Cummerbund, Traditional Rajasthani Men’s Costume


Cummerbund is also called as Patka, a wide sash worn by men in Rajasthan. It is a semiformal men’s costume. It is a waistband made of a narrow and long strip of cloth. Cummerbund is widely used by men throughout Rajasthan. Cummerbund means ‘an article tied around the waist’. On the other hand, patka is originated from patta (a Sanskrit word) that means strip.

The ornamental fabric of the costume is put all across the waist and wrapped many times around. It is tightly knotted with both ends going down to the front or left hand side. The costume is decorated beautifully with nobility and royalty. Elegant yet lavish, cummerbund is adorned on the waist. Borders and ends of the clothing are heavily ornamented.  The luxury garment is used to make cummerbund include fine woven, silver threads and golden threads. They are either used in the body of cummerbund or in the patterning to give vibrant look.

Attractive embroideries and beautiful block printing techniques are used to make cummerbund. Silk, cotton and at times wool are used to design the clothing. But they are worn by royal people in Rajasthan. However, cummerbund is not visible much in historical records. It can be seen in sculptures of ancient India and Mughal paintings.

In museums as well cummerbund can be seen exhibiting in paintings, photographs, and its old pieces. Sometimes cummerbund is misunderstood as turban.  It is widely seen in ceremonial accessories but not too much ornamented.