Traditional Costumes of Andaman & Nicobar , Kutch & Saurashtra , Lakshadweep
SHIATS, Allahabad, India
ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR
The rich culture of Andaman and Nicobar islands is exceptional. Its native population upholds the richness, ethnicity and customs of the islands that fetches the attraction of many visitors. Basically, the native populations of Andaman and Nicobar islands are characterized by two distinct populations, namely: The ‘Negrito’ in the Andaman and ‘Autochthones’ i.e., ‘Mongoloid Nicobarese’ and ‘Shompen’. These diverse cultures have preserved their unique identity for years that attract a lot of visitors. The unique style, dignity and honor that they hold in the midst of the nearby areas are the best things that make the place a desirable one.
TRIBES CULTURE OF ANDAMAN AND NIKOBAR
Andaman and Nicobar islanders are usually distinguished into two groups. Those that comprise the Andaman population are the Negroids of the Paleolithic age who migrated from Africa a few thousands of years ago. The ethnic group includes Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinalese of Mongoloid origin wherein, the inhabitants of Nicobar comprise of the ‘Nicobarese’ and the ‘Shompen’ inhabitants. These tribes have maintained their uniqueness amid relative isolation and therefore have succeeded in maintaining the culture of the Islands.
Major changes has entered the lifestyle and culture of the Car Nicobar islanders, who no longer restrict themselves to the traditional costumes of coconut -leaf petticoats and other similar costumes. They now have adopted modern clothes. Same about the Onges, who after years of no-dress culture, now drape themselves in the costume of the land. The Shompen people cover themselves only from their waist. With time the people of Andaman have transformed and have taken to the new and improved cosmetics and dresses.
However, the Hindus, Sikhs and Christians, living on the islands, exhibit themselves in their traditional costumes of sari, salwars , skirt-blouse, Dhoti, Kurtas, Pajamas, pants, trousers, shirts and so on. The people have taken to the new, modern attire in place of old, traditional clothes which were mainly out of plant leaves and other similar costumes.
Costume-patterns of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are on the tide of change. It is interesting to see the sea-shell ornaments and natural products like leaves of trees, forming the costume of a place. Costumes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are in harmony with the blue romance of the sea and the sylvan ambience.
KUTCH AND SAURASHTRA
Costumes of Kutch is exquisitely stylized and intricately embroidered, the kutchi attire is simply eye-catching. Dazzling with vibrant colours, flooded with striking mirror work and stunning jewellery it`s one of the most alluring customs in India. The mirror work and embroidery work forms an integral part of Kutchi
Main Male Attire : Chorno & Kediyu.
Main Female Attire : Chaniyo & Choli.
Ornaments Worn By : Both Men and Women.
Like the land of Gujarat the costumes of Gujarat also show huge variety in color and form. You will see the fine threadwork that comes in different kinds to decorate the costumes of Gujarati people. The use of beads and small pieces in embroidery is a specialty of Gujarati embroiders.
The most common type of Gujarti costume worn by men is called Chorno. This dress is a cotton drawer which is mainly worn by rural men of this state. A short kediyu or angrakhu is pout over the Chorno to cover the upper part of the body. People of Gujarat who are engaged in agriculture are seen to wear a typical head dress or turban. This turban is named phento and is a thickly folded piece of cloth.
Generally, Gujarati men prefer to wear dhotis with long or short coat and a turban. But like most of the states in India these traditional costumes of Gujarat are gradually being replaced by western casuals.
In the rural areas women wear Chaniya choli during the whole year, Chaniya choli`s are of many designs and fashion. Typical Kutchi costume is incomplete without `Abha` or `Kanjari`. `Abha` is the name of the typical choli worn by women folk and `Kanjari` is a long blouse beautifully embroidered and with mirror work. Most men in Kutch wear loose trousers, a long-sleeved under-jacket, and a short coat, a plain or silk-bordered cloth. Normally men prefer white clothes except the Muslims who prefer colored clothes.
The females in rural part of Gujarat commonly wear chaniyo, which is colored petticoat embroidered with glass pieces. They wear a blouse, named choli, which is embroidered in a similar fashion with glass pieces that give a glittering effect to it. Along with this blouse and petticoat women also take a chunri, which is a colored coarse cloth long enough to drape around the upper part of the body.
The traditional costumes of Lakshadweep are enriched with abundance of colours. The scenic landscape is hence in tune with the resplendent costumes. The plain, but colourful costumes of Lakshadweep, and the Amini cluster of islands, deserve praise, for their inherent sense of artistry. The costumes vary for men and women, where as the costumes of the Minicoy are rather diverse than that of the rest of the population of Lakshadweep. Other than the traditional costumes, the women also embellish them selves with ornaments and jewellery. The young generation, however, are more inclined to modern western wear, than that of the traditional attires.
Men`s Costumes of Lakshadweep-
The tribal men, of this coastal land, other than Minicoy, adorn themselves in white or coloured Lungi, coming as a rectangular piece of cloth, with its edges, stitched together. Not only men, but also women tie a silver thread round the waist. This act as a girdle for a senior person, who pulls the Lungi through the string to hold it firmly round his waist. Normally, for daily wear and tear, men do not cover themselves upwards the waist. However, in ceremonial participation, they flaunt themselves in cotton or silk drapery, invested with impressive embroidery. This cloth is passed around the shoulders. The younger generation, exhibit themselves in shirts.
Women`s Costumes of Lakshadweep-
The traditional costume of women comprises of Kachi, a rectangular piece of cloth, but unstitched unlike that of men. Kachis are, often made of silk fabric. This Kachi, enveloping a woman from the waist, is tucked into the waistband of silver thread. The shades of Kachis are generally black or white with black borders. However, the silk Kachis commonly come up in red body with contrasting black borders. The jacket, on the front side, contains fine-embroidery, done with glass or gilt bits. It is topped off by a full-sleeves close-fitting jacket around the waist. The colour-smeared scarf, known as Thattam, serves as a wonderful headdress.
Accessories and Jewelleries of Lakshadweep-
Ornaments are in vogue among the islander women, apart from the Minicoy women. A waist-ornament called Aranchan, bangles called Vala or Kodakam, for the wrists, ear-rings, Koodu and Alikkath, and a necklace, Urukku, are the popular jewellery items. The waist-belt could be of gold or of silver. The two types are the Kannadi Aracha, with a width of one inch, possessing a lock; and the Adippu, worn around the chain. The Vala is an ordinary bangle has a glamorous Kodakam, functioning as a bracelet. The design of Koodu, an eardrop is special. It has a pyramidal structure. Alikkath are small rings embellishing the ear.
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