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Gamcha – Different Uses of a Traditional Gamcha

Gamcha – Different Uses of a Traditional Gamcha

Nigar Sultana
Assistant professor, Dept. of Fashion Design
KCC Women’s College (Affiliated by Khulna University)
Khulna, Bangladesh
Email: nigar.kccwc@gmail.com


Gamcha is a thin, coarse, traditional 100% cotton towel recognized in India and Bangladesh. It is used to dry the body after bathing or wiping sweat. It is both folded down to about the same size. It is often just worn on one side of the shoulder. However its appearance varies from region to region. The gamcha wins as it is a bit smaller packing and the gamcha is larger. This particular one is slightly narrower but twice as long.

Bibi russel used gamcha as a fashion costume
Bibi russel (fashion designer) used gamcha as a fashion costume

Size and color of gamcha:

Bengali 100% cotton gamcha to dry your body with. Medium gamcha size is (90×175 cm) and large (100×200 cm) sizes are available in market. These come in different patterns but are generally in reddish colors but also used in green, blue, yellow, orange, black color. Product image, color, weaving, pattern mainly depends on the buyer requirements.

Latest gamcha fashion
Latest gamcha fashion

Different Uses of a Traditional Gamcha:

Gamcha is more popular among people from states like Bengal, Assam, Orissa, and so on. The term ‘Gamchha’ originates from the Bangla language and it means ‘Wiping the Body’. The gamocha is used by the wearer in many ways. But now gamcha is used as a fashion costume, and fashion accessories also.

Bibi Russell present her collection in kolkata fashion week
Bibi Russell present her collection in kolkata fashion week

The traditional gamocha is used in many different purposes. These are as follows.

  • Gamcha is used to dry the body after bathing or wiping sweat.
  • The gamcha has now become one of the most iconic accessories in Bollywood.
    Bollywood actress use gamcha as a fashion accessories
    Bollywood actor-actresses use gamcha as a fashion accessories
  • The best thing about a gamchha is that being thin, it does not take long to dry and thus can be used many times during a day.
  • The coolies make a bun out of the traditional gamcha, which they keep on their head to carry the railway passenger’s luggage.
  • A fruit vendor wearing a gamcha tied as a headscarf.
  • Gamcha is also worn as knee long loin cloths. Especially use laborers and farm workers.
  • Children of tribal communities in Orissa wear gamucha until their adolescence after which they wear dhoti.
  • Farmers keep the gamcha on their shoulders to wipe away the sweat while toiling in the scorching sun, the whole day long.
    Farmer wearing gamcha
    Farmer wearing gamcha
  • In ancient India, travelers used the gamocha to carry food in it while journeying.
  • Gamucha are worn by the South Asian people, especially in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and the Purvanchal region, because they are not as thick as Western-style towels and better suited to the country’s tropical, humid climate.
  • It also forms one of the essential items offered to Indian deities during religious ceremonies.
  • In Afghanistan they are also used and are commonly referred to as dismaal.
    Gamcha used as a dismal in Afghanistan army
    Gamcha used as a dismaal in Afghanistan army
  • Gamcha may also be found in Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish hamams as a traditional male loin cloth and towel worn during bathing and massage.



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