Importance of Colors in Traditional Rajasthani Costumes


Color plays a vital role in Rajasthani clothing. It is an interesting part of their costumes and dressing sense. Color is widely used in all types of ornamentation and attires of Rajasthan. In the history as well, color held an essential aspect in Rajasthani and Indian culture. Excessive usage of colors in costumes relate to climatic changes, cultural and religious aspects. All colors symbolize significant and complex connotations in specific region, space and time. The color symbolization is derived from the history of dyeing in India.

India has a lot of resource of madder dying that helps in coloring textiles. Therefore it is important to understand the outfits of Rajasthanis and their relation with colors. This can give a good idea about the significance of colors in costumes of Rajasthan. Colors in India are related to emotions. They convey customs, moods, ceremonial occasions, religious values and seasons. Ceremonies and rituals are known for different hues, all symbols of specific traditions. Even in today’s time, colors are used to categorize different communities and individuals’ social status. Colors in attires also denote biological, psychological and aesthetic connotations. This is the reason why colors and outfits have a strong relation in Rajasthan. People are very choosy while selecting any traditional clothing and review every color carefully. This really proves that color is an essential aspect of Rajasthani clothing.
Color in Rajasthani costumes are separated into 2 categories relying on the end usage. Unmarried and married women use clothing of kachcha or temporary colors while widows wear outfits of pakka or permanent colors. These colored costumes signify social status of women in this part of the world. Saffron, red, parrot green and yellow are kachcha colors and maroon, grey, dark blue, dark green and brown are pakka colors. Red is one of the most common colors that can be seen in most Rajasthani outfits. The color denotes joy and believed as auspicious. Generally it is found from the root of manjit plant. Red is a mark of married women. Red sindoor (vermillion) is put on the parting hair of married women. They also wear red sari or red chunri. Red has some erotic connotations and this color is widely used in marriages. 

On the other hand white color stands for purity and it is an avatar of light. White is a manly color and it can be seen in most of the men’s costumes in Rajasthan. Married women do not wear any dress in white color because only widows are allowed to wear white costumes. However, priests wear white garments for religious ceremonies. Color combination can also be seen in the rural and tribal clothing of Rajasthan. Such colorful attires look stunning and attractive.

Auspicious colors include saffron or kesariya and shades of yellow in both men and women’s wears. Such colors are obtained from saffron leaves. Rajput of Rajasthan used saffron color a lot in their outfits. The color was related to the worriers who died in the battlefield. Yellow is associated to religious ceremonies and signifies the sun god. Traditional costumes in beautiful colors are attractive that can lure you to buy at least a piece of clothing.

The symbolism of colors and liveliness is evident in the way they are incorporated in the clothing of Rajasthan, mainly for women. Special designs and colors are also preferred for some months or seasons. Golden and orange are favored on New Year celebration day or Chaitra month. Summer colors of include light yellow or kapasi, light peach or javai, or pearl pink. These colors can be seen in costumes during summer season in Rajasthan. They have cool reflection to stay comfortably in hot summer days.
Red Odhani
Savan or rainy season is welcomed with green costumes that show joy and prosperity. Girls wear green colored leheriya dupatta in Savan. Red odhna or kasuvud is worn during Teej festival, when a wife prays for her husband’s long life. Diwali festival is celebrated with bright colors like yellow and red. On Diwali Rajput females commonly wear a purple colored odhani. All colors have their particular importance in Rajasthani clothing, showing the dependence on clothing during festivals and special occasions. 

Symbolism of color in Rajasthani costumes has a lot of value in festivals and religious ceremonies. The wide color spectrum on materials and costumes is done through the popular way called as dyeing. With the help of dyeing it is possible to color yarn and fabric. In Rajasthan communities have expertise in production of beautiful crafts. Neelgar or rangrez are the dyers known for their beautiful dying. There are several villages popular for their textile designing. In fact dying is an inborn art in Rajasthanis. So many fine-looking crafts and costumes are produced by them.