Rajasthan Dresses

Vivid reds, pinks and greens splash across the desert breaking the monotony of the yellow sands; colored stones and tinsels splash their brilliant hues challenging the flaming sun; silver and brass jewellery tinkle and clink complementing the ancient folk songs drifting across Thar the with the arid scalding winds- welcome to vibrant Rajasthan . The costumes and dresses of the native Rajasthanis are a spectacular combination of cultural lineage and weather proof designing.

The garments are loose and flowing clothes and are generally cut out to cover up most of the body. This prevents sunburns resulting from direct exposure to the harsh rays. The textiles are mainly soft cottons that provide utmost comfort during the summer months. Winters too are extremely cold and woolen shawls, scarves and cloaks are draped by men and women to protect themselves from the merciless temperature falls. Maps Of India takes you through a journey across the various cultures and styles of Rajasthan dresses.

Women's Dresses:
The women dress in either sarees or ghaghra cholis. Sarees may be either cotton or silk and are generally embroidered. Colored stones, tinsels and silken threads are used to create beautiful floral patterns and traditional motifs and enhance the rich look of the saree. Depending on the economic ampleness of the family the embroidery or zari work may be done with golden and silver threads and semi precious gems may replace the showy colored stones. Tie and Dye, Bandhani and block printed textiles are the common choice.

However in the rural nooks of the state the women are still given to wearing long or short flowing and frilly skirts. Ghagras for daily use and Lehengas for more formal occasions are the norm. These are matched with blouses such as Kanchli or Kunchuki or Choli depending on the blouse length. The skirts are tied tightly around the waist and have a flaring width at their base. The Ghagras are generally short extending up to the calf while the Lehengas are longer and reach up to the ankles. The more formal occasions and prosperous households dictate increased width and more number of folds or pleats in the skirts. These Ghagras and Lehengas are also embroidered and decorated much in the same style as sarees are.

The Odhni is an integral part of the Rajasthani women's attire and deserves special mention. It is generally a long piece of cloth (generally 3 meters by 2 meters). Though usually teamed up with the Ghagra Choli or Lehengas, it is also worn over a saree on special ceremonious occasions. One end of it is tucked into the skirt or saree at the waist. It is draped gracefully across like a saree and taken to cover the head in a short veil. Odhni stands as a mark of respect and conformity to one’s traditions and the bridal Odhni is a piece of exquisitely hand embroidered attire treasured by every woman as long as she lives and used sparingly. The Muslim women of the state wear burkhas or traditional black veils.

aditional footwear of Rajasthani women deserves special mention. The female folk from affluent families wear specially embroidered and sequined slippers or chappals called jootis or mojaris. The use of golden thread, beads and spangles in these patterned footwear make them showy souvenirs. These are generally made of sheep, camel or goat hide and the designs are created on the velvet casing attached to the leather. These are soft and extremely comfortable to use. Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ramjipura and Jobre are world famous for their intricately and finely designed Jootis.

The bulky jewellery which forms part of the woman’s ensemble is also noteworthy. Some tribes use only brass jewellery but the more affluent families treasure their heirlooms of silver and gold jewellery. The nobles and royals practiced a tradition of handing down their Meenakari and Kundan adornments to the daughter-in-law to keep these coveted prizes in the family. Glass bangles form a part of the married woman’s world and have sentimental and religious significance. Lac jewellery too is preferred in this part of the world.

Last Updated on: 3 February 2020