The costumes of Tripura
are totally different from other North-East Indian people in terms of pattern and design. 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.
There is a striking resemblance in the traditional costume of the Khakloo and the other fellow tribes. The plain dressing style is apt for the hilly climate, and for regular work. The infants are hardly given clothes except when it becomes essential in the winter and rainy season. The children put on a loincloth.
Male costume of Tripura
The daily work-costume of a full-grown male is a towel-like sheet of loin cloth, called Rikutu Gamcha, topped off by a self-woven shirt, called Kubai. To combat the blazing heat of the sun and to continue working in the open heat, the men resort to a pagri, i.e., a turban. Western influence is prominently visible on the young boys of today`s Tripura, because they prefer wearing shirts and pants of international style.
Female costume of Tripura
The Khakloo, and at large the Tripuri women, envelop themselves in a greater size of cloth-piece, known as Rinai. This long as well as broad cloth is draped around the waist and reaches the knee. She dons herself in a shorter piece of cloth called Risa. This upper-attire passes under the arms, and conceals the entire chest-region of the body. Risas are often invested with beautiful embroideries.
Now-a-days, the younger generation of girls prioritize blouses over Risa, as being more management-friendly. However, still among few clans, the wearing of Risa during wedding is mandatory. Women folk also are found to use some kind of headdresses while at work outside.
The neck areas of women are adorned with plethora of beads and coin strands. The element of finery is dim in the costume of the women of the Lushei tribe. Every woman wears a dark blue cotton fabric, to serve as a skirt or petticoat. This cloth, wrapped around the waist, is held firmly by a corset of brass wire or string. The Rinai-like cloth, which falls down to the knees, is associated with an upper-attire; a short white jacket and a cloth to invest in their appearance the sobriety.
In the mirthful times of revelry, the female costume gets an extra item, a dignified headgear, specifically during dance-performance. This head-dress is a coronal, made of brass and coloured cane, further embellished with porcupine quills. Moreover, the upper edges of these quills are studded with the green feathers of the parrot`s wings, decorated at their tips, with tussocks of contrasting red wool.
Tripuri women generally use indigenous ornaments like chain made of silver with coin, Bangle made of silver, ear and nose rings made of bronze. They like flower as ornaments.
The earlier costumes of the Kuki-Chin women had deigns, imitated from the patterns, seen on the hide of snakes. They bore several names, such as Thangang, Saipi-khup, Ponmongvom, and Khamtang. However, these clothes were previously the prerogative of the women of the aristocrat background, like those from the chief`s family and other noble-blood.
The infants are normally kept undressed, although in winter and monsoon season, garments suitably shield them. Children, covers themselves in a loin-garment.
Indeed, the simplicity yet attractiveness of the traditional costume of Tripura, is attributed to the artistic fervour and weaving-talent of the natives.