Assam the land of diversity and culture is known for its love for maintaining their traditions. Along with the beautiful landscapes, the vintage attractions and other things, Assam is also popular for its traditional dresses. This amazing and unique style of their dressing has been handed to them by their ancestors and they are maintaining it so well. Furthermore, the people of Assam love flaunting their culture through their way of dressing. Therefore, you would see the people in Assam wearing the traditional dress of Assam during any occasion or festivals. What makes their dresses stand out is the intricate threadwork, beautiful motifs and rich fabric of the attires. Cultural Assam traditional dress can be of different types and they look very elegant. In this article I will mention everything you need to know about the Assam traditional dress.
13 Traditional Dress of Assam
Gamosa and Dhoti – Assam traditional dress male
While talking about the traditional dress of Assam this one surely comes first. The traditional dress for the men in Assam is the Gamosa and Dhoti. Both of these go hand in hand. These two attires represent the traditional handloom industry of Assam. Dhoti is worn in the lower part of the body while Gamosa is for the upper body. The dhotis are mostly 5 yards in length. They are tied in a unique way where the end of one side of it passes in between the men’s legs. Afterwards it is tied inside the waistband neatly tucked in.
While Dhoti is an integral part of Assamese culture, Gamosa represents the Assamese tradition. It is a rectangular piece of cloth that is bordered on all 3 sides. Traditionally Gamosa are white in colour and the border is red. However, on the 4th side attractive motifs are woven. In general Gamosasa are made with cotton but for the festive purpose they are made of pat silk as well. Usually, Gamosha are hung by the men on their neck. In some cases Gamosas are also tied around the head like a headgear.
Read More: FESTIVALS OF ASSAM | ASSAM FESTIVALS
This is another piece of cloth that is worn by the Assamese. Tongali is an extended form of Gamosa but not exactly a Gamosa. If Gamosa is worn as a waistcoat then it is known as Tongali. Tongali is a very popular attire during famous festivals of Assam like Bihu. Furthermore, at present various styles and ways of Tongali have become popular that are universally loved in Assam.
Chola is like a variation of a shirt that is worn by the Assamese men. Assamese king Rudra Singha was the first one to bring in the style of wearing shirts. The high ranked officials and royals used to wear Cholas during that time. Those cholas were called Chauga and Chapkan. Furthermore, the ruling class of Assam used to wear a different variety of Cholas like Chengcola, Rupar Bridiya, Buku Chola and Enga Chola. Till today cholas are very popular attire in Assam. However with modern needs and contemporary fashion, the style has evolved nowadays.
Another piece of traditional clothing is Aronai. Aronai is a piece of cloth that was previously used by the saints. From them, this has been passed on to the people of Assam today. Aronai is popular among the Bodo tribe in Assam. However this is not a simple piece of clothing for them. They take a sense of pride and honour in wearing this. Furthermore, this cloth of pride is used to felicitate respectable people in Assam. It is put across the neck of the people to show a form of respect. Even visitors who visit Assam are offered this as they are guests in Assam. This also works as a winter gear or muffler during winter and is put around the neck.
Mekhela Chador/ Sador- Assam traditional dress female
This one is the traditional dress for the women in Assam. Mekhela Chador is a saree-like attire but is different from a saree. Primarily the traditional attire of the Bodo tribe, Mekhela and Chador are 2 separate pieces of clothing. One part is wrapped in the bottom part of the body in a cylindrical shape. The other part is tucked in and joined with the previous part to form the front pleats like a pallu. Triangular folds are used to drape this attire and there lies the uniqueness of this outfit. This is actually a complicated form of clothing and it is not easy to tie this up.
Traditionally the draping style should be followed properly while wearing this. Therefore this is not worn by children, as it is tricky to carry this outfit. Varieties of silk like pat silk, muga silk and eri silk are used in crafting the Mekhela Chador. The women in Assam enjoy wearing this Mekhela Chador in all the traditional Assamese festivals. Mekhela Chador is one such traditional Assam dress that has become very popular even outside Assam.
35 km from Guwahati lies Sualkuchi, which is referred to as the Silk Heaven of India. This place is known for crafting beautiful and exceptional Mekhela Chador. The artisans in this place specially excel in the intricately woven attire and it is famous in the whole world as well. In Assamese weddings also this one is used as the bridal attire. Previously Riha, a piece of unstitched cloth was used to cover the upper part of the body around the bust. At present it has been replaced by blouses though.
