The south Indian state of Karnataka is deeply rooted to their culture and traditions. This is clear through their way of life, language and the way they dress up. If you take a look at the way women and men of Karnataka dress up all you could think of is style, elegance, and gracefulness. The women add their own twist to the saree tying method that gives a whole new perspective to the traditional way of life. The men wear dhoti kurta while the women wear sarees, however the way they wear their clothing in a traditional manner is an interesting aspect of Karnataka traditional dresses. Although over the years the traditional clothes have seen some tweaks here and there, the overall attire still reflects dignity and respect towards their culture.
Here are the traditional dresses of Karnataka for men and women:
Kurtas for Women
Kurta is India’s universal traditional ethnic attire. It needs no introduction. People normally wear it in casual as well as formal settings. Cotton kurtas are incredibly comfortable and breezy that allows you to move around freely while also keeping you cool in the hot southern sun. There are designer kurtis also available here. Men also wear kurtas on top of either dhotis or pyjamas. The design of the kurtas makes it easy to spot traditional kurtas from Karnataka. The typical white dhoti with golden stripes on the front edge of the dhoti and kurta is the representative of traditional clothing here.
Panche or Dhoti
Lungis in south India is a traditional norm. Men wear lungis during almost every aspect of their life. Famous for being incredibly comfortable in the hot season, and available in a variety of designs, panche or the traditional Karnataka dhoti is very popular across India. Karnataka shares its boundaries with Kerala and Tamil Nadu which can be the reason behind the influence of this traditional attire. A traditional panche is normally worn with a shirt, kurta or some other Angavastram. If you are travelling to Karnataka then it would be a good idea to get yourself some traditional dhoti as a souvenir.
Mysore peta is not a sweet dish, it is actually a traditional, locally made hat or a headgear that is commonly worn among the local population of Mysore. It can be equalled to a pagdi worn by the Sikh people of north India but it has its own style and design that sets it apart from the regular traditional headgear. The peta is an integral part of traditional Karnataka dresses since the royal era of the state. There are various types of peta styles available but one thing that is common among each one of them is that they look incredibly elegant. Some of these petas are also adorned with artificial pearls and feathers.
When it comes to south Indian sarees, Kanchipuram is one type of saree that has garnered international attention. The elegantly designed sarees makes it the perfect traditional attire for women. The work on these sarees is done intricately and finely which makes it look even more grand with a touch of royalty. The saree’s signature is a broad border which is filled with very finely designed works of art. Other than the design it is the fabulously comfortable rich texture that makes it one of the most expensive sarees as well. The saree is so fabulous that women save it to wear during special occasions such as marriages or festivals.
When it comes to Kodagu sarees, it is not about the type or the print, it is all about the style in which the saree is draped. Kodagu sarees are very commonly available in the markets in Karnataka but the style of wearing it is what sets it apart. The simple-looking saree is worn by the women in the local communities residing here. Unlike the traditional saree-wearing style, the women make pleats of all the pallu on the back and then tie it all together. The pallu is then pinned on the shoulder part of the blouse. The sarees are generally made out of silk or cotton and the colour of the saree depends on the occasion. The saree draping style of Kodagu is very stylish and unique at the same time.
If you go back to learning about the history of Karnataka, you will be flooded with pictures of local women in Karnataka wearing the Ilkal Saree happily. The gowns were worn by the elite class. Ilkal is undoubtedly one of the most popular types of saree in the state that was originated and firstly worn by the women of the Bagalkot district. Other than the women, even young girls can be seen wearing this traditional attire. The pallu of this saree is covered in heavy prints and elaborate embroidery work. Women visiting the temples can be seen wearing this saree as a mandatory part of their culture.
Arani silk is one of the most traditional forms of silk sarees in Karnataka. This silk saree is lustrous in texture and extremely comfortable like cotton along with being extremely cost-effective. The saree is like a blessing in disguise during the sweltering hot summer days of south India. The fabric of Arani Silk sarees is very airy and works as the perfect solution against dripping sweat since it feels very smooth against the skin. If you are looking for a very decent alternative to the traditional silk sarees then arani silk will be the perfect choice.
Kodava Traditional Dress
Karnataka is known for being home to its multiple ethnicities with Coorg being one of the most interesting places to experience the real culture of Karnataka. Keeping this uniqueness alive, the traditional costume of the locals living in Coorg is also very distinctive from the others. Just one look at the costume will make sure that the person knows that they are from Kodava. For men the traditional costume includes Kupya ro a knee-length half-sleeved coat. The coat is tied at the waist with the help of a maroon and gold sash called chale. Weapons are also used to prop the whole costume together.
This is one of the most unique and rarely found sarees that is somewhere lost in the history of Karnataka. The extravagant saree is visually rustic and very vintage and a good quality of this saree can be found in very selective places. The saree gets its name from the Guledgudda town in the Bagalkot area of northern Karnataka. The Khana in the saree refers to the traditional blouse textile of the state. It was one of the most highly esteemed types of sarees found in Karnataka. The customary drape consists of a rich and smooth blend of hand spun and hand woven cotton and silk sarees. Intricate and highly vivid motifs and designs celebrating the culture and religious symbols are adorned all over the saree.
This half saree has to be one of the best ways of representing the impeccable blend of a modern twist to the traditional sarees. Langa davani is a traditional 2 piece saree that is originally worn by the young girls of south India. It is also given as a gift to young girls during their birthdays. The Davani Saree looks more like a Ghagra Choli to the layman’s eyes. It comprises a skirt which is secured with the help of a drawstring and a fine fabric around 2.4 metres in length which is referred to as a Davani, it is then attached to the skirt and tossed over the shoulder, replicating a pallu. Langa Davani is a lot simpler to drape as compared to a traditional saree wearing style.
Traditional Ornaments of Karnataka
The women of Karnataka love to adorn themselves in interesting and one of a kind jewellery to go along with their unique attire. The ornaments worn by the women here include the Nethi Chutti, that is worn on the forehead. A necklace called Mavinakayi Addigai, made out of gold and studded with red and green gems is also worn. This necklace is mainly worn by the brides who are about to get married and is considered to be one of the most significant items. Another type of necklace that is unique to Karnataka is called Laxmi Sara which is a gold necklace which is made up of small gold coins attached to it. Ornaments in Karnataka are taken very seriously. People also make their children wear Vyaghrasana nakhas which are in the form of a golden pendant.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. When Is The Best Time To Visit Karnataka?
Ans. October to March is the best time to visit Karnataka.
Q. Which Language Is Spoken In Karnataka?
Ans. Kannada is the local language spoken in Karnataka.
Q. What Are The Famous Foods In Karnataka?
Ans. Neer Dosa, Korri Gassi, Mysore Pak, Coorg Pandi Curry, Allugedda, Haalbai etc. are the famous foods of Karnataka.
Q. What Is Dhoti Called In Karnataka?
Ans. A dhoti in Karnataka is referred to as a Kachche Panche in Karnataka.
Q. What Souvenirs Can I Buy In Karnataka?
Ans. You can buy sandalwood products, Coorg Coffee and spices, Mysore Silk Sarees, rosewood inlay work painting etc.