Jama and Baga, Traditional Rajasthani Costume for Men


Jama and Baga are very popular throughout Rajasthan. The traditional costume has a long tradition in this area. The ancient times of Jama has been debated a lot by main scholars that feature its origin as Central Asia. The costume had certain Mughal influence. Many evidences prove that Jama is more a type of Mughal outfit. It has tight fitting bodice, flared skirt and high waist that can differ from the length of knee to ankle. Beautiful dress of Rajasthan is worn by many men in rural and urban areas.

An open-fronted garment with single panel passed over the other panel at the front. It is tied at the corner under the left or right armpit instead of the common opening down at the centre. The outfit is maintained by tie-cords that restrain the inner panel at armpit or waist. In the similar way, there are some tie cords in the outer area attached to the front panel. Tie-cords and strings called as kasa are common devices to tie angarkha or jama.

The unseen tie-cords are realistic and simple but the viewable tie-cords are attractive and ornamented. Jama is made of a wide range of fabrics such as brocade, fine cotton, wool and silk. Designers of the Jama and Baga are also skilled. Different types of floral designs are scattered. Jama can be found in museum collections, photos and paintings.

Jama is not widely used in every society of Rajasthan that shows that it is not a native outfit. Rajput and Mughal paintings depict jama in diverse styles. Popular ones include gherdar jama and chakdar jama. In chakdar jama you can find narrowing and hanging ends that can be seen in Mughal paintings.

Though Chakdar jamawith flared panels and cuts are found prior the rule of Mughal sultanate, it is hard to make a difference between angarkha and jama as there is no complete details about the use of such outfits have existed. Oral evidences and graphic representations can give a little idea.

The outfit worn by the Bhopa and Ger dancers is known as baga. It is a type of skirt but a wider one with panels on all sides and overlapping bodice. Bodice is added to baga by seam. Bagalbandi and bagatri are also similar to baga and jama.