Traditional attires tell the story of Nepal’s vast ethnic diversity
RINA KUMARI MANDAL
Traditional attires tell the story of ethnic diversity, art and culture tracing the timeline of the ethnic clothing dating back ages.
Nepal is a country with a wide range people and cultures that are deeply rooted in traditions and customs. The Daura Suruwal and Gunyu Cholo is the national costume of the country and are worn by Nepalis of all sections, class, and ethnicity especially at formal events. However there are many ethnic traditional costumes that are equally popular throughout the country.
1.Gunyo cholo and Daura surwal
Gunyo cholo and Daura surwal along with Dhaka topi is the national pride of Nepal. Daura’ is the upper body wear, whereas the ‘Suruwal’ is the trouser. The daura consists of eight strings to tie, known as Astamatrika Singini.
The Astamatrika Singini refers to the eight goddesses, namely Byagini, Barahi, Kumari, Brahmayani, Maheswari, Byasnabi, Indrayani, and Mahalaxmi.
Similarly Gunyo Cholo is worn by the women and consists of colorful saris and the wrap around cholo.
2.Haku Potasi and Tapalan
Newars, the ethnic group of the Kathmandu Valley have many different styles of dress, but one thing in common is the combination of black and red colors.
Haku Patasi meaning black and red is the woman’s dress. A black sari with the red borders compiled with a white patuka diagonally.
Tapalan is worn by men which is similar to the Nepali daura surwal but with a distinct fabric.
The ethnic tribes of the Terai, the Tharus have their own traditional costumes. The plain white sari called Nahagi along with ornaments like Nathiya, Kanphul, Hansuli, Kanthi, Matha adorn women of this ethnicity.
The major costumes of a Tharu man consist of a Mardani and Phad. When in Chitwan on a wildlife safaris visit and find out about the Tharu culture and their traditional wear.
4.Bakhu - the Sherpa dress
Similar to that of the Tibetan costume, the Bakhu is the traditional costume of the Sherpas who reside in the higher elevations of Nepal. Men wear Chhubas to the knee with a kind of jacket or shirt with a stiff high collar and extremely long sleeves, tetung.
Whereas women wear a sleeveless chubba called engi with the striped woolen aprons called pangi which also defines the marital status of the women.
Hats are an important part of the costume and are worn by both men and women.
While trekking in the Annapurna region one can see many people in colorful unique outfits. It’s the Gurung ethnic attire. Women wear a dark-colored sari with a bright yellow or blue cotton wrap around the waist along with the cholo and shawl that is worn diagonally.
Men wear a wrap knee kachhad (loincloth) with a short vest tied at the shoulders and a Dhaka topi on their heads.