Nagaland Traditional Dresses

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The traditional costumes worn in Nagaland are a lot different from the other states of India. The inhabitants of the state give a lot of weight age to their culture, traditions, and costumes and feel that costumes are what identifies them and separate them from the rest of the crowd. The dresses that people wear here are colourful and vibrant. An important item which the people of Nagaland adorn is a shawl. The beautiful shawls are amongst the most popular traditional dresses of the place. These shawls are separately designed for every tribe to be able to differentiate between them easily.  These categories are further divided into categories and sub-categories narrowing down the designs for each one of them. The shawl is also different as per the role of the person. For example, a person who has carried out any work which is merit worthy will have a separate shawl as compared to an ordinary man residing in the village.< Classification of Nagaland Traditional Dresses on the basis of tribes:

Angami Tribe

The pattern is common amongst all the dresses of Angamis which is bands coloured red and yellow on top of a black cloth named Lohe. The Angami villages which lie in the western regions, however, have a different and differentiating pattern.

Nagaland dresses
Lohe - Traditional Shawl Of Angami Tribe  (Source)


Lothas have a separate distinction of shawls on the basis of the number of gennas which are performed by the one wearing it. Thereby, a person who has performed the first genna wears a shawl known as phangrhup, the stripes of which widen after the second genna is performed by the person. After the third genna is performed, the man can wear ethasu. Following this, if the series of feasts which needs to be completed is performed, and the stone-dragging is over with, the man is liable to wear lungpensu. Lungpensu is a dark blue cloth with five light blue coloured stripes on it with narrow stripes on both the sides.
Nagaland dresses
Lotha Girls (Source)


Nagaland dresses

Other Traditional Dresses of Nagaland


It is an Ao warrior shawl which has a variety of figures including those of Tiger, Mithun, elephant, cock, a human head, and spear on top of it. The shawl is beautiful and attractive. The figures present on top of the shawl represent some symbol such as Mithun stands for the wealth of the person wearing it, elephant and tiger represent the ability of the person to hunt, and the human head stands for the success of the wearer in taking the number of heads. The patterns are black in colour and are present on top of a white band. The cloth on top of which the patterns are made is dark blue in colour.

Nagaland dress
Tsungkotepsu (Source)
Nagaland dresses

Changs (Shawls)

Kaksi nei is the dress worn by unmarried boys as well as girls. A newly married couple wears the Silang nei. Tobu nei is a different kind of Chang shawl which has zig-zag patterns of red and black colours alternately on a blue band. Yimchunger shawl is another variety of shawls which are really popular and are Aneak Khim that is black and Mokhok Khim that is white.  Another shawl called Rongkhim which is a kind of Yimchunger shawl is worn by a person who has killed and taken heads during wars. The shawl has a red design which is rectangular in shape, the red color denoting the blood of the enemy. Earlier, by just taking a look at the shawl of the one wearing it, a person could identify his tribe, social status, the village of residence and the number of gennas performed by him. However, in today's scenario, it is not really possible.


Kilt is another commonly worn dress apart from the shawl. A kilt is denoted as the working dress which is usually black. It is intricately designed with cowries which make it appear like a male dress. Before the cowries are designed on the kilt, they are rubbed on a stone so as to make them stick well on the cloth. The man who uses the kilt is the one to sew it. Nobody else including the wife or any other person is allowed to do it for him. The cowries designed on top of kilt are quite popular amongst the Nagas and is symbolic of the success of the wearer in love as well as in war.

Nagaland dresses
Thadou Dress (Source)

Women wear dresses which have a length of a quarter meter and are wrapped around the waist tightly. Shirts too are available in numerous varieties and are worn as per the clan that the woman belongs to. The skirts which have red and yellow stripes on them are especially worn to mark special occasions and are known as Azu Jangnup Su. Women belonging to the Angami tribe wear a skirt made up of blue cloth as well as white cloth. There are thick black bands on the margins of the white cloth which vary in breadth. They also wear Mechala which can be wrapped around the skirt and worn along with a shawl.  Men, on the other hand, wear the dress with a similar style along with ornaments, bangles, pendants; bracelets etc which give a religious look altogether. Women of Nagaland also wear another dress known as Neikhro which have a design resembling a petticoat. The uniqueness lies in the colour and pattern of these costumes. Another costume worn by the men of Nagaland is Rhikho. Only those men who have not yet been able to offer a great feast or have not been able to kill/defeat any big enemy wear this costume. The cloth is white in colour and has four bands of black colour attached to it.

Moyer Tusk is a cloth which is ordinary and is dark blue in colour. It has a band with zigzag patterns at the end of the cloth. Alungstu is also a traditional costume of Nagaland which is worn by the rich men of the place. These costumes depict prosperity and success. The cloth is dyed in yellow colour and also has flowers on it. These dress designs have been made by the people belonging to the tribe only.

So to conclude it all, one must surely pay a visit to the place and experience its amazing culture and the traditions followed there. The dress is what identifies the people of a place distinctly and the residents of the place surely believe it and live it.

Read More About Nagaland-
The Mojo Of Nagaland Culture
Historical Places in Nagaland
Food of Nagaland

This post was published by Saumya Bansal

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