Tribal Dress and Jewellery of Rajasthan


There are many tribes living in Rajasthan. They wear different types of costumes according to their religion, custom and traditional beliefs. Indian tribes have different features of wearing ornaments and clothing which is a symbol of identify in their society.

Rajasthani people are undoubtedly the interesting aspect of this part of the world. All communities are different in costume, custom, occupation and dwelling. They comprise a wide range of lifestyles, from settled to nomadic, aristocratic to tribal including shepherds, farmers, traders, craftsmen and camel-herders. Such communities stand for homogeneity in aesthetic and socio-economic interrelations. Traditional tribal costumes are identity of local people living in Rajasthani communities. With modernization, change is unavoidable. Though jewelleries, clothing and types of adornments might be same, individuals have developed specific costumes. They love to wear their traditional outfits and show their real identity to the world.

Many tribal groups exist in different parts of Rajasthan and their costumes differ from fabrics, styles and designs to their different lifestyles.

Bhil Tribes:

Bhil tribes have specific dressing sense that differentiates them from other tribes. Costumes of their men and women are unique. Bhil women wear odhna, ghaghra and an upper piece of clothing known as kapada. In old times, women in Bhil community used to adorn a short size of skirt (knee length) facilitating frequent movements. Its fabric has resist-dyed print known as nandana, commonly black, dark-blue or greenish blue. A wide variety of colours also make the tribal costume more attractive. To the similar end, an ornament named pejania worn on arms, lengs and hands that provide protection from animals and thorns. Women cover up their head and torso with lugda or odhna.

Bhil people use beautiful jewelleries that match their ethnicity and dress. Some of the popular jewelleries worn by women in Bhil community include bichiya, dhimmna, beenti, oganiya, pejania, hansli, kasla, haar, bidi, tagli and kamkada. They make use of white metal and silver brass in jewelries. Men in Bhil community wear a turban, tunic, angi and potario (a lower garment). The lower garment is tied with a knot around the waist. Men also wear a shawl or pacheri. Young boys wear a loincloth and after passing 10 years they wear dhoti. Boys do not put on headgear or upper garments until they get married. On the wedding day, groom wears ango or tunic. Rajput angarkhi looks stunning on groom. The dress is worn with a dhoti and turban. Both Bhil men and women wear beautiful ornaments such as silver bracelets, murki, hansli or necklace, kada or anklets, and silver belts all across the waist.

Bishnoi Tribe:

Bishnoi people have a specific tradition for their clothing. Young unmarried girls of this community wear pothdi or pada, odhnab and puthia. Odhnis represent a wide range of prints such as ludi in black, sundri pakodi in cotton and rati-chunri a red colored chunri. Married women wear ghaghra or dhabla, kanchli with kurti and odhna. With these cloths married women drape their body. Bishnoi women put on a short size of kanchli with deep neckline exposing the upper breast area. Neckline is commonly decorated with small bells and small frills attached beneath tuki making the garment more beautiful. Kurti has a deep neckline worn over kanchli. Women of Bishnoi tribe like to wear lehanga also known as ghaghariyo made of satin, wool or cotton. A wide variety of odhna is also available for women in Rajasthan. As per the tradition, the bride’s mother gifts her “pir ki chunri”. The type of clothing is very popular among locals. Gota and rickrack are also applied for ornamentation on odhna. Elderly women of Bishnoi tribe wear apakodi ckunri, petivali kanchli, lehanga and dhabla. Women’s shawls include lunkar and ludi.

Bishnoi men wear chola, pagadi and dhoti. Chola is an upper garment commonly made of white cotton. Dhoti is a lower garment. Headgear is also an essential costume which is called as potiya. Men also like to wear jewelleries and put on murki as earrings.

Lohar Tribe:

Tribal women of this community wear kurti, kanchli, odhna and ghaghra. The upper part of kanchli is profusely decorated with silk, tinsel, mirrors and sequins threads. Women wear odhna covering the head and bordering are adorned with small silver gota flowers. Odhna can be patterned or plain in floral designs. Ornaments of women in Lohar tribe are a toe ring or a bichudi, nose ring known as bhanvaria, ivory bangles and anklets i.e. kadula. Women also like to adorn a tabiz (black coloured pendant) to stay away from evils. Neck jewelry is made of silver coins. 

The costumes of Lohar men include dholi, angarkhi and a headgear (turban).  On the wedding day, they put on a silver or gold locket in a black tread tied around the neck, it is known as phul. Kada or silver bangle is worn on the wrist on special events. Kanakti is a silver hip girdle for men. Kadi is also worn extensively which is a silver anklet.

Garasia Tribe:
Costumes of Garasia tribe are exclusive and unique. Both men and women of this community have specific type of dressing. This makes their traditional outfits stunning. A wide range of silver ornaments are employed with specific dressing style. Women of Garasia tribe wear black sari with red colour of blouse along with a large petticoat. Men are famous for their white or red turbans. Tattoos are also prevalent in Rajasthani tribes. Men and women like to create different types of tattoos on their body. Garasia clothing is attractive and colourful. Women’s costumes have dark shapes of green, blue and red. Jhulki is a long sleeved jacket with a front opening. Below this jacket a worn, which is a dress called polaku.

Unmarried girls like to wear a long skirt to cover their head and upper part of their body with odhna. This is a unique style of wearing known as haluru or harlu. Widows wear odhna in black colour and chhano. They commonly wear jewelleries of shells, stones and bronze. Vithali is another common nose ring and earrings are damani and oganiya. Colourful neck ornaments are kanikoya patiyu, pulyu or bhamrio, made of silver or glass beads. Moreover, they like to put on hains, hariyoo and hansli, and white bangles made of shellac. A wide range of jewelleries in silver ornaments called haathpan used for covering the back side of the hand with beautiful floral designs. Feet adorning ornaments include karla or pavla, beautiful silver anklets worn with toe rings are called as anguthia or polari.

