7:37pm, 24th June, 2016


5 min

What is India? It’s a confusing question, I know. All of us have tried to find an answer and yet it evades us in its entirety. My vision of India is different from yours and yours from others. That’s what makes India beautiful. Here, this is a humble attempt to describe, rather than define, one tasty and colourful India – India through the clothes Indians wear.

With the spice adorned taste of ‘Sarson ka saag and makki ki roti’ in the land of Punjab, marking the northern boundaries to the refreshing, heaven-relishing fragrance of the tea leaves, crossing the sister states towards the east, from the sweet, tongue-tingling essence of Rasam, crawling through the southern geographies to the sweet-spicy, taste-bud savouring cuisines flowing from the west, binding cultures with colours and diversity, is a land that, on paper, outstretches from the west to the east, standing tall from south to north, crowned with the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Kanyakumari kissing away its footsteps.

India is not only a land of diverse foods and of multicultural atmospheres but also embraces the existence of differences and diversions in what and how people cover themselves in and adorn themselves with. Clothes form a major part of each one’s lifestyle and how an individual moves and progresses in day to day life. It may not be a very big step but definitely makes up the small, countless steps towards diversity and versatility. Each state, apart from being geographically separated from the other, also holds a different and unique taste in picking and wearing clothes.

Let’s start with the eldest of seven sisters – Assam!

The eastern state of Assam, for example, has always seen its men wearing a traditional dress called Dhoti Gamosa, whose description entails downs to being a rectangular clothing with red borders and motifs while the female sect of its population is seen wearing ‘Mekhela Chadar’ which is more or less, like a saree except for how it is draped around oneself. The crowd is said to seemingly be in love with jewels, including both the silver and the gold plated ones and that is why Gamkharu, Thuriya and Junbiri which are the bracelet, earrings and a half moon pendant respectively come as some of the most loved accessories in the area.

1. Bihu_Team

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What does the most populated state in India wear?

The state of Uttar Pradesh has a different way of people dressing up. The male population dresses up in Sherwanis, designed with rich Zari work while the women pick up Banaras Brocades which are inspired by the Mughals and reflect the heritage of India. Chikankari Salwar suits are also a popular wear among women. Talking about jewellery, Passa, which is a form of a maang tikka is a famous accessary.

2. Lathmar_Women

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The wardrobe of Bihar

The next in line, is its brother state, Bihar. Bihar does not only give the nation, leading bureaucrats, but also gives in a very tasteful choice of dresses. The men in Bihar are usually seen in a long kurta and a dhoti while the women drape themselves in Bhagalpuri silk which is also known as Tussar silk. They usually style their saree in seedha pallu style. Their jewellery usually consists of the Hansli and Kamarbandh that rests beautifully on their curved waists.

3. bihar

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Dresses of Jammu & Kashmir

Another state that is not only the nation’s epitome of beauty but also rests peacefully up in the snow layered hills is the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pheran is a piece of clothing that is unisex in nature. It is a popular dress which is a loose knee length tunic and is worn with fitting trousers, only that women have it slightly different than men. The men also sometimes wear Pathani suits. Taranga is a head dress worn by the natives of Kashmir and is bright and vibrant with embroidery work. It has a unique edge to it. Winter outfits comprise of Pashmina shawls which are smooth and keep the people warm during the cold weather. The footwear in the hills consists of a unisex shoe called Gurgabi that comes in intricate zari and embroidery work which is perfect for steep mountains. The Kashmiri women too are in awe of silver jewellery since ages and one of their very exclusive pieces of jewellery include the Dejhoor which are long pair of earrings that hang on their gold threads and are usually worn by brides.

4.A_Kashmiri_coupleImage source :

As versatile as it sounds, India not only holds a culture that embeds some of the most humble and strongest values but also comes out, spurting and spilling diversity in all ways it can, including how, the people come together in more than one way despite the clothing and accessories showcasing as different as they can be and that is exactly where the beauty of it all lies- in uniting the differences.

feature : (photo by : Arushi Saini)