Costumes of Rajasthan are extremely lively, reflecting the true spirit of the people, their culture and religion. The clothes of Rajasthani people are designed by keeping weather and local conditions in mind. Bright and fresh shades directly from the land of camels, wonderful wildlife and sand dunes- that’s the real crux of Rajasthani attire, be it contemporary or traditional. Attractive jewellery and costumes of these desert inhabitants are not meagre ornaments for them. Everything from head to toe including footwear, turban, clothes, ornaments establish the religion, identity and the social and economic status of the population of Rajasthan.
Women of Rajasthan wear a long skirt known as Ghaghra, Kurti or Choli and Odhni. The Ghaghra needs no introduction due to the popularity that this attire has gained. The Ghaghra which is a long multi-pleated skirt is usually ankle length. It has a narrow waist increasing the flares and width towards the base. Ghaghra is mostly extended from the lower end like usual skirts. They come in a variety of styles and colours. The most popular amongst women are the ones made of cotton, coloured and designed with Mothra, Laharia and Chunari prints. These days, the traditional costume of the Rajasthani women is in a state of transition. Women prefer new fabrics, accessories and designs.
Worn by Rajasthani women over their head, the Odhni is a speciality of Rajasthani traditional dress. With one corner of Odhni tucked properly inside the skirt, the other end is worn over the right shoulder or the head. 10 feet in length and 5 feet in width, this single piece of cloth is actually the crowning glory of every woman in the state. Odhni is available in a variety of styles, colours and motifs. An Odhni with a yellow background and a red coloured lotus motif in the centre is a traditional gift from the parent to their daughter on the birth of a son.
Rajasthani jewellery has a distinctive style and has unique designs. Stylishly decorated with emeralds, diamonds and expensive stones, the designs are mostly related to natural elements like leaves, flowers, moon and sun. The tribal women of Mina, Bhil and Gayari wear different types of jewellery. Earlier they used to wear only brass jewellery, but now they have started using silver or white metal jewellery. The heavy silver jewellery decorated with inexpensive glass pieces is worn by the Raikas and Rabaris communities of Jodhpur. Besides metal jewellery, Lac jewellery decorated with glass pieces can also be seen in Rajasthan. Women in southern parts of Rajasthan wear bangles made from the coconut shell with a silver strip set in the middle.
Jootis or Mojaris designed from camel, goat or sheep skin are worn by both females and males. The camel leather shoes are very soft and are only suitable to be worn inside the house. Whereas, the shoes made of sheep and goat skin are stronger and can be worn outside. The shoes for both men and women are beautifully crafted with stunning embroidery over velvet or brocade. Jootis of Ramjipura, Jaisalmer, Jobre and Jodhpur are famous worldwide.
Soaked in the bright shades of red and yellow, the pagri is an integral part of men’s costume in Rajasthan state. Varying styles of turban indicate caste and region from which an individual belongs. Special types of pagris are designed during festivals and they can be found in different shapes, sizes and colours. People of Udaipur wear a flat pagri whereas the people of Jaipur prefer wearing an angular pagri. A normal turban is generally 8 inches wide and 82 feet long and common men in the state wear only one colour of pagri.
A garment mostly made of cotton is basically a body protector. The two main types of Angarakhas are long Angarakha and Kamari Angarakha. At the time of festivals and special occasions, people can be seen wearing printed Angarakhas of the traditional tie and dye design.
Pyjama or Dhoti
Dhotis are used for covering the lower part of the body. A piece of cloth measuring 4m by 1 m requires a little bit of practice to be worn properly. White colour dhotis are worn as a regular dress and silk dhotis with Zari work on special occasions.
A beautiful garment measuring 1.5 m by 1 m, Patka is worn by people of upper class and is mostly made of cotton. It was usually kept on the shoulders or worn around the waist to tuck the weapons in the earlier days. Though it’s no longer in use and has become outdated but one can still see Brahmins wearing patkas with traditional dupattas on their shoulders.
An earring or a pair of studs paired with a gold chain or a pearl necklace, silver Hansli is common amongst Rajasthani men.
Fashion never remains the same. The traditional and royal clothing of Rajasthan has reached a point where it is being tagged as vintage. The influence of cinema, newspapers, migration and urbanisation have contributed to the modifications in traditional costume. As a result, the Rajasthani culture has undergone a major change. Still, the traditional garments are still worn in Rajasthan and the change has merged pleasantly with tradition.