Men’s costumes in Garasia tribe is alike other tribal dresses in Rajasthan. Most men wear headgear which is called as pagadi or potiyu, the colourful turban that relies on their status and age. Jhulki is a half-sleeved jacket worn as an upper garment with a lower garment called dhoti. Similar to women, men also like to wear jewelleries like jharmaruyu or jhela in silver and gold which are earrings. Kada or mataliyo is silver bangle worn on the wrist. Almost all men wear kada in Rajasthan. ‘Pendant or terayo’ and ‘ankle ornament or Eire’ are also worn a lot. Kan-dora is a silver ornament worn all across the waist with Mandaliyo, which is a copper or silver armlet.

Gujjar Tribe:
Gujjar tribe is also very popular for its vibrant clothing in beautiful colours. Women of Gujjar tribe wear featured saadi, resembling ghaghra and worn with lugri and kanchli. Young unmarried girls put on ghaghra, odhna and puthia. Married women adorn themselves with kanchli with gota and ghaghra along with odhna. Gujjar women wear ghaghra that is available in a wide variety. Phetiya is a beautiful lower garment. Odhna has a special type in Gujjar tribe i.e. lugda made of cotton fabric. Tattoos are also very popular among Gujjars. They create tattoos of gods and goddess, animals, flowers and other things. Both men and women in this community are found of silver jewelleries. Bor is worn with jhela on forehead, ramnami (gold amulet) is worn with kungali on neck, an earring called jhumar is popular, and kanakti is tightly worn in waist. Ornaments for arms include kada, pahunci and gugra. Feet ornaments are avla, kada, chade and jhanjhar.

Costumes of Gujjar men are rustic. Men’s upper garment is bagalbandi or angarkhi, tied on the right hand side. The dress is commonly worn on special occasions. These costumes are decorated with putia design. On special events, men prefer wearing jama (knee length cloth) also called as baga, made of cotton fabric. Lower garment worn by men is dhoti (a long loincloth) in a similar way like dolangi community. Commonly men like to wear headgear clothing called as gol safa. The headgear is made of cotton. It also shows the status of men in their community. Safa fabric is available in white or red colours. On special occasions, the headgear is beautified with gold. They love ornaments and jewelleries and wear gold kun-dal, jhcla and murki. They flaunt many ornaments like kada on wrist and kadi on foot. Silver or gold pendant phul on black thread is worn on neck on special events. However, daily wear include hansli, a silver choker.

Kumhar Tribe:
Dresses of women in Kumhar community are similar to Gujjar women. Brass jewelleries are preferred by them for wrist and ear. Men’s costumes in Kumhar tribe are similar to other communities. Sometimes Kumhar men dress in angarkhi. Their lower garment include dhoti in tilangi way. Similar to women, men are also found of ornaments and jewelleries. They wear earrings called murki, silver amulets around their neck and ankle wearing called kadi.

Maheshvari Tribe:
Women living in Maheshvari community commonly wear upper garments as khadi kamiz, kabja or puthia made of cotton. For lower garments there are many choices like ghaghra. Unmarried girls wear odhna with ghaghra made of fine voile or tul. At times, they like to be dressed in satin made ghaghra. Jewelleries are also worn a lot by females in Maheshvari tribe. Married women wear chuda during the wedding ritual and also put on bor made of gold on forehead. Kanthi is another beautiful gold jewellery. 

Men’s costumes in Maheshvari tribe are featured of rich attires. Dhoti is a lower garment for men of this tribe. Turban is also very common among men that show their status in society. Men like to wear fewer gold jewelleries.

Meghval Tribe:
Traditional clothing of Meghval community consists of puthia, beautifully embroidered in a wide range of styles such as humrichi, kharak, silver gota and suf bharat. Women wearing include ghaghra worn with odhna of various types. Kanchli is another women’s dress. Costumes have a wide variety in the tribe itself. Kanchli is an upper garment worn by married women. Bor is a headgear worn by women which is made of silver or beads. Kudka is an ear ornament, chandan-haar is a necklace and kanta is a nose ornament. Other types of necklaces include timaniya designed of small glass beds, badla and chid. Dodia is round silver bangle tightly worn on the wrist. Hirmain is a metal ring worn on ankle.

Outstanding costumes for men are available in Meghval tribe in a wide variety. Traditional men’s attires include safa, dhoti and puthia. Gamcha is also carried on by men over their neck and shoulder. These days, men can also be seen in kurta pyjama and occasionally in kurla and chola.

Mina Tribe:
Costumes of Rajasthani tribal communities represent their lifestyle. Mina women wear kurti, odhna, kanchli and ghaghra. Unmarried girls living in Mina tribe put on sari known as lugda. On the other hand, married women adorn themselves with borla which represents their marital status. They also like to wear hansli around their neck and nath in the nose. Bajuband is put on the upper arm. Married women commonly dress in lac made chuda. Pajeb and kadi is worn on feet. Neck and head ornaments are made of silver, while feet ornaments are made of brass. Women in Mina tribe do not like to wear gold. Tattoos are applied by women of this tribe. They display different types of tattoos on their face and head.

Costumes of Mina men include a turban, kurta, dhoti and bandi. Younger men have accepted trousers, pyjamas, t-shirts and shirts. Men do not like to wear jewelleries. Murki is though worn by them which is an earring. Men also flaunt tattoos in their body with their deities, names, shapes, figures, floral muftis, etc.

There are some other tribal communities as well residing in Rajasthan such as Sindhi-Muslims, Rajputs and Rabaris. Their dressing is almost similar to other tribes with different patterns of wearing.