It is curious when we talk about the costumes or dressing habits of a specific State, region or a community and then realize how several factors went into making the kind of habits that they project. The conscious inclination towards bright colours makes up for the absence of bright colours in the geographical surrounding.
Dressing a Man Potia, Dhoti, Banda, Angrakha, Bugatari, Pachewara, Khol, Dhabla (for Hindu men), Tilak, Burga, Achkan (for Muslim men) are some of the dress forms that goes into defining the dressing habits of Rajasthani men.
Dressing a Woman Sari (odhani), Kanchli (kunchuki or choli) and Ghagra (ghagri or lahanga) are some of the dress forms that define dress culture among Rajasthani women. Women from rich and privileged classes wear dupatta and patka in addition to the conventional traditional dress forms.
Royal Dressing With its baggage from history in almost all possible aspects of life, dressing also had its share of influence from the past. Traditionally royalty indulged in all forms of luxuries at the cost of the royal treasure. This included rich and highly ornate brocaded material from Banaras and Gujarat, embroidered and intricately woven Kashmiri shawls and rich and expensive cottons from places like Chanderi and Dhaka.
It is interesting to know that the royal Palaces had different departments to look after various aspects of manufacturing royal dresses like Rangakhana for dyeing, Chhapakhana for printing fabrics, Siwan Khana for tailoring and Shahkhanand and Kapaddwadra to look after the majesty’s daily and formal attires.
The Significance of Clothing as a Reflection of Society
It is not always evident how deep rooted are clothes and dressing forms in the culture and climate of a region. The major aspects that go into forming dress habits include climatic factors, religious spirits, and major means of livelihood and of course customs. For instance, there are around 1000 different forms of turbans (head-gears) among the Rajasthani men that signify caste, religion, profession and occasion. In fact there are different turbans even within a single caste and community, each specifically meant for specific occasions in religion and customs.
Accessories are yet another major aspect of costumes in any human group. So next time, when you see a woman with large silver bangles and multiple ear pieces, do try to figure out what is the significance of the same. And mark my word; they are much more than mere fashion statements.