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Tribal Costumes In Rajasthan

Nearly 12 percent of the entire populace of Rajasthan makes up the tribals. The tribals of the state are made up of Minas and Bhils. They are called to be the original natives of this state while apart from these tribes; Rajasthan has many other tribes also which are smaller in number. All these different tribes share the same traits however there exists small variation in their attire, festivals and jewelry etc.

Major Tribes and Nomads of Rajasthan


Nearly thirty nine percent of the tribal people in Rajasthan comprise of Bhils. Living in Banswara region of this state, this tribe is acknowledged as fine archers. Actually this tribe has main significance in some great epics Ramayana and Mahabarata. This tribe was mainly the food gathers. But with the time passing, this tribe has taken up agriculture, employment, and city residence. Few main festivals of this tribe are Holi, and a fair which is held at Dungarpur.


This is other second largest community or tribe. The initial natives of earlier Indus Valley Civilization, people of this tribe possess light brown complexion, thick lips, large eyes, an athletic built coupled with sharp features while have tall body structures. Minas can be found ruling the areas of eastern Rajasthan and Shekhawati. These people solemnize the marriage of their children in their younger years.

Gadiya Lohars

This tribe is known for wandering around as blacksmiths and is named owing to their alluring bullock carts also called gadis. This tribe is a Rajput tribe that was forced to abandon their home at times when Emperor Akbar ousted Chittorgarh’s Maharana Pratap.


This tribe is small in number and is a Rajput tribe that lives in Abu Road which falls in Southern Rajasthan.


Acknowledged as the jungle dwellers,  this tribe is one of the backward tribes in this state that is believed to be originated from the Bhil Region, natives of Kota, Sawai Madopur and Dungarpur. All these regions fall in southern Rajasthan. This tribe is employed as fishermen, hunters, and shifting cultivators.


Belonging to Udaipur and Dungarpur regions, this tribe is known for being manual laborers and cultivators.

Tribal Costumes of Rajasthan

Attire of Rajasthan is the initial impression through which you can recognize a particular tribe of Rajasthan much before they speak something. Every tribe in India has a particular identity which is visible through the accessory and dress while later this it becomes their signature, serving as a common identity of their ancestry.

The natives of this state are considered to be very interesting where in every community its own dress, occupation, dwelling and custom has. They mainly cover a gamut of lifestyles, starting from aristocratic to rural tribes which are settled as traders, craftsmen, shepherds, camel-herders and farmers. Various tribes in Rajasthan display homogeneity of the aesthetic and socio-economic relationships. It starts from aristocrat to folk ethos and vice versa thereby leading to numerous identifiable aesthetic criterions. The attires therefore turn out to be a statement of someone’s identity and therefore are little rigid in conventional communities. There are few things like the costumes, ornaments, along with few other techniques which you can extensively say are very similar. Each and every community has revamped itself in the past few years and this evident from their ornaments and costumes which still is a perfect blend of traditional, historical, and modern trends and style. They have an impact of vernacular ethos coupled with an aura of religion and mythology.

Number of tribes can be found in Rajasthan and their costumes differ in all aspects starting from style, fabrics, and designs to the lifestyle of the tribe. The Bhil tribe of Rajasthan possesses a unique dressing style which identifies that group from the rest. The attire of men and women differs as the women wear an upper garment – an odhna, ghagra or a kapada. In old times, the females use to put a skirt of short length which facilitated easy movement. The cloth had some resist dyed prints which were termed as nandana that was of black, dark blue and greenish blue color. They use to wear pejania in the legs, arms and hands which actually protected them from animals and throns. The women even covered their head and torso with lugda and odhna which was made of hand spun cloth. This could either be screen printed, resist dyed or block printed.

