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Home > Indian Traditional Costumes > West India > Maharashtra
Maharashtra Traditional Costume

MaharashtraFor Men: Dhoti, Shirt With A headdress Pheta
For Women: Sari & Choli or Blouse

Mens Attire
In Maharashtra, men wear dhoti and shirt with a headdress known as the "Pheta", and women wear sari with a short-sleeved `Choli` (blouse). The sari is 9m long and is worn tucked between the legs.

The dhoti is a fine cotton cloth of about two and half to three metres long, with or without borders on both the sides. The headdress is a folded cap of cotton, silk or woolen fabric, or a freshly folded turban known as `Rumal`, `Patka` or `Pheta`. The pre-formed turban known as "Pagadi" is now rarely to be seen. Sometimes a waistcoat or jacket known as "Bandi" is also worn over a shirt.

The Maratha Brahmans are very particular about the securing of their dhoti, which always had to have five tucks, three into the waistband at the two sides and in front, while the loose end is tucked in front and behind. Once Nagpur hand-made dhotis were famous for their durability.

Among the urbanite young men the use of dhoti is practically getting extinct; it is in some evidence among the middle-aged. The Sendhi or scalplock is long discarded and they cut their hair short in imitation of the European.

Women`s AttireWomen`s Attire
Maharashtrian women wear the Maratha `Sadi` (saree) of nine yards and a short-sleeved `Choli` (blouse) covering only about half the length of the back. The nine yards Sadi is generally worn by elderly ladies and is known as "Lugade" or Sadi in Marathi.

It is forty-five to forty-two inches in width and it has two lengthwise borders `Kanth` or `Kinar`, and also two `Breadthwise` borders, `Padar`, at the two ends, of which one is more decorated than the other. The mode of wearing the Lugade by Maratha Brahmans and other classes is with the hind pleats tucked into the waist at the back-centre and the decorated end (padar) thrown over the left shoulder. Maratha ladies allow it to hang form the waist down straight and round like a skirt and draw its end, which covers the bosom and back over the head.

Sadis of five or six yards in length have now become fashionable among young ladies in the urban centres. These are worn cylindrically over a "Parkar" or "Ghagara" also called petticoat. The old fashioned Choli is also discarded by them, and the use of blouses, polkas, and jumpers has become quite common. A reversion to new type of Cholis in the form of blouses with low cut necks and close-fitting sleeves up to the elbow is noticed now a days.

Women living in cities have become more westernised and working women these days wear `Chudidars`, pants, and skirts, which are more comfortable. With Bollywood in Mumbai, the city is the center of fashion and one can find the latest designs over here.

One of the most commonly worn traditional dresses, it is essentially a rectangular cloth measuring about 6 yards, though in Maharashtra, women wear the nine yard sari which is passed through the legs and tucked in at the back. The sari comes in a profusion of colours, textures and designs, determined largely by the region. There are several ways of draping a sari, which is first wound around the waist, before being pleated seven or eight times at the centre and tucked into the waistband. These pleats are called the patli. The remaining sari, called the pallu is then pleated again and draped across the left shoulder to fall gracefully behind. There are regional variations, like in Gujarat, the pallu comes from the back, and drapes across the front over the right shoulder. The sari is worn with a tight-fitting choli or blouse. The style and length of the choli varies according to fashion trends and from region to region.

Costumes Worn on Festive Occasions
Though there is no special holiday dress on festivals or on days of family rejoicing, all who can afford it put on richer and better clothes than those ordinarily worn. For ceremonial occasions men prefer to dress after Indian style in a spacious looking long coat, called "Ackan", and "Chudidar Pyjama" or "Survar" slightly gathered at the ankles-end with bracelet-like horizontal folds. A folded woolen or a silk cap and "Cadhav" or pump-shoes perfects the ensemble.

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