Himachal Pradesh is a state of India & located in the northern part of the Asian subcontinent. It occupies a region in the western Himalayas & offers the display of majestic snow-covered mountains, thick forest valleys, terraced fields, large lakes & cascading streams. Himachal is also known as the “Land of Gods.” The native and locals of the state are known as “Pahari.”
Himachal Pradesh culture is rich in diversity & tradition, and their culture is largely reflected in their diverse tribe, cuisine, occupation & traditional dressing style. In Himachal, there are many communities with different castes and tribes; all live in peace and serenity. The traditional dress of Himachal Pradesh people reflects their culture. The ethnic Himachal Pradesh dress is the honor of their diversity.
In Himachal, each community like Hindu Brahmins, Rajputs, and other tribal people like Gaddis, Kinnauris, Lahulis, Kullvi all have their beautiful vibrant and unique traditional dresses. Their unique traditional dressing style can easily identify these communities, and most of the dresses made by woven woolen because of the cold climate conditions. It includes headgear, trousers, footwear, and handwoven dresses. The handwoven vibrant and colorful fabric is now the cultural identity of Himachal Pradesh.
Traditional Dress of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh consists of 12 districts, and in each district, there are different communities and tribes like Gaddis, Kinnauris, Lahulis, Spitians, Kullvi, and each district’s own traditional attire. Nowadays, the people of Himachal casually wear simple clothes like women wear suits-salwar and men wear Kurta and Pajamas, pants and shirt. But the culture of Himachal is deeply rooted in the natives that they still wear their traditional dresses during the fairs and festivals.
On an auspicious occasion and in the wedding ceremony even nowadays people wear their traditional attire. Even in the schools and colleges, students wear traditional dresses for cultural programs as an honor to their vibrant culture. Himachali people still adhere to their old-age traditions as in villages and remote areas, people wear traditional attire.
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7 Traditional Dresses of Himachal Pradesh As Per Its Rural Districts
1. Chamba Dress
Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh is the land of immense beauty with its age-old traditions, crafts, and cultural essence. The locals and the particular tribes of the remote regions living in the higher valley present a vibrant society that still takes pride in its local dress. Chamba is famous for its Gaddi tribe.
The Gaddi is a generic term used for all the population of the Bharmour area of Chamba District. The Gaddi tribe is considered the oldest cultural tribe of Himachal Pradesh. Gaddi tribe has the most beautiful traditional dress as the costumes of Gaddis are markedly different from other areas. Gaddis can be recognized because of their beautiful Himachal Pradesh dress, including Chou, Dora, Topi for men, Luanchari, Dora, and long dupatta for women. These Gaddis people dress makes it a famous traditional dress of Himachal Pradesh.
- Dress for Men: Men of the Gaddi tribe wrap themselves in a long woolen coat called “Chola,” which reaches below the knees. The Chola is tightened around the waist using a black cord called “Dora” made of sheep’s wool and may run up to 60m in length. The legs are covered by woven woolen pajamas called “Suthan.” The Head of men is covered by a cap called “topi” with a Peak- like projection and flaps around the margin. The peak of the cap represents the Mountain Kailash peak. The flaps of the cap are used to cover the ear during chilled weather, and the front side of the cap is decorated with dried flowers, a tuft of feathers, or a string of beads. Shoes made of leather called “Mocharu”.
- Dress for Women: Female costume consists of Luanchari, Dora, and a long dupatta with a frill called Ghundu. Luanchari is like a frock with a contrasting color and decorated with a lot of frills & pippins. To make luanchari, around 20m of fabric and required “Luanchari” is tied on the waist with black colored cord called Dora, which is 40-45m long woolen string and weighs around 1.5-2kg. The Head is covered by the long dupatta decorated with frills and sequins. The Gaddi women are very particular about their jewelry, and most of the jewelry is of silver with a beautiful colored pattern over it. This jewelry is very heavy, and dresses become more attractive with this traditional jewelry.
The silver jewelry worn by gaddi women are like:
- Chiri: This is similar to mang tika and wears on the forehead and weighs around 140-150 gm.
- Jhumkas (earings)
- Pari ( as Payal).
- Chanderhar: it is a big size long necklace and weighs around 300-6–gm.
- Chack: It is put in the back portion of the Head and is conical in shape. It is considered the important symbol of a married lady.
- Singi: It is a small-sized necklace that clings to the neck.
- Gojru: These are bracelets worn in hands
This Gaddi dress is related to Lord Shiva, and it is considered that the Dora, a black color cord worn around the waist on the dress, shows respect to Lord Shiva and thank him for such a prosperous moment.
