Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Costumes of Kashmir

For many years Kashmiri men and women have worn the same style of dress. The Handicrafts & Textiles of Kashmir people is famous all over the world. The Pheran and `Poots` consist of two gowns, one on top of the other, falling to the feet in the case of a Hindu, worn up to the knees by a Muslim. Hindus wear them narrow with turned up ends. Traditionally there was a brightly colored design on the outside, with Yak or goatskin on the inside to keep the wearer warm. This has now been changed by fashion to a simple ornament of brightly colored material, although in winter many women still wear the goatskin for warmth. A Muslim woman`s pheran is knee-length, loose and embroidered in front and on the edges, a Hindu woman`s pheran touches her feet.

The long loose sleeves are fashionably decorated with brocade. With this type of Hindu costume goes the headdress called taranga, which is tied to a hanging cap and tapers down to the heels from behind. The younger Hindu women however have taken to the sari, after the reform movement of the thirties. Even then, on the wedding day they have to wear the taranga ceremonially. It is covered with the palav of the brides wedding sari. Taranga thus stays as part of the bridal trousseau.

Costumes of KashmirUnlike a Hindu woman`s pheran, which gives her a Roman look, the Muslim woman`s pheran is beautifully embroidered in front. Their headgear, the Kasaba, looks very different from the taranga. It is red in color, tied turban-like and held tight by an abundance of silver pins and trinkets. It has an overhanging pin-scarf, which falls grace fully over the shoulders. A work-a-day shalwar goes with it. Unmarried Muslim girls wear skullcaps, embroidered with gold thread and embellished with silver pendants, trinkets and amulets. With the passage of years, an appreciable change has come about in the dress of the Kashmiri women. Saris, shalwar-kameez, churidars and jeans are becoming popular, yet none of these belong to them as much as the good old pheran.

Gujjars: The hilly people of Kashmir are called Gujjars. The dress of a Gujjar woman of the hills in the valley is very much similar to that worn by the Turkish village women. It consists of as plenty shalwar and full-skirted tunic with loose sleeves. A thick covering on the head falls back to the shoulders. The Gujjar woman joins her hair in multiple plaits, which hang in front, covering half of their moon-shaped faces.

Dogra DressDogras: Diverse castes and sects inhabit Jammu province. The Dogras inhabiting the hilly tract bounding the mountains of the Kashmir valley generally are dressed in grey woolens and loose pyjamas, they also flaunt a kamarband. Women wear long, loose tunics, close-fitting chudidars and dupatta or cap to complete their charming ensemble.

LadakhiLadakhi: Ladakh is a part of the state Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakh is known as the `land of the Lamas` and the Buddhist of Ladakh prefers to call their religion Lamaism, which is much the same as Mahayana (or Great vehicle) form of Buddhism.

Women`s Clothing: Women wear a similar robe called a "Kuntop" but on their backs they add a colorful shawl, the "Bok" in which a baby or parcels can easily be carried. It used to be worn for warmness and a protection on the back against heavy loads of sticks and rocks.

Men`s Clothing: Men traditionally wear bulky woolen robe called "Goucha", fastened at the neck, under the armpit and tied at the waist with a colorful sash known as a "Skerag". The Skerag is about two meters long and 20 cm wide, wound round and round and tucked in. In this sash men carry the small essentials of Ladakhi life.