Bow with the attire, the tribe of Bhil wore ornaments which matched their dress while defined their style and tribe culture. Few ornaments worn by the women of this tribe are bichiya, pejania, bidi, beenti, kamkada, kasla, tagli, haar, hansli, oganiya and dhimmna. They even worn ornaments made of brass, white metal, and silver. Now talking of men of this tribe, they wore a turban or tunis, angi or feto together with a lower garment which is called potario. This potario is knotted around men’s waist while the complete length is then drawn amid the legs while is tucked at the back. Men of this tribe even keep a shawl or pacheri. The young boys of this sect wear loincloths while after the age of 10, they prefer wearing dhoti. These boys generally avoid wearing headgear and upper garments till they get married. On their marriage the groom wears a tunic of shin length which is called ango. They even wear a Rajput angarkhi that is worn together with dhoti and turban. Like women, the men of this tribe too wear silver belts, kada, anklets, hansli, silver bracelets, and murki.

Native of Bishnoi tribe even carry a unique tradition with respect to their costumes. Significant clothes of the unmarried girls of this tribe comprises of odhna, pothdi, pada, puthia etc. People of this tribe have numerous options of odhni as it has many prints – ludi – black in color, sundari pakodi – cotton stuff, red printed chuni, rati chuni etc. Married women of this tribe wears a kurti, ghagra or a dhabla along with kanchali while wears a odhni that drapes over her body.

The women of Bishnoi prefer short ‘Kanchli’ designed with deep cut neckline displaying the upper portion of breasts. Neckline is usually embellished with small frills and also tiny bells are linked immediately below the ‘tuki’ which gives attraction to the garment and also to the neck. At times, they also wore a kurti which is also designed with deep cut neckline over Kanchli. Bishnoi women also choose ‘lehanga’ which is otherwise known as ‘ghaghariyo’ designed on cotton, satin or woolen material. The women of this tribe also prefer a best design of ‘odhna’. Following their tradition, bride’s mother gifts her lovable daughter ‘pir ki chunri’ which will be worn by bride at the time of marriage. Apart from this, ‘damini’, a red odhna with embroidery is very famous among these regional women. Rarely, the body of odhna is ornamented with gota and rickrack. Old age women belonging to this tribal population generally dress with ‘dhabla’, ‘petivali kanchli’, ‘apakodi ckunri’ and ‘lehanga’. Women also use shawls in the form of ‘lunkar’ and ‘ludi’.

The costume of Bishnoi men includes chols, pagadi and dhoti. Chola is an upper garment that is white cotton while the potiya is a headgear that forms an important part of their costume. This tribe wears dhoti as their lower garment. Few people even wear ornaments and wear mukhi as ear ornaments. These ornaments are vital part of their tribal costume.

Lohar tribe women focus on ‘kurti’, ‘kanchli’, ‘odhna’ and also ‘ghaghra’. The upper part of ‘Kanchli’ is greatly embellished with sequins, mirrors, tinsel and also silk threads. Lohar women also wear ‘odhna’ covering the entire head with their borders decorated with small ‘gota’ flowers made from silver. The design of ‘odhna’ may be either plain or at times decorated with floral patterns. Lohar women prefer to wear ornaments including bhanvaria (nose ring), ivory bangles, a toe ring or bichudi and also anklets known as kadula. Lohar women also target towards tabiz, which is a pendant known to get rid of evil eyes and also a necklace known as Kanthi. The jewelry on their neck is designed from very old silver coins similar to gypsies found in other regions of our world.

The costume of men belonging to Lohar tribe constitutes of turban, dholi and angarkhi. Men’s of this tribe wear a gold mukhi along with the ear rings called jhela. On few wedding ceremonies, they prefer wearing silver of gold locker that is tied around their neck with a black thread. This is called phul. Men of this tribe even wear kada, silver bangles, on some celebrations. They prefer wearing kanatki – a hip gridle and kadi – a thick silver anklet which is worn on right leg.