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2. Kinnaur Dress
Kinnaur is one of the most beautiful valleys of the Himachal. It is famous for its apples and charismatic view of landscape and mountains. Kinnaur is known as the “Land of fairytales” and remains covered with snow for six months. The style of living and attire of locals mainly depends upon the climate of Kinnaur. The cold weather of Kinnaur around the year makes the people wear woolen clothes. The woolen dress marks this valley as they have added artistic patterns to their woven woolen dress that make it very attractive and distinctive to the region. It includes Chamn, Chhuba, Topi for men and Dohru, Pattu, and Topi for women.
- Dress for Men: Men wear woolen cloth shirts called “Chamn Kurti” with a long woolen coat called “Chhuba” accompanied with woolen churidar pajama called “Suthan.” Then a sleeveless woolen jacket is worn outside the Chhuba, and the Head is covered by a traditional woolen round cap called “Kinnauri Topi.”
- Dress for women: Women wear a woolen garment called “Dohru” paired with a sort of full sleeves blouse. Women wrap themselves with a woolen shawl called Dohru, and the first wrap of Dohru is on the back with embroidered border displayed throughout its length up to the heels. The darker shades of colors are preferred for Dohru with vibrant, beautiful embroidery on it. Besides this, women wear beautiful colored pattu( like a shawl thicker and heavier than a regular shawl) around their shoulders. Women wear gold and heavy silver jewelry to complement the whole dress and make it more beautiful and attractive.
- Headgear for Men & Women: Headgear, known as “Kinnauri topi,” is the favorite part of their dress. It is around woolen caps worn by men and women called “Thepang” in their local language. It is generally light grey with a green or red velvet band on the outer fold. The cap is considered a mark of respect and a crown of the locals.
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3. Kullu Dress
In Himachal, Kullu valley is one of the open valleys near the Beas river. It is famous for its beautiful majestic hills covered in pine and deodar forest. Kullu valley is very famous among travelers and tourists for its treks, Manali valley, and temples.
The dress of Kullu is one of the most famous traditional dress of Himachal Pradesh and also very famous among the tourists as a “Himachali dress,” and every tourist gets their photoshoot done in this dress. Warm woolen clothes are used in Kullu valley because of cold climate conditions around the year. The traditional Kullu dress includes Chola, Dora, Topi, and Loi for Men and Patto, Dhatu, shawl for women.
- Dress for Men: Men wear a long woolen coat with pleats called “Chola,” and it is tightened with a cloth called “Dora” on the waist, which serves as a belt. This “Chola” is accompanied by tight pants called “Suthan.” Their shoulders are covered with a blanket called “Lachho” or “Loi,” a gents shawl mostly in grey, white, brown in colors. The Head is covered by a cap made of woolen cloth and has a colorfully designed band around it, and this cap is famous as “Kulluvi Topi.”
- Dress for Women: The dress for women is “Patto,” which is like a shawl but heavier and thicker than a shawl. Women wear “Patto” over their clothes and pin both ends with local silver brooches called” Boomini”. This patto covers the whole body and a piece of cloth tied around the waist, which acts as a blet called “Gachchi.” The women cover their head with a square piece of cloth called “Dhatu or Thipu”. Women wear a long silver necklace called “Chandrahar” to complement the whole dress, making this dress more authentic and graceful.
4. Shimla Dress
Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla is popular for holiday retreats during the summer months and famous for its Victorian architecture. It is also famous among couples as a Honeymoon destination. Shimla has a deep-rooted rich culture in all aspects of life, including living and dressing style. The dressing style of Shimla is very simple as the natives and locals use woolen clothes because of the cold climate. Usually, locals wear simple salwar suits and kurta pajama with the waistcoat. The traditional dress of Shimla includes woolen kurta and pajama, Saluka for men and Suit, Reshta, Dhatu for women.
- Dress for Men: Men wear a woolen kurta or shirt, which is knee-length paired with a pajama called “Suthan” and with a waistcoat called “Saluka” or “Sadri.” The head is covered by a round woolen cap which has a colorfully designed band around it.
- Dress for Women: The dress for women is known as “Reshta” It is a body-length gown with pleats at the waist that look like a long skirt. It is combined with a waistcoat called “Saluka.” The head is covered by a square piece of cloth called “Dhatu.” Women also wear heavy gold jhumkas to complement the whole dress and make it more authentic and graceful.
5. Lahaul and Spiti Dress
Lahaul and Spiti is a high-altitude district of Himachal. This place is famous for its majestic view of snow-covered mountains, high altitude treks, and famous Tibetian-rich culture. Lahaul and Spiti are the coldest regions of the Himalayas, and the area is covered with snow for six months or around the year. Lahaul and Spiti are rich in culture and have a unique living and dressing style. The natives use to wear woolen clothes around the year to keep them warm.
