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Dress and Ornaments


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Each region of Chamba district has its own peculiar and characteristic costumes and ornaments which are described below.

Chamba (Sadar) Tehsil

The people in the town wear a Varity of dress but there has been a traditional dress of Chamba. Among the Hindus, there is an old style angrakha which is an long tunic reaching below the knees, with a cloth waist-band, tight pyjama and a small pagri set on the top of the head. The Hindus women wear a gown with a short bodice reaching to the waist and below this the shirt falls away in numerous folds almost touching the ground. This is called pashwaj and is worn only on special occasions. For ordinary wear, a pairahan is used. On the head a chadar or dupatta of any make is worn. Pyjama called suthan is also worn.

The Mohammedan women wear the same sort of dress, but it is not so long, nor so heavy and some wear a short tunic reaching only to the knees. Under the bodice is a small vest called angi, and some wear a small shirt or kurta.


The inhabitants of Bharmaur are the Gaddis, a semi-nomadic tribe. Their dress is markedly different as compared to other areas. The head-dress is markedly different as compared to other areas. The head-dress of a man is a cap called top with a peak-like projection and flaps round the margin. The peak of the cap is said to represent the Kalish peak, the abode of Lord Shiva. The flaps are used to cover the ears during cold weather. The front of the cap is adorned with dried flowers, a tuft of features or a string of beads.

On the body, a loosely-sewn pattu (hand-spun coat) popularly called chola is worn reaching below the knees. It has a deep collar which hangs loose in two lappets in front. The chola is tightened round the waist by means of black cord called dora made of sheep’s wool which may run into 60 meter length. The coat is loose over the waist-band (dora) and on this receptacle the Gaddis stow many of their belongings including lambs. On migration march of the Gaddies we can have glimpse of lambs nestling in the pockets of their chola. The legs are generally bare but many were pattu pyjamas. From the gridle hangs a knife, a flute box and steel for striking a light and a small leather bag used to keep money. Shoes generally made of leather are the footwear used.

The chief ornament is the tabit, a square silver plate of varying size covered with carving and hung from the neck. They also wear nanti, a small ear-ring made of gold.

The Gaddi women wear a dress similar to that of men made of pattu and is called cholu. It hangs straight like a gown from the neck to the ankles and round the waist is black woolen cord called dora which may run into length of 50 meters.

Bhattiyat and Dalhousie

In Bhattiyat tehsil, the people wear almost the same dress as the people of adjoining district of Kangra. Shirt and pyjama usually made of cotton cloth, a patti coat and safa or turban as head-dress constitute the traditional dress for men. The shirt, salwar and dupatta is the traditional dress of women. There is sizeable population of the Gaddis also inhabiting this tehsil who wear the same dress as is worn by their counterparts in Bharmaur. Gorkha families which largely inhabit Bakloh area have imbibed almost the local dress. Some Gorkha men however wear typical Nepali cap, and women are generally attired in saris of different hues.

The usual male ornaments are nanti (a small ear ring made of gold), bala (a big ear-ring in the central portion of the ear, buttons and studs made of silver, finger rings made either of gold and silver.

 The female ornaments comprise of chaunk for the head made of silver, bandiyan (a chain-shaped ornament put on the forehead and fastened with a chain barbed in the hair), pher i.e. ear-rings six for each ear, balu (nose ring generally made of gold) laung, phulli and koka for nose, galbhiri mala, lachha and har for the neck, toka for the wrist, bangles made of silver for wrist, pajeb and jhanjhar for ankles.

The men wear a coat of patti similar in some respects to that of the Gaddis, but not so long nor so well-finished. The dora is not worn and instead a cloth waist-band (kamarband) is some times worn. On the head is a round cap or a pagri. The pyjamas usually made of woolen cloth are large above, and tight on the legs and ankles but not puckered up into folds.

The women wear on their heads a small flat cloth cap called joji with a long tail hanging down the back and for the body a short bodice, named choli, reaching to the waist. The lower garment is a blanket fixed round the waist with a cloth kamarband.

The ornaments worn are bali for the ear, balu for nose, lace for neck, jinjiri for forehead. Besides, armlets and anklets are also worn.



Pangwals wear pattu coat reaching to the knees with a kamarband of cloth, the pyjamas are also made of pattu, loose above and tight below, with puckers. A small cotton cap on head, and grass shoes called pullan on the feet. A blanket is used like a plaid in cold weather and pattu socks in winter.

The traditional dress of women consists of one blanket, which is wound round the body in a peculiar style. One end is brought over the left shoulder and the blanket is then passed behind the back, under the right arm and across the breast where it is fixed to the end hanging over the left shoulder by a large brass pin. The ends hang down in front from each shoulder. In the winter a second blanket is worn over the one in the same fashion. A joli usually made of satin, velvet or silk is worn on the head. It is a sort of a flat cloth cap with a long tail hanging down the back. It is fixed in the center or at the side of the head and appeals well in either posture.

The ornaments put on by the males and females are practically the same as in Churah through with different nomenclature. For instance, the balu ornament for nose is called karu, while nanti ornament for the ear of men is called murki.

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