West Bengal is a state of extremely rich culture and history. Every corner of the streets of West Bengal has a story to share. Not only has this land given us some of the most renowned names in the country, it also happens to be a place of strong civilisation.
The costume of West Bengal is known for its distinct features and is perhaps the most popular example of our culture.
The traditional dress of Bengali men is dhoti. The top or kurta that is paired with dhoti is called panjabi.
In earlier times and especially during British Era, the dhotis were synonymous with white color. However, these days, to add a twist to the attire the dhoti is made available in number of attractive colors.
The panjabis or the kurtas are usually made of silk or cotton and run up to knee length.
The lungi happens to be another variation of the men’s costume. However that is more of an informal casual indoor wear.
Saree is the signature traditional attire for the women in West Bengal. The saree captures the very essence of the culturally infused state West Bengal is. Even the saree draping style of Bengali women is quite distinct and has become more of a distinguishing feature now. Sarees are primarily woven in cotton and silk which have been named chiefly after their weaving techniques. The traditional weavers or Tantis of West Bengal are reputed worldwide because of the quality of fabric spun and their elaborate thread work. In various districts of Bengal like Murshidabad, Malda, Nadia, Birbhum, Bankura and Hooghly, different varieties of Sarees are woven with supreme efficiency and dedication.
The jewellery of West Bengal just like its rituals and customs imbibes beauty, traditions and modernity beautifully. It is a pure mesmerising sight! It keeps the cultural ethnicity of the state intact.
The traditional jewellery comprises a pati haar which is a heavy studded necklace. Primarily, the Bengali ornaments are made of gold and precious stones.
Jhumko is the well crafted, intricately designed earrings which usually have beautiful floral motifs. Nath or the nose ring is like the regular nath of North India except that is hoop like in its size. Choker is a small necklace that fits just around the neck.
Chur is the traditional gold bangle of West Bengal which is exclusively made of pure gold, sometimes weighing upto 50 grams.
Modernisation of the Traditional Attire
These days, with a whiff of fashion plaguing everