India is called Incredible India, i.e. land of diversity dipped in unity. People from various religions, cultures, regions, dialects, ethnicity and races live together. With such uniqueness among people, the Indian states possess some characteristics that are unique to it. Each state has its traditional dresses, cuisines, festivals, folk dance and language.
During festivals and celebrations, people usually turn to their folk dance and traditional dresses. They adorn beautiful dresses that are specific to their state and community. Traditional dresses of Indian states vary from region to region. Let’s explore the various traditional dresses of states in India:
|Himachal Pradesh||Kurta-churidar (Rajput), kurta-dhoti (Brahmin), embroidered overcoat, turban and soft towel (Brahmin).||Salwar-kurta (Rajput), Ghagra-Choli (Brahmin), rahide and shawl.|
|Uttarakhand||Kurta with lungi, dhoti or pyjama, turban (older men) and topi (younger women), woolen jackets and sweaters.||Garhwali– Saree, blouse and shawl.|
Kumaoni– Ghagri-choli and odhani (pichhora).
|Haryana||Kurta-dhoti and pagri.||Kurti, daaman and chuder.|
|Punjab||Kurta-muktsari pyjama and pagri.||Salwar-kameez or kurta.|
|Rajasthan||Dhoti, angrakha, kurta-pyjama and pagri.||Ghagra-choli and odhani.|
|Gujarat||Chorno-kediyu and phento (turban).||Chaniyo-choli , odhani and saree.|
|Maharashtra||Dhoti-kurta, bandi and pehta.||Nauwadi saadi or lugda.|
|Goa||Catholic and non-Catholic- Western attire.Fishermen wear colourful shorts and half pants.||Catholic– Gowns and dresses.|
Non-Catholic– Pano Bhaju, Nauwadi and Kashti.
|Karnataka||Kurta, lungi and angavastram.||Kanjeevaram silk sarees, Mysore silk sarees and Bangalore silk sarees.|
|Kerala||Mundu and melmundu.||Mundum-neriyathum.|
|Tamil Nadu||Lungi, angavastra (shirt) and angavastram.||Kanchipuram silk sarees and pavada (young girls).|
|Andhra Pradesh||Dhoti, kurta and lungi.||Silk saree and langa-voni.|
|Telangana||Pancha (dhoti), kurta and Hyderabad sherwani.||Langa Voni, salwar kameez and churidar|
|Odisha||Shambalpuri kurta and dhoti.||Shambalpuri and Khandua saree.|
|Chhattisgarh||Sleeveless kurta, dhoti and cotton headgear.||Lugda (saree) and polkha (blouse).|
|Madhya Pradesh||Dhoti, saluka (shirt), mirzai or bandi (jackets) and safa (turban).||Ghagra-choli and odhani or lugra, and bandhej sarees.|
|Uttar Pradesh||Kurta-pyjama or dhoti.||Benarasi sarees, ghagra-choli with odhani and salwar kameez.|
|Bihar||Mirjai (kurta) with dhoti or lungi||Tussar silk sarees.|
|Jharkhand||Dhoti and innerwear with red and white scarves on the waist.|
Tribal- kurta-pyjama or dhoti.
|Tussar silk sarees.|
Tribal- Parhan and Panchi.
|West Bengal||Panjabi and dhoti.||Cotton or silk sarees.|
|Sikkim||Bhutia tribe– Bakhu/Kho|
Lepcha tribe- Thokro-Dum.
|Bhutia tribe- Bakhu/Kho|
Lepcha tribe- Dumvum.
|Assam||Dhoti, kurta and tongali (waistcloth).||Mekhela-chador.|
|Arunachal Pradesh||Adi- Jackets and woollen dresses.|
Sherdukpen- Sleeveless silk cloth and a skull cap.
Tangsa- Green cloth, sleeveless shirt and upper garment.
|Adi- Jackets and woollen dresses.|
Sherdukpen- Knee-length sleeveless and collarless dresses, waistcloth and full sleeves embroidered jacket.
Tangsa– Blouse and petticoat.
Miji– Long cloaks.
Monpas– Skull cap, loose sleeveless shirt and a long jacket.
Lower Kamla Valley– Crinoline of cane rings on upperbody.
|Nagaland||Alungstu and kilt.||Azu Jangup Su, mechala, neikhro and Moyer tusk.|
|Manipur||Dhoti, kurti and pagri.||Phanek, sarong and inaphi.|
|Mizoram||Long and wide clothes.||Puan, Pawl Kut, Chapchar Kut, the main dress, and Kawrechi, handmade blouse.|
|Tripura||Rikutu Gamcha, a loose towel-like cloth and Kubai, a shirt.||Rinai (lower body) and Risa (upper body).|
|Meghalaya||Long cloth on their waist, jacket and turban.||Garo– Eking, wrapped on waist, blouse and dakmanda (lungi).|
Khasi– Jainsen (skirt), blouse and tap-moh khileh, (shawl).
Jaintia– Thoh Khyrwang, a long sarong and blouse.
Rajput men wear long kurta with churidars while Brahmin men wear kurta with dhoti. Men adorn overcoats made from yak leather and embroidered with golden threads and turban. This traditional attire keeps them warm during winters. Brahmin men mostly wear white coloured dresses and hang a soft towel over their shoulders.
Rajput women wear a long kurta over a skirt or salwar. Brahmin women wear Ghagra-Choli, sometimes also worn by Rajput women. Women also wear rahide, i.e. headscarves. Women drape shawls and wear a lot of bangles.
Men of Garhwalis and Kumaonis wear kurta over a lungi, dhoti or pyjamas allowing them to travel long distances on foot. Men also wear turban. Over the kurta, men wear woollen jackets and sweaters. Older men wear turban while the young men wear topis.
Garhwali women wear a saree called Sarang. The saree is pleated, wrapped and tied around the waist. Over the saree, they tie a shawl around their waist. They wear a blouse to protect themselves against the cold climate and wear a sweater on top of it. Traditional dresses of Kumaoni women include Ghagri-Choli with odhani (pichhora). The pichhora are considered holy and are red with gold or silver lace embroidery or gota work.
Haryanvi men wear kurta, usually white, over dhoti, white or colourful. They wear pagris on their head, usually worn by old men of villages.
Women wear kurti, usually white, like a blouse over daaman, a flared ankle-length skirt that is brightly coloured. Over the daaman and kurti, women drape chunder, a piece of cloth with shiny lace at the borders. One end of the chunder is tucked inside the daaman, and the other is used to cover the head.
The traditional dress of Punjabi men is a kurta over a muktsari pyjama and pagri. The muktsari pyjama has replaced the tehmat. The tehmat is worn at special events or by performing actors.
Women wear straight-cut salwar with a kameez or kurta. This attire has replaced the traditional Punjabi ghagra, which is now worn by old women or by performing actors. The Patiala salwar is a renowned dress of Punjab.
Men wear dhoti, angrakha, a waist-length or knee-length cloth worn on the upper part of the body, and pagri. Angrakha is a robe-like dress tied by two threads. Men also wear knee-length kurta over a pyjama with a pagri. The pagri is available in various prints like bandhej and tie & dye.
Women wear ghagra, choli and odhani. Ghagra is a long skirt that is pleated and beautifully embroidered. It is available in various fabrics (silk, crepe, cotton and georgette) and prints (bandhej, tie & dye, leheria, mothra and chundri). Choli (Kurti or Kanchli) is decorated with mirror-work, beads, sequins and coral shells. Odhani is embroidered with prints, designs and beadwork. One end of the odhani is tucked inside the ghagra and then draped over the shoulder and used to cover the head.
Gujarati men wear chorno and kediyu. Chorno is a loose and comfortable cotton well-stitched dhoti worn using threads or elastic, while kediyu or angrakhu is frock-like clothing worn on the upper body. It is colourful and frilly. Chorno and kediyu are brightly coloured, patterned and covered with mirror work. Men also wear a turban on their heads called phento.
The traditional dress of Gujarati women is chaniyo-choli and odhani. Chaniyo is a pleated skirt-like cloth worn under a choli. Choli or Polku is an embroidered short blouse. Over the chaniyo-choli, women drape odhani to cover their heads. Saree is also a traditional dress of Gujarati women. Women wear saree with the end of the saree in the front.
Men wear dhoti, kurta, bandi and pehta. Bandi is a short jacket worn over the kurta. Pehta is a small cotton hat worn on the head to protect from sunlight.
Women wear a nine-yard saree called Nauwadi Saadi or Lugda. The saree is draped in the style of the dhoti, and choli is worn on the top. Maharashtrian sarees are usually green, red or yellow.
Goan men do not have any traditional dresses as such. The Catholic and non-Catholic men of Goa wear western attire in daily life and catholic men wear three-piece suit during weddings. The fishermen of Goa wear colourful shirts and half pants.
The traditional dresses of women of Goa varies. The Catholic women wear gowns and dresses. During weddings, they wear white bridal gowns. Non-Catholic women wear different clothing- Pano Bhaju, Nauwadi, Kashti. Pano Bhaju is Goa’s traditional dress that is a nine-yard saree. It is available in various designs and is inspired by Persian, Chinese and Central Asian dresses. Nauwadi saree is worn in dhoti style. The saree is 9-yard in length and is studded with stones. Kashti is another traditional dress of Goa made from loincloth and is worn with kunbi pallu, a tied knot in the pleated saree.
Men wear kurta and lungi. Kurta is a knee-length shirt, and lungi is a long piece of cloth wrapped and knotted around the waist. The look is completed with an Angavastram, a piece of cloth draped over one shoulder.
Women of Karnataka wear silk sarees woven by weavers with precision. Kanjeevaram silk sarees are the most famous of Karnataka. The demands of these sarees are wide all over India. The saree is dyed in cream, red, pink, white, and decorated with zari work from pure silk thread and thin silver wire gilded with pure gold. Mysore silk sarees are made from pure gold zari work. Traditional Bangalore silk sarees are found in blue, red, yellow, maroon, orange and green.
Men wear mundu, which is white and decorated with kara, a coloured border, usually golden. On the torso, men drape melmundu, a cloth worn on the shoulders like a towel.
The traditional dress of the women of Kerala is mundum-neriyathum. One mundum is tied around the legs, and one end of the other mundum is tucked inside the wrapped mundum, draped over the front and put over the shoulder.
Men wrap lungi around their waist and wear angavastra (shirt) over the lungi. Over the shoulder, men hang angavastram, a piece of cloth.
Tamil Nadu women wear a silk saree. The Kanchipuram sarees of Tamil Nadu are highly in demand throughout India. The sarees are 5-6 yards long. The unmarried young Brahmin girls wear Pavada, a combination of a long skirt, short blouse and a shawl (davani).
Men wear dhoti and kurta or shirt and lungi. The length of dhoti varies from knee to ankle. All the traditional dresses of men are made from cotton fabric.
The women wear silk saree. Different regions of Andhra Pradesh are famous for their sarees- Pochampally, Dharmavaram, Uppada, Gadwal, Mangalgiri, Narayanpet and Venkatagiri. The young girls wear Langa-Voni, a dress consisting of a skirt, blouse and dupatta.
The men wear Pancha (dhoti), kurta and Hyderabad sherwani. Pancha is widely popular in Telangana, particularly among the Brahmins living in the state. Everyone wears a kurta. The colour of their clothes is light, and the fabric is soft, usually cotton.
The traditional dresses of women are Langa Voni, salwar kameez and churidar. Langa Voni is made of cotton and lavish material. Most of the clothes are made of cotton fabric because of the climate there.
The men of Odisha wear white cotton dhoti with a border that is a brick colour. On top of the dhoti, men wear Shambhalpuri kurta, a short variation of the kurta.
Women wear Shambhalpuri saree, a handwoven saree dyed before the weaving process. Women also wear Khandua saree, a saree associated with Odisha’s aesthetics and culture. Lord Jagannath, the most worshipped deity of Odisha, is decorated with the Khandua saree.
Tribal men wear sleeveless jackets over dhoti made from linen, cotton or jute. They also adorn cotton headgear to protect them from the sunlight.
Tribal women wear brightly coloured sarees made from different printing techniques. Their saree is lugda, worn in Kachhora style, and the blouse is called polkha. The length of the saree varies from knee to ankle length. The sarees are made from linen silk or cotton. They use various techniques to dye their saree; the most famous is tie & dye, also called batik. Maheshwari, Chanderi silk, Odisha silk and batik sarees are popular among the tribal women.
Men wear white, cotton dhoti with salukas, waist-length, short-sleeved, collarless cotton shirts. Over the salukas, men wear jackets called mirzai or bandi. On the head, men adorn brightly-coloured safa (turban).
The traditional dresses of women are ghagra-choli and bandhej sarees. Ghagra and choli are worn with odhani or lugra. Apart from Bandhani, Maheshwari and Chanderi sarees are also famous in the region.
Men wear loose collarless cotton kurta embroidered with chikan design. They pair kurta with pyjama or dhoti that is loose-fitting, giving them comfort and ease to move around.
Women wear silk Benarasi saree or cotton chikankari saree. Benarasi sarees are decorated with brocade work. Lucknow is famous for brocade and chikan work. Women also wear ghagra choli with odhani and salwar kameez.
Bihar men wear mirjai (kurta) with dhoti or lungi worn by men of all ages. Kurta is made of cotton or silk and designed using motifs, embroidery or chikan work.
Women wear sarees that are available in various colours, fabrics and designs. The Tussar silk saree is a famous variant of saree from Bihar. In Bihar, women usually wear saree with the end of the saree in the front, called the ‘seedha aanchal’ style.
Men wear dhoti with innerwear. On top of that, they tie red and white scarves on their waist. This attire is called Bhagwan. Tribal men also adorn kurta pyjama or dhoti.
The traditional dress of women is a saree and blouse. The saree is knee-length and colourful. Tussar silk sarees are quite famous. The tribal women wear Parhan and Panchi. Panchi is the blouse, and Parhan is the upper garment wrapped around the body like a saree. The women of the Munda and Oraon tribes wear cotton sarees with borders and patterns without a blouse.
Men wear Panjabi and dhoti. A Panjabi is similar to a Punjabi kurta in style, but the quality of the kurta makes it different. Panjabis are made from authentic Bengal fabric like Tussar silk, cotton silk, Muga silk, Kantha silk or garad silk and embroidered with Kantha stitch over neck and button areas. The Panjabis are paired with dhoti made from cotton or silk.
Bengali women wear sarees that are a symbol of elegance. Sarees are made of cotton or silk fabric and woven. Bengali sarees have a beautifully embroidered border or pallu. The various districts of Bengal are famous for their version of woven saree.
The traditional dress of the Bhutia tribe is the same for men and women- Bakhu/ Kho. It is a loose sleeveless robe-like dress fastened on the waist by a silk or cotton belt.
Thokro-Dum is the traditional dress of the Lepcha men. It comprises a white pyjama that reaches calves, Yenthatse, a shirt and Shambo, an embroidered cap. Dumpra, a multicoloured handwoven cloth, is attached on the shoulder and tied with a waistband.
Lepcha women wear Dumvum, a silky ankle-length dress and Tago, a loose contrasting blouse.
Men wear silk or cotton kurta with white, cream or yellow dhoti. The kurta and dhoti are held together with a tongali, a waistcloth.
The traditional dress of women is mekhela-chador. Mekhela is wrapped on the lower half of a woman’s body while the chador goes over the torso. Mekhela-chador is made from Muga, cotton or eri silk and has graphics or prints of birds, animals or trees. Below the chador, a blouse is worn.
- Adi – Both men and women wear jackets and woollen dresses made from skins of cane, bear and deer.
- Sherdukpen – They wear sleeveless silk cloth joined at the shoulder through its edges. The dress is knee-length with a skull cap with yak’s hair.
- Tangsa – Men wear green cloth made from white, red and yellow yarn; a sleeveless shirt and upper garment.
- Aptani – They tie their hair in a knot on their forehead, Piiding, and have Tiipe (tattoos) on the chin.
- Adi – The traditional dress of women of the Adi tribe is the same as that of men.
- Sherdukpen – Women wear knee-length sleeveless and collarless dresses with a waistcloth and full sleeves embroidered jacket.
- Tangsa – Women wear a linen blouse and exquisitely woven petticoat.
- Miji – Women wear plain and elegant long cloaks.
- Monpas – Women wear a skull cap, loose sleeveless shirt and a long jacket. The shirt is tied to the waist using a thin cloth.
- Lower Kamla Valley – Women wear crinoline of cane rings on the upper body and knot their hair above the forehead.
- Aptani – Women have a tattoo and knot their hair above the forehead, called Dilling.
Men wear Alungstu, yellow dyed cloth with flowers, and Kilt, a black dress designed with cowries.
Women wear Azu Jangup Su (red and yellow striped skirt), mechala (material draped across the shawl and wrapped over the skirt), neikhro (a petticoat) and Moyer tusk (dark blue cloth with zigzag patterns at the end).
Men wear dhoti, similar to Bengali Panjabi, and kurta. Sometimes, they also adorn pagri.
Women drape phanek, handwoven silk or cotton sarong, around the lower part of their body and wrap Inaphi, a semi-transparent cloth, over the torso.
Men wear long and wide clothes. During the winter season, an additional cloth is draped over the torso with a white coat. Puan, a black and white cloth, is wrapped around the lower body.
Women wear Puan and Pawl Kut and Chapchar Kut, the main dress, along with Kawrechi, handmade blouse.
Men drape Rikutu Gamcha, a loose towel-like cloth, on their lower body and pair it with Kubai, a shirt.
Women drape Rinai on their lower body and beautifully embroidered Risa on their upper body.
Garo men wear a loincloth. Khasi and Jaintia men drape a long cloth on their waist with a jacket and turban.
Garo women wear eking, a small fabric wrapped on the waist, or long cotton dresses with a blouse and handmade lungi, Dakmanda. Khasi women wear Jainsen, a wrap-around skirt, and blouse with tap-moh khileh, a cotton shawl. Jaintia women adorn Thoh Khyrwang, a long sarong and blouse.
India is a land dipped in cultures, customs and traditions. Each Indian state has cultures and traditions different from the other. People of various states, communities and religions live together and you will find changing traditions at every and corner of the country. The traditional dresses of Indian states are as colourful as the festivals of India.
Based on climate and cultural traditions, people in different Indian states wear distinct clothes specific to that state, called traditional dress. The traditional dresses are sewn and embroidered in a unique way to make it look charming and exclusive. Common traditional dresses of Indian women are salwar kameez, ghagra-choli and saree and that of men are kurta, dhoti, pyjama, lungi and sherwani.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dhakai Jamdani, Korial and Garad, Baluchari, Tant, Tussar Silk, Muslin Cotton, Kantha Silks and Cottons, Murshidabad Silk.
The embroidery is made of silver and gold threads.
Gamosa is a hand-woven scarf that has a high significance for Assamese.
The traditional saree of Kerala is Kasavu saree.
The dhoti of Chhattisgarh men is called Pancha.
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