A visit to India has a unique flavour of variance in it that one could witness in no other place in the world. Known as the country of snake charmers, India is like a colourful patchwork quilt, beautifully harmonized to form a composite whole.
India is a country who has a multi facet combination of costumes , culture and tradition. From the northern dhotis to the southern lungis ,from the eastern sarees to the western cholis. Each of them blended with colors, designs and prints.
Most Indians wear traditional attire. In the recent years the youngsters in metropolitan cities have taken to western clothing. Still by and large, in the rest of the country and among the older generation, Indian clothing is very much the daily attire.
The best known Indian clothing is the 'sari' worn by women all over the country in it's various adaptations in different regions of the country. The 'salwar kameez' is a dress of the north as is the 'churidar kurta'. The latter is also worn by men. In Gujarat and Rajasthan women wear brightly mirrored skirts called 'ghagras'. Here also, you will find the colourful tie-dye materials. In the north-east, the women wear superbly picturesque Tibetan costumes. The sarong-like 'lungi' is worn by both men as well as women in the south. The traditional Muslim women can still be seen wearing the all-enveloping tent-like 'burkha'. Unlike their women, the Indian men wear quite conventional western clothing especially in the cities. Here one will find men clad in the regular pant and shirt. In the north, the most popular dress for men is the 'kurta pyjama'. The 'pathan suit', very similar to the salwar kameez is worn by men in the north. In the south apart from the lungi mentioned earlier, one sees the 'dhoti'. The dhoti is like a longer lungi but with a length of material pulled up between the legs. The 'achkan' which is long collarless jacket is used for occasional wear all over the country though seen more in the north. The 'safa' is a turban made from a single, colourful strip of cloth and is originally from Rajasthan.
The 'Gandhi Topi' is worn mostly by Maharashtrian men. The most prominent headgear you will see is probably the 'turban' of the 'sardars' or the Sikh men. Traditional Indian women keep their head covered at all times. In the north they use a 'dupatta' usually made from a flimsy fabric. Others use the end of their sari. In the north-east, they wear high top hats. The conventional footwear of the Indians also varies. The typical 'juttis' and 'mojris' are very comfortable. Also very popular are the 'Kolhapuri chappals', a type of slippers originally made in a small town in Maharashtra.
Craftsmanship in general has not developed beyond the production of everyday items for domestic use. Pattu, the rough, warm, woollen material used for clothing is made from locally produced wool, spun by women on drop-spindles, and woven by traditional weavers on portable looms that are set up in the winter sunshine or under the shade of a tree in summer.
Let us now parade ourself with the mystic of Indian costumes around the map.