Assam Silk Sarees
The Assam Silk sarees are world famous for a reason. High quality fabric and beautiful motifs make it look a class apart. They come in a beautiful variety of colours to choose from. To get the best quality sarees you need to visit Silkalay in Guwahati. This is a prominent hub for the shoppers in Assam to buy really good quality silk sarees.
This attire is mostly common among the Dimsa tribe in Assam. The people of this tribe wear this attire as a sense of pride. Deeply rooted in the past, this attire was previously only available in yellow or green colour. Later more colours were introduced. The grooms also wear this attire during their weddings.
This is an accessory that the Assamese men often wear to enhance the beauty of the traditional costume. This is like a turban also referred to as Pag. Ahom king Gadadhar Singha introduced a much simpler form of Paguri at first. At present this Paguri is worn by the local people as well as people belonging to the upper class of the society. The paguris are different in their look and can be differentiated from the special paguri and simpler paguri.
Read More: TEMPLES OF ASSAM | ASSAM FAMOUS TEMPLES
This is another form of muffler that is specially worn by the Dimasa Tribe. The look and feel of these is extraordinary. If there is one thing that you can buy from Assam to take back along with you, you can go for Rigdo. They go really well with different kinds of attire from other states as well.
Risha and Gainthao
These are also traditional tribal attire of the Dimasa tribe. This outfit is one form of Dhoti that is mostly worn by the older generations. Risha and Gainthao both are forms of Dhotis but there is a little bit of difference between them. The difference between these two lies in the sizes of Risha and Gainthao. Risha is knee length attire, while Gainthao is ankle length. One of the popular traditional dresses of Assam, these are worn during different festivals in Assam.
It is another traditional piece of clothing in Assam. This is a long piece of cloth that is worn from the waist. This ankle length cloth comes in different varieties. Previously only silk was used for making these, but at present the choice of fabric has evolved.
This one is a form of wooden footwear. Teak or ebony is usually used to make Khorom. It has a knobbed partition that comes in between the fingers for the support. The variety of Khoroms ranges from really simple ones to highly embellished ones.
Assamese attires are incomplete without their jewelleries. The women in Assam love wearing their traditional jewelleries with traditional outfits. You can notice the heavy use of pearls, shells and other colourful gemstones in their styling of jewelleries. Some of the famous jewelleries of Assam are Dholbiri, Gal Pata, Loka Paro, Jonbiri, Dug Dugi, Kerumuni etc. Aged Assamese women wear a typical piece of jewellery known as the Thurayas.
Traditional tribal attires in Assam
Assam is represented by a variety of tribes and ethnicities. Different ethnic groups wear different types of outfits and attires in Assam. The draping style and the choice of fabrics make these outfits different from one another. If you observe closely you will be able to understand the uniqueness of these attire. Moreover, most of these dresses are deep rooted in the culture of the respective tribes. So let’s check them one by one.
Dimasa Tribe traditional dress in Assam
The main outfit of the Dimasa tribe is their Sgaopha or Paguri. They take a lot of pride in wearing these and also these are worn as a status symbol. Traditionally these were only green and yellow in colour. But for wedding purposes these are worn in white with red thread work in it. Rigdo, the traditional muffler, is also worn by them a lot.
Rabha Tribe traditional dress in Assam
This tribe has their unique style of clothing for the women. Typically there are three things. First is Kambang, which is a piece of clothing, meant for the upper body. Next is Koum Kontong which is a skirt type of clothing for the lower body. Furthermore, there is Labok, which is a waistband that is embellished with beautiful shells and pearls and looks beautiful.
Bodo Tribe traditional dress in Assam
Gamosa is worn a lot by the men along with Khoroms. The traditional dress of women is Dokhna. This is a traditional type of clothing wrapped in a unique style. It is wrapped from the chest and goes down till the ankles. The bridal attire worn by this tribe is known as Salamatha.
Mishing Tribe traditional dress in Assam
The dhoti worn by the Mishing tribe is known as Gonru Ugon. They also wear shirt type clothing along with this known as Mibu Galuk. However, Gamosa is common for them as well. Mekhela Chador is worn by the women that are known as Yakan Age Gasa by them. This is styled with really vibrant coloured blouses.
The variety in the style of dressing in Assam and the unique and complicated way of draping is surely very alluring. Tribal as well as traditional dress of Assam speaks for their culture. Most popular traditional dress of Assam couples is Gamosa Dhoti and Mekhela Chador. The traditional values are deeply rooted in their sense of styling and they take pride in that too. Moreover how beautiful and colourful these dresses look anyway. Isn’t that a reason already why you should explore more of these? Do let me know what you think about the cultural Assam traditional dress. Would you like to try the Assam traditional dress? Do let me know.