- Dress for Men and Women in Lahaul: In Lahaul, Men wear woolen pants of dark color and full-sleeved shirts called “Kurti.” A long loose gown called “Kattar,” usually in grey, black or white is worn over the dress and gives a complete look by wearing a woolen round cap called “Lahauli topi”.
In Lahaul, Women wear a tight-fitting pajama with a long full gown called “Dugpo,” which is tightened at the waist with a sash. Both men and women complete their traditional look by wearing “Lahauli topi,” which is uni-colored and has no designed pattern around the cap. These Lahauli dress makes it a famous traditional dress of Himachal Pradesh.
- Dress for Men and Women in Spiti: The dress of Spiti valley is different from Lahaul valley. Spiti dress includes long loose frocks or coats known by other names that depend on which material is used for the dress. If the dress is made from wool called “Righoay” and if made from the skin of sheep and goat called “Thakpa” and if made from the fur of goat and sheep called “Charlak.” To keep the back and abdomen warm, they tied a sash called “Kira.” A tight woolen Pyjama called “Suthan” worn under the coat, and even a cotton or silk cloth frock under the coat called “Tochay.”
Women of Spiti wear a loose cotton frock called “Tochay” and woolen long frock- coat called “Righoy” with long full sleeves collarless and buttonless shirt called “Hoojuk” underneath. This dress is accompanied by red or black trousers and adds more colors to the whole attire; embroidered stoles called “Lingches” wrap the back, neck, and shoulders. Then a fur-lined cape called “Lokpa” is worn over the dress. To complement the dress, both men and women wear silver ornaments like Dikra, vltik, Gau and Perak, pichoon, Konta, and many other heavy silver ornaments that make their attire different and unique other areas.
Both men and women covered their heads by wearing a round cap with a green-colored band around it.
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6. Sirmaur Dress
Sirmaur is one of the districts of Himachal Pradesh which is located in the Shivalik range. The Shimla district bounds Sirmaur. Sirmaur is famous for its beautiful landscapes and temples. Sirmaur holds the deep-rooted aspects of the old traditional culture of the Himachal. The traditional attire of Sirmaur is similar to Shimla.
In Sirmaur, women wear simple salwar kameez and wear woolen woven sweaters and shawls during the winter season. The head is covered with a square piece of cloth called “Dhatu.”
Men wear a long woolen coat called “Lohiya” with pajama. The head is covered by a cap that is round in shape, similar to “Kinnauri topi.”
7. Traditional Dress Of Mandi, Solan, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Kangra, Una District Of H.P.
These are the districts of Himachal and famous for their traditional culture, farming, and food. These all districts cover the lower part of Himachal.
Traditional dress of Himachal Pradesh for women in these districts is very famous, and women always wear this during any auspicious occasion or in a wedding ceremony. The traditional dress includes a long blouse-like shirt without a button with a long skirt full of pletas called “Ghaghri” and red in color and carries a dupatta over their head. This dress becomes authentic when women wear their traditional jewelry of gold as mang tika and a large round nose ring called “Nath.”
Men’s traditional dress includes a frock like a kurta with pleats and pajamas called “Suthan,” but nowadays men wear simple kurta and pajama and women prefer wearing salwar suit with dupatta on their head as the veil in daily routine. In hilly areas of Mandi and solan, women wear salwar suits with “Dhatu” to cover their heads.
1. What is famous in Himachal Pradesh for shopping?
Shopping in Himachal Pradesh is a heaven for everyone. But himachal pradesh famous dress and handicrafts like Kullu shawls, Tibetan carpets, pickles, Himachali topi, waistcoat, hand woven woolen sweaters, caps, socks are famous for shopping.
2. What is the fabric of Himachal Pradesh?
Famous fabrics in Himachal Pradesh are like thapada, Chamba rumal and hand woven woolen clothes made from wool and skin of goat and sheep.
3. What is the common dress of people of Himachal Pradesh?
People of Himachal Pradesh casually wear salwar-suits for women and kurta, pajama, pants and shirts for men which are usually accompanied with woolen waistcoat and headgear like Himachali topi and dhattu.
4. Which type of clothes to wear in Manali?
Manali has a cold weather around the year so mostly warm clothes are used to wear like sweaters, jackets, caps and socks.
Kullu dress is my favourite one, and also others mentioned Himachal Pradesh dress are looking very nice, love to wear once in a time. Great to read this article.
Thank you so much for reading article!