Meghalaya is known to be one of the most beautiful states of North Eastern India. The state has a very peaceful atmosphere and a serene environment to offer and is home to a number of tribes such as Garo, Khasi and Jaintia. The rituals, identity and traditions of any state are very well represented by the dresses worn by the people living there, and this is particularly the case for in the case of Meghalaya. There is a simplicity in the dressing style of the people here which brings out the beauty of the place even more. As most of you must have guessed by now, this article comprises of all the traditional dresses worn by men as well as women in Meghalaya which are given as below-
For women, the traditional costume is known as Jainsen. This unstitched garment is made of mulberry silk and is worn around the body. The mulberry silk is cultivated in Meghalaya locally. Endi Shawl is another important costume of the region is also made up of silk.
The clothes worn by the Garo tribe varies on the basis of the place of residence of the people. Women who belong to faraway villages of Garo hills wear eking which is a small cloth worn around the waist. Garo women who stay in either densely populated or crowded places wear long dresses which are made up of cotton. The women belonging to this tribe wear a blouse along with a hand made lungi called Dakmanda, which is wrapped around the waist. The Dakmanda possesses broad borders around 6 to 10 inches thick with floral patterns adorned on them.
Women belonging to the tribe of Khasi wear a Jainsen along with a blouse. This Jainsen covers their body right from the waist down till the ankles. On top of these dresses, tap-moh khlieh which is a cotton shawl is worn which is representative of an apron. Women wear a long Assam Muga silk piece in the form of a dress during Ka Jainsem Dhara. The senior women of the tribe wear Jainkup which is made up of woollen cloth. Women belonging to the Khasi tribe also wear accessories with the dresses which compliment the costume beautifully. These accessories include ornaments made up of pure gold or silver. During Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem which is a festival of the Khasis, female dancers wear a cloth which is draped right from the waist up till the ankle. This is worn with a blouse having full sleeves having beautiful lacework around the neck. The dress comprises of two rectangular pieces of cloth which are embroidered with gold threads fixed in a crosswise fashion, one of it overlapping the other. Accessories include a necklace made up of red coral and beads covered in foil, golden earrings and a golden or silver crown consisting of silver threads in the back of it.
Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem is another Khasi festival during which unmarried girls wear costumes which are pleasing to the eyes paired with golden or silver crowns with yellow flowers placed on them.
Women belonging to this tribe have a traditional style of clothes in comparison to other tribes. They use a Kyrshah which is a small piece of cloth having checks on it to cover their heads post harvest season. They cover their bodies with a velvet blouse and an ankle length sarong known as Thoh Khyrwang.
The females of the tribe wear a cape like cloth made up of Assam muga silk. The men and women belonging to the Jaintia tribe dress up in ostentatious and splendid costumes during festivals. The women accessorise their costumes with silver and gold ornaments. Kynjri Ksiar is a unique gold pendant which is adorned by the women belonging to the Khasi and Jaintia tribes.
Men belonging to the Garo tribe wear a loincloth as their traditional dress. The men of the Khasi Tribe wear a long cloth around their waist which is unstitched. This long cloth has a lot of similarity to a Dhoti which can be worn along with a jacket, turban or some other kind of headgear. During the festival of Ka Shad Suk Mynsie, male dancers wear a beautiful turban made up of silk along with a golden or silver plate semi-circular in shape which can be worn around the neck. Along with this, a jacket which is intricately embroidered too is worn. During the dancing rituals of Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem festivities, men carry a sword in one hand and hair whisk of a yak in the other. A lot of similarities can be found out amongst the Jaintia as well as Khasi tribes in terms of their clothing.
Amidst the kind of westernisation that has spread all across the world, the state of Meghalaya seems to stand unaffected by this trend. The ethnic and traditional style of the clothes worn here is what defines the exquisiteness of the state. People here are proud of their costumes which is why they are not afraid of showcasing them to the world. One should surely visit the place to experience its culture and learn some more about the state which is still driven by its traditions and also imbibes them in all that it does.