Traditional Dresses of Manipur

by Surojit Palmal
Traditional Dresses of Manipur

Manipur as a state is one of the wonders in India. From culture to tradition this beautiful state has a lot in store. What catches more attention in Manipur is also their traditional dresses. The traditional dresses of Manipur are trendy and fashionable. Apart from being stylish most of the Manipur traditional dress is also functional. They are designed keeping in mind the comfort as well as the fashionable quotients. Furthermore this north eastern state maintains its uniqueness via their styling of traditional dresses. Also this state has been defining fashion since ages with their unique ways of fashion trends. Definitely these traditional dresses of Manipur need a lot of love and appreciation.

Not many people know how rich the north eastern states can culturally be. But they surely need some attention. The traditional Manipur dresses are vibrant and colourful. And you can also get to understand a lot about their culture from their style of dressing. So if you are interested in diving deep into the culture of Manipur then you must know about the traditional dresses of Manipur. Keep on reading this article because this is surely going to be a helpful read for you. Here I will be mentioning what is the traditional dress Manipur. So read up the whole article and enrich yourself.

Traditional Dresses of Manipur


Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

This is basically a piece of cloth that is wrapped around the upper body. Almost like a shawl this is one of the popular traditional dresses of Manipur. Usually traditional shawls are made of traditional textiles. Also you might find vivid motifs there. On the contrary, Inaphi is made of lighter pastel shades that generate grace and poise. Also the fabric used for this is semi transparent in its look. You can very well understand the finest craftsmanship from the look of Inaphi. Inaphi looks royal and gorgeous at the same time.

At present many trendier versions of Inaphi can be seen. These are known as the Rani Phi and silk thread is used in creating them. Along with that cotton dyes and different motifs are also used here which is different from the traditional design. The shades and fabrics are also somehow different. And with the use of it one can even experiment the way of styling the Inaphi. Especially worn with other outfits, Inaphi oozes a lot of charm. So make sure you check out Inaphi while checking out the traditional dresses of Manipur. The sheer grace and elegance of this dress will surely win over your heart.


Also known as Fanek, this is one of the popular traditional dresses of Manipur. Predominantly this outfit is worn by the Meitei women in Manipur. It is basically one of the traditional dresses of Manipur that holds a lot to it. According to popular Meitei culture Phanek is untouchable for men. Phanek is a sarong or what we can call a wrap around skirt. Fabrics like cotton, silk and other synthetic materials are used to weave them. They are not semi transparent. Furthermore Phaneks are mostly found in block prints and in rich vibrant shades. Mostly solid colours or stripes are common in Phanek.

Phanek looks like a saree as it is paired with a mini blouse and an upper cloth. Other than looking beautiful, phanek are also easy to carry off. They are quite comfortable as an outfit. And therefore a lot of women love wearing this traditional dress of Manipur. Because of the comfort this is one of the popular traditional dresses of Manipur used as a summer wear. Different designs of Phaneks are available and women wear them on various occasions. From regular usage to marriages you can spot Manipuri women wearing a Phanek. While exploring the traditional dresses in Manipur you must check out Phanek. You might even wear one and check this out yourself.

Mayek Naibi

This is basically a version of the Phanek which is mostly worn during special occasions. During cultural events, melas and ceremonies the Meitei women in Manipur wear the Mayek Naibi. Furthermore the bottom portion of the Mayek Naibi is something that grabs the attention. Usually the lower portion is adorned with studs or other embellishments. Motifs are also used for the border of the dress. These borders also give an insight about the Meitei culture and their philosophies.

It is a go-to traditional outfit in Manipur when it comes to traditional occasions. The elegance and grace of this outfit instantly catches all the attention. Furthermore Mayek Naibi is found in rich colours that further elevates the looks of the outfit. If you are interested in exploring the traditional dresses of Manipur definitely check this one out. I am sure you will be impressed by the beauty and overall craft of this particle dress.


Lai Phi and Chin Phi

These are basically extensions of the Phanek wear in Manipur. One of the most popular dresses of Manipur, these are popular festive wears. Women in Manipur love to wear this outfit for any social or cultural events. Lai Phi is basically a beautiful piece of white cloth that is bordered with yellow. The work done on this is very intricate and makes it look classy. Whereas the Chin Phi is a blouse that is paired with intricately crafted and embroidered Phaneks. For a sophisticated chic look there is no comparison for these traditional dresses of Manipur. Everyone visiting there must check these outfits there.


Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Polloi it is the traditional bridal dress of women in Manipur. Basically it is a cylindrical skirt that is made of thick fabric. It gives a sharp and striking look to the brides in Manipur. It is undoubtedly one of the traditional dresses in Manipur that looks very unique. Mostly the Meitei Hindu brides wear this outfit for their wedding. Another importance of this outfit is that it is also the traditional dress for Manipuri dance form. For Manipuri Raas Leela Dance as well the women wear this outfit.  Furthermore the cylindrical skirts come in a variety of vibrant shades. You can find Potloi in colors like green, red and pink. Along with that intricate work is done on it. The skirts are adorned with traditional motifs, sequins and mirrors as well.

Different versions of Potloi are seen in Manipur and they all look stunning. The origin of this Manipur Traditional dress goes back to the 1700s. However it is one of the traditional dresses in Manipur that is still very much prevalent. Potloi is a bottom wear and it is paired with Inaphi and a blouse made of rich fabric. Overall it is a unique outfit decorated with appliqué works. Geometrical figures, studs, sequins and other decorative materials are used for Potloi. Along with headband and jewelry this dress looks visually appealing. If you ever get to attend a traditional wedding in Manipur you will be amazed at the beauty of this dress.


This is yet again one of the popular traditional dresses of Manipur. Basically it is an outfit worn by the Meitei women. Rasu is a woven skirt made of cotton or silk material. It is draped around the waist and goes down till the ankle. From the vibrant patterns and the beautiful motifs you can get an idea about the rich culture of Manipur.

Rasu is one of the traditional dresses of Manipur worn during the cultural and festive occasions. Also for the Manipuri Raas Leela this outfit is worn. Other than being a festive outfit, this dress also symbolizes rich Meitei culture.



This is one of the traditional dresses of Manipur belonging to the Bishnupriya Manipuri Community. This outfit consists of long skirts that are similar to a lehenga. Furthermore this is paired with a veil and a blouse. The design of this outfit is vibrant and has a variety of motifs. These motifs are mostly inspired by nature like trees, flowers and birds. During cultural and ceremonial events in Manipur the women are seen wearing this outfit.

Khamen Chapta

The women in Manipur have a lot of variety when it comes to dresses. But men in Manipur have it simple mostly. This is one of the traditional dresses in Manipur for men. It is a different variety of a Dhoti and a Pagri or turban. On regular days men in Manipur wear dhoti kurta. However on special occasions they wear a pagri along with it. The style of Dhoti worn here is much similar to the dhoti worn in West Bengal.

Dhoti with Jacket

This is again one of the traditional dresses of Manipur men. Though there is nothing too unique about this but the men in Manipur wear this a lot. During festivals or cultural occasions you will find the men here wearing a Dhoti along with a jacket. Furthermore it gives a more structured look to the outfit. At times you can also spot the men wearing a pagri along with it. There are varieties of jackets. The elite section usually wears padded and quilted jackets in winters.


This is one of the popular traditional dresses of Manipur that also serves as a sign of the cultural identity. Khamenchat is basically a headgear worn by people of Manipur. Predominantly the Meitei community in Manipur is seen wearing this headgear. Mostly during any sort of cultural or traditional events you will find the men wearing this headgear. What is most unique about this headgear is its conical shape.

Furthermore this headgear has intricate work done on it and intricately woven as well. Mostly these are available in vibrant colours that look gorgeous. However these are not just a part of traditional dress of Manipur. This headgear also stands for the tradition and culture of the land. Furthermore it is a symbol of pride for the people of Manipur as well as a status symbol of the state.

Wrapping Up!

These traditional dresses of Manipur are not just pieces of dresses. They also stand for the tradition and culture of the land. The culture of the north eastern states is something that not a lot of people are familiar with. For that the traditional dresses of Manipur plays a big role. From the traditional dresses of a particular region you can understand a lot about the culture of that land. 

The Manipur traditional dress is elegant and fashionable at the same time. Particularly the way they are carried also makes them unique. Their outfits are distinct and have the ability to stand amongst the crowd.  They definitely deserve some attention and love. So let me know if this article on the traditional dresses of Manipur is helpful for you. Also let me know if you have ever been to Manipur or if you plan to visit there soon. 

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