The North East is a warehouse of tradition and culture. The citizens are known for their impeccable sense of style, and their fashion quotient is always on point. Wonder where it all comes from? It’s definitely from their vibrant and colourful costumes that date back to tens of thousands of years. Each costume is carefully crafted with predefined colours that vary according to the status of each member in the family. So let us introduce you to the seven outfits from the seven North Eastern states.
A girl in a traditional costume from Meghalaya
Meghalaya: The traditional Khasi tribe female dress is called the ‘Jainsem’ or ‘Dhara,’ and is worn by women around the state differently. A yellow shawl is often worn over the cylindrical lower and is paired with traditional silver jewellery.
A girl in a traditional costume from Nagaland
Nagaland: The traditional Naga dress comes in several colours, patterns and designs as it differs with each tribe The costume is called ‘Li’ in one of the popular tribes. The shawl is considered a badge of honour, and is given as one ages. Striped embroidery and other intricacies are added to the shawl when anyone in the tribe is given a higher status. The embroideries are generally geometrical in shape – even floral patterns are made in a structured form.
A girl in a traditional costume from Manipur
Manipur: The traditional Manipuri costume is similar to that of Meghalaya; the only variation is in the colours. The scarf, usually made of silk, is called the ‘Muga,’ and the lower cylindrical portion is called the ‘Phanek.’ The colours of the dress are different for every celebration, and so is the ornamentation. The specialty of the Manipuri dress is the flowy feel they have. The embroidery is lightand simple without any significant contrasting colours.
A girl in a traditional costume from Assam
Assam: The ‘Mekhela Chador’ is the traditional costume for Assamese women, who wear it across all ages. The bottom portion worn as a wrap is called the mekhela while the top portion worn as a sari pallu is called chador. The conventional colours of the two-piece sari are off-white and golden. But the mekhla is now stylized and worn in bright colours, and even newer prints.
A girl in a traditional costume from Tripura
Tripura: The king of Tripura married every woman in the state who created a new version of the ‘Rignai’(lower half of the dress) and ‘Risa’(that covers the chest) or ‘Rikutu’ (upper part of the dress).’ No wonder he ended up marrying 250 women. The designs by these women are diminishing each day. While the basic structure of the rignai and rikutu remain the same, the patterns are unique to each tribe and a Tripura woman can be identified by her costume.
A girl in a traditional costume from Mizoram
Mizoram: Unlike the costume of other North East states, the Mizo dress is full-sleeved, and designed in a more conservative way. The designs are usually hand-woven and the skirt has vertical embroidery across the length of the skirt. The Mizo women wear this on all traditional festivals as it’s considered auspicious.
Women in traditional costumes from Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh: With over 100 sub tribes, the traditional costume is not fixed. But the basic form of a sleeveless chemise with an embroidered, full-sleeved jacket along with a wrap-around skirt is usually worn. The attire is almost always accompanied by a waistcoat. Accessories are an important feature of the state’s traditions. A skull-cap filled with Yak hair, called ‘Gurdam’ is worn to add grace to the overall look.
How many of them did you know about? Tell us in the comment box.