Costumes of Lakshadweep for Men
The tribal men, of this coastal land, other than Minicoy, adorn themselves in white or coloured Lungi. 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.
Costumes of Lakshadweep for Women
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. 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 sections of this community namely, the Manikfans, the Thakrufans, the Thakrus and the Raveri project their own traditional dress.
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 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. 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 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’, 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 Minicoy women are economical about their ornaments choices. It is the privilege of the Manikka women, the female belonging to Manikfan class, that they can demonstrate themselves in gold ornaments, because women of other classes can wear 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.