Assamese Traditional Dresses: Surrounded by the seven North-Eastern states of India, Assam is located right in the middle of the seven sisters incorporating the deep-rooted culture of various social and economic groups present in the state sharing a common cultural background passed unto us by our forefathers. The refinement of our rich cultural heritage is prevalent in our beautiful and exquisite pieces of clothing which defines us and sets a benchmark in traditional Indian Fashion quotient which no other state in India can boast of. Have a look at the following list of exquisite dresses that can be found only in Assam.
1. Mekhela Chador
The supreme identity marker of Assamese women, the Mekhela Chador is a two-piece garment worn elegantly by both young and old (except children), draped from the waist to downwards and later tucked into the waist with a beautiful triangular fold which only a few can master that technique.
The Mekhela is worn around the waist with few folds and the Chador is draped around the body and bringing it back to the waist with the master tuck-in technique.
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2. Dimasa Tribe
The people of Dimasa tribe wear very colorful dresses especially the womenfolk who like to wear brightly colored Rigu, a form of Mekhela Chador which is worn from the waist down reaching the ankles. Another piece of Rigu also called the Bathormai which has only one design on the whole piece of cloth and is worn widely during summers. The male fraternity of the Dimasa tribe has very simple clothing.
For the males, their Sgaopha, (a kind of turban) holds great importance and a sense of pride. Along with that one can see them wearing a particular kind of dhoti called the Risha and Gainthao, both of which are worn on special occasions.
3. Bodo tribe
Like the Dimasas, the Bodo tribe people are also simple dressers but who love wearing colorful pieces of clothing that help their inner beauty come to the fore. The most common form of women’s clothing worn by the Bodos is the Dokhona worn running down from their chest to the bottom.
The Dokhona has crafted in such a way that it requires just one wrap and then tied around the waist. Along with the Dokhona women also wear the Agor, which is an important piece of garment worn by newly wedded girls.
The Bodo men mostly wear the dhoti kurta and have lately accepted modern dressing materials such as shirts and trousers as part of their daily wear.
4. Rabha tribe
The Rabha community likes to follow the latest fashion trends and are still deeply rooted in their age-old traditions. The Rabhas have a unique sense of dressing which can be witnessed from their colorful display of colorful clothing with exquisite patterns running criss-cross around the garment.
While women wear the Koum Kontong which is a skirt resembling clothing wrapped around their waists and Labok tied around the abdomen which is a belt made of beautiful shells and pearl balls. The men, however, wear the common dress that is the dhoti and Gamosa on all occasions.
5. Mishing tribe (Assamese Traditional Dresses)
The men of Mishing tribe wear a special type of dhoti called the Gonru Ugon worn from the waist down and a shirt called the Mibu Galuk covering the upper part of the body. The Mishing women unlike other tribes have a very simple clothing style and mostly wear the Mekhela Chador also called the Yakan Age-Gasar which is mostly black in color.
Among other Assamese Traditional Dresses, one can easily recognize a Mishing woman’s mekhela chador by noting its color which is usually black, and hand-woven geometric designs covering the border lining of the Mekhela as well as the blouse.
6. Deori Tribe
The male community of the Deori tribe prefers a simple dressing style mostly wearing an “Ikhoon” a kind of dhoti and a shirt or a sporting complementing with the Ikhoon.
The beautiful Deori ladies wear a piece of a garment resembling a long wraparound-like skirt called the “Ujaduba-Lgoon” which is tightly held around the breast letting it fall down loosely. The Ujaduba lgoon is then held at the waist with a single piece of the sheet called “Jokachhiba” which is then complemented with a “Riha” adorning their shoulders.
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So, these are some of the most famous Assamese Traditional Dresses. As the modern world is quickly sinking into the well of age-old traditions and slowly saturating the uniqueness of our beautiful cultural markers, there are some communities who are still holding onto their identities by keeping alive the traditions left by our forefathers.
Dresses and ornaments do distinguish one community from the other but they are all part of this whole big community sharing the same identity – being an Assamese.