The tribal community of Garasia prefers to wear dresses which are delicate. Both female and male population of this tribal population accomplished their own style of dressing. They make use of various silver ornaments in their distinguished fashion of dressing. Women of this Garasia population focus on red or black blouses along with large petticoats. Garasia men are notable for their style of white or red turbans. Both women and men of this tribal community show interest to print tattoo which is also widely seen in the entire population. Dresses of Garasia community is really impressive and colorful both in the form of design and decoration. The garments of Garasia tribal women shows majority of bring colors of red, green and blue. Their upper garment is a jacket with full sleeve known as ‘jhulki’ designed with front open. Under ‘jhulki’, they prefer to wear ‘polaku’. Unmarried young girls of this tribe prefer to wear full skirt together with ‘odhna’ which is generally used to cover their upper portion of body and head which they drape in special style referred as ‘haluru’ or ‘harlu’. Widow women of Garasia community wear ‘chhano’ which is nothing but an ‘odhna’ of black color. Wearing jewelry is quite common in this community and generally there is a wide use of shells, stones and bronze jewelry’s. The women of Garasia wear ‘vithali’ in their nose and ears which is nothing but silver rings, together with ‘damani’ and ‘oganiya’ to embellish their ear part. The ornaments meant for their neck are very colorful which includes ‘kanikoya patiyu’, ‘bhamrio’ or ‘pulya’ made of silver or glass beads. These women also prefer white bangles known as ‘hains’, hansli’ and ‘hariyoo’ made from shellac. Wide ranges of jewelry’s are worn by Garasia women among which the most distinguished and highly embellished ornament is ‘haathpan’ made of silver. This is used to cover back of their hand decorated with floral patterns. Their feet are adorned with ornaments known as ‘karla’ or ‘pavla’ which are anklets of silver together with rings for toe, called as ‘anguthia’ or ‘polari’.

The garments of Garasia men are more or less same as that of several other tribal populations inhabited in Rajasthan. Headgear is vital and men usually wore turbans known as ‘pagadi’ or ‘potiyu’, the color is based on their public status and age. All men prefer to wear white kurta which is half-sleeved known as jhulki as their upper dress whereas dhoti as the lower garment. Garasia men are also fond of wearing jewelry’s as they wear ‘jharmaruyu’ or ‘jhela’ made from silver or gold to decorate their ears. Their wrist is decorated with a solid bangle made from silver known as ‘kada’ or ‘mataliyo’. Their ankle accessory is known as ‘Eire’ whereas ‘terayo’ is single pendant worn on long thread decorating their chests. Their wrists are also embellished with a ‘Kan-dora’, a silver accessory together with ‘Mandaliyo’, a copper or silver armlet.

There is also another tribal community called as Gujjar coming under the tribal population of Rajasthan. Women of this Gujjar population prefer a distinguished ‘saadi’ which is similar to ‘ghaghra’ and worn along with ‘lugri’ and ‘kanchli’. Unmarried young girls wear ‘odhna’, ‘ghaghra’ and ‘puthia’. Married women prefer vibrant odhna, ghaghra and a kanchli decorated with gota trimmings. The Gujjar and Kumhar prefer to wear ghaghra in nalchi bhat, as the garment with block print is known as ‘phetiya’ which can be also worn as lower garment. Special type of ‘odhna’ focused by these women is called as ‘lugda’ made of red cotton printed material and embellished with gota flowers particularly round the head. The tattoos are also famous for decoration. These tribal women are interested in jewelry made in silver. Their forehead is decorated with ‘bor’ with ‘jhela’.  Neck is embellished with gold amulet known as ‘ramnami’ and ‘kungali’. Their ears carry ‘jhumar’ and waist is decorated with ‘kanakti’. The arms of these women are decorated with ornamental ‘kada’, ‘pahunci’ and ‘gugra’, whereas their feet carries ‘chade’, ‘jhanjhar’, ‘kada’, and ‘avla’.

There is a slight difference in the men’s costumes which carries a pastoral character. Men wear upper garment known as ‘bagalbandi’ or ‘angarkhi’ possessing a tie on its right portion which is generally till their hip. It is also available in the form of ‘angarkha’ which are till the length of knee and are generally preferred during auspicious events including marriages. Their garments are embellished with embroidered ‘putia’ drawing together with running stitch on their bacl portion of body and also on sleeves till the level of their upper arm. During auspicious events, these men prefer to wear ‘jama’ which is of knee length known as ‘baga’ made from fabric of red cotton and embellished with gota designs on their seams, back bodice, front yoke and also sleeves. Men from this tribal community also wear dhoti in the style of ‘dolangi’. Men from this community usually wear a headgear of gol safa designed from cotton fabric. The garment of safa is white or red and during festive seasons, their turbans are luxuriously decorated with gold. Wearing ornaments are part of this tribal costume and they also love to wear jewelry made of gold known as ‘kun-dal’, ‘jhcla’ or ‘murki’. Their wrists carry a ‘kada’ and their foot ‘kadi’. Their neck is decorated with ‘Phul’ which is silver or gold pendant lying on a black thread together with brilliantly colored woolen tassels occasionally. On regular use they wear heavy silver choker known as ‘hansli’.

