousers are available in black, white, blue, pink or green hues. The trousers are worn from the waist and are supported with a cord. Coloured embroidered tapelines along the sides as and around the ankles are also worn.
The custom is a little different for the Thakrus and Thakrufans. None is entitled to wear such trousers, except those courageous males, who have undertaken sea-expeditions. The scenario is again different for the Raveri class. Raveri men achieve ownership of wearing these clothes, after becoming mature adults. Waistband associates the trousers. The waistband is a strip of white cloth. The upper part of the women`s body is left without clothes. The headgear emerges is a stripy red or black cloth. The number of protrusions, be it four or two, is maintained in accordance to the class-status of the various classes. The younger generation has exhibited a liking for trousers and shirts to their costumes.
The costume of the Minicoy women is an under-garment, with blue or green colours, along with a long cloak, called Libus, stretching from shoulder to ankle. The Libus is usually seen as a brick-crimson cloth, marked with black stripes. This cloth has an opening only at the neck, with embroidery decorating that part. The costume for the ceremonial occasions, are decked with floral patterns. The practice of wearing a headdress prevails among these women. It is a strip of black cloth. At times, women use a veil-like covering, white in colour and expanding from the face down to the chin.
Accessories and Jewelleries of Lakshadweep
Ornaments are in vogue among the islander women, apart from the Minicoy women. A waist-ornament called Aranchan, bangles called Vala or Kodakam, for the wrists, ear-rings, Koodu and Alikkath, and a necklace, Urukku, are the popular jewellery items. The waist-belt could be of gold or of silver. The two types are the Kannadi Aracha, with a width of one inch, possessing a lock; and the Adippu, worn around the chain. The Vala is an ordinary bangle has a glamorous Kodakam, functioning as a bracelet. The design of Koodu, an eardrop is special. It has a pyramidal structure. Alikkath are small rings embellishing the ear.
The Urukku is however, the necklace, is a remarkable item, is a string of black beads, interspersed with gold. The plenty of ornaments, beautifying a bride for the most special important occasion of her life, are bestowed with greater details. The Minicoy women are economical about their ornaments choices. There exist some prohibitions regarding the use of jewellery. It is the privilege of the Manikka women, the female belonging to Manikfan class, that they can demonstrate themselves in the lustrous gold ornaments, because, women of other classes, can lay their hands on silver ornaments only. In general, all women wear a Modram, a finger-ring.
The intricacy of design and the good choice of colours and quality of fabric of the costumes of Lakshadweep call for recognition and praises of their taste and preferences.