Travel in Rajasthan, India
A Rajasthani Kid is playing "Ek Tara"
Thar Desert Jaisalmer in Background, Rajasthan, India

Experiences of Rajasthan - Traditional Costumes

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Traditional Costumes

To offset the barren colorless landscape and the monotony of its cloudless sky, the people of Rajashtan show a distinct preference for bright costumes. From the simple village folk or tribal belle to the Raja's and Rani's, the preferred colors are bright red, dazzling yellow, lively green or brilliant orange, highlighted by a lavish use of sparkling gold and silver zari or gota. The dyers of Rajasthan and neighboring Gujarat (many of whom migrated here) were masters of their craft from the dawn of history. Their unsurpassed skill is still evident in the costumes worn by the Rajasthani people both rich and poor.

Royal Wardrobe - The state records of Jaipur mention special departments in charge of royal costumes While the Ranghkhana and the Chhapakhana are departments that took care of dyeing and printing the fabrics respectively. The siwankhana ensured its immaculate tailoring Two special sections, the toshakhanaand the kapaddwadra, took care of the daily wear and formal costumes of the king.

Traditional textiles - Rasjasthani daily wear such as Saris, Odhnis and Turbans are often made from textiles using either blockprinted (above) or tie-and-dye techniques.

Rajput Costumes - The Rajput kings, owing to their close proximity to the Mughal court style in their formal dress. Richly brocaded material from Banaras and Gujarat, Embroidered and woven Kashmiri shawls and delicate cottons from Chanderi and Dhaka were procured at great cost. This formal dress made for Maharaja Bane Singh of Alwar (1815-57) shows a strange mixture of Mughal and Traditional styles.

Men's Attire - The turban, variously called Pagari, Pencha, Sela or Safa depending on style, an Angrakhi or Achakan as the upper garment and Dhoti or Pyjama as the lower garment make up the male outfit.

Turban Styles - Varying styles of turban denote region and caste. These variationsare known by different names such as Pagari and Safa. A Pagari is usually 82 feet long and 8 inches wide. A safa is shorter and broader. The common man wears turbans of one color, while the elite wear designs and colors according to the occasion.

Women's Attire - The standard design is a four-piece dress which includes the ghagra (skirt), the odhni(head cloth), the kurti (like a bra) and the kanchi (a long, loose blouse). ODHNI- An odhni is 10 feet long and 5 feet wide, One corner is tucked in the skirt while the other end is taken over the head and right shoulder. Colors and motifs are particular to caste, type of costume and occasion. Both Hindu and Muslims women wear odhnis.

Pila - An odhni with a yellow background and a central lotus motif in red called a pila, is a traditional gift of parent to their daughter on the birth of a son.

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