Costumes of Meghalaya
show the ethnicity of the tribes namely the Garo tribe
, Khasi and the Jaintias. Nestled in the peaceful hills of the north-eastern part of India, the beautiful state of Meghalaya houses these three famous hilly tribes of India. It is interesting to note that the Garos are the most skilled weavers of the region. Probably, every family earns their livelihood through weaving. Indeed, the traditional costume for women, called Jainsen, is an unstitched garment wrapped around to cover the body. It is woven from mulberry silk cultivated in the local region. The crowning glory of the costume of Meghalaya is the Endi silk shawl
Women`s costume in Meghalaya
The weaver-ace Garos cater to different forms of costume, in keeping with the air of the ambience they are residing in. In the remote areas of Garo hills
` villages, the women drape eking, a short cloth round the waist. The Garo women go for a longer version of cotton attire in the crowded zones. A Garo woman dons a blouse, and wears a Lungi
like mantle of unstitched cloth called Dakmanda, by fastening it round the waist. The Dakmanda is an example of hand-woven cotton fabric. Its specialty is the six to ten inch broad borders embellished with attractive motifs or floral patterns. The element of tradition is much alive in the costume of the Khasi women. It entails a Jainsen, concealing till the ankles, which is topped off by a blouse. Above these garments, she ties the edges of tap-moh khlieh, a cotton shawl, round her neck or pins at the shoulders, to serve somewhat like an apron. During occasions, Ka Jainsem Dhara, a long piece of Assam Muga silk
, is added to this attire, so as to assume a radiant appearance. But the base-material for these costumes is mill-manufactured, as the Kashis are not so much attached with weaving today. Another strip of woollen cloth called Jainkup is used by the senior women. Jainkup is not so much in vogue among the younger generation. Khasi women, have the affordability to deck themselves in ornaments of pure gold and silver, made by local jewellery-smiths. The costume of the Jaintia women in Meghalaya is a little different from the other groups. A Jaintia woman envelops her head with a cloth-piece with checks called "Kyrshah", at the times of harvest-work in the field. She covers herself from the shoulders to the ankles, with a velvet blouse, along with a sarong called Thoh Khyrwang wrapped round her waist. She also ties round her shoulders an Assam
Muga silk cloth, flowing down to the ankles. There exists a practice among Jaintia men and women, to present themselves in gaudy, resplendent costumes, on festive and happy occasions.
Dressing without the embellishments of ornaments, is lustreless for Jaintia women. They adorn themselves with earrings and other ornaments of gold and silver. It is a custom to dress in head ornaments, like, a silver circlet worn round the head as a forehead -decoration. Both the Khasis and the Jayantis, flaunt themselves in a pure gold pendant kown as Kynjri Ksiar.
Men`s costume in Meghalaya
The Garo men put in a loin cloth as traditional dress. The traditional costume of the Khasi man in Meghalaya is unstitched lower apparel, akin to Dhoti
, completed by a jacket and headgear or turban. However, in the recent times, men display themselves in traditional garments only on social festivals and ceremonies, to keep the flame of tradition, glowing. The costume of the male members of the Jaintia tribe bears similarities with that of the Khasi men.
Western concept of dressing has entered the realms of costume-design in Meghalaya. However, the elegance and grace inherent to the ethnic costumes of this state complements the scenic beauty of the picturesque landscape of Meghalaya.