The garments of Kumhar women are more or less similar to Gujjar women. They dress to wear brass jewelry’s together with ornaments on their wrists, ears etc… The Kumhar men’s costumes are also more or less similar to men from various other working communities. Rarely, Kumhar men are witnessed with an angarkhi. The Kumhar men are dressed with a calf length lower garment known as dhoti in the form of tilangi style. These men also love jewelry and prefer to wear murki in ears, whereas their necks are decorated with silver amulets and kadi on their right ankle.

The Maheshvari tribal population women are generally seen with ‘kabji’ or ‘puthia’, ‘khadi kamiz’ designed from soft and comfortable cotton as their upper garment. Various garments used to cover their lower part of body are ghaghra or shorts. These tribal girls prefer ‘odhna’ together with ghagra designed from vibrantly colored poplin, tul, pichodi or fine voile. Rarely, they can be noticed with a special ‘ghaghra’ known as ‘bafti-ka-ghaghra’ made from satin and carries about eighty kalis. These tribal women include jewelry’s together with costumes. An ivory ‘chuda’ is a significant jewelry piece for married ladies which will be worn on their hands at the time of marriage. The forehead of married women carries a ‘bor’. Women also prefer a wonderful necklace made of gold known as ‘kanthi’. The costume of maheshvari men is a characteristic of prosperous male outfit in this region. Their lower garment is ‘khuli-laang-ki-dhoti’ that goes down till their ankles and they occasionally wear headgear. This tribal community man wears less gold jewelry.

Meghval tribe costumes consists of puthia which are embellished in different styles known to be suf bharat or humrichi, kharat and decorated with silver gota in their borders. Their women prefer ghaghras together with odhna of various styles. Other forms of their dresses comprise Kanchlis. Their costumes display wide variations within their community. All married women belonging to this Meghval population carries an upper garment called kanchli. Their head carries head ornament known as bor made from silver or beads, ear ornaments made of brass known as kudka. They also carry elaborated necklaces known as Chandan-haar and kanta as their nose accessory. They also love various other types of necklaces including timanya designed from chid or tiny glass beads together with badla, usually silver made. Their wrist carries a round silver bangle called dodia. They wear a solid ring which is metal made on their ankle known as hirmain, throughout their life.

There is one remarkable feature of men that belong of Meghval tribe and that is their costume, their attire is completely white in color. It comprises of safa, dhoti, puthia while men can also be found carrying a gamcha which remains covering their shoulder encircling their neck. Now days the men prefer wearing kurta payjama while at times they even wear kurla and chola.

The costumes of the various tribal populations seem to be similar few times as they carry out same way of life in different locations. The Mina women costumes are odhna, kanchli, ghaghra and kurti. Unmarried young girls of this community wear sari known as lugda. Married women population of Mina bears borla as sign of their marriage. Their neck is decorated with hansli, nose with nath, ears carry timaniya, forearms bear bangles, gajra, bangri and their upper hands are decorated with bajuband. All married Mina women uniformly wear chuda designed of lac. Their foot carries pajeb and kadi. Their neck and head accessories are made from silver whereas their feet are decorated with brass ornaments. These women generally don’t prefer gold. But tattoos are quite famous among Mina population. They showcase tattoos on faces and head. The costume of Mina men comprises of kurta or bandi, dhoti together with a turban. Their younger age group had already transformed to pyjamas or trousers with shirt.  Jewelry can be hardly seen on Mina men. Their usual ornaments are murki, an ear wear. Tattoing is a popular art among these men and they generally carry tattoos of their names, figures, deities and floral motifs on their forehead.

Besides these tribal communities, Rajasthan has few other tribes like Sindi Muslims, Rajputs and Rabaris. The dressing style of such tribes is just like other tribes with slight variation that makes their different from other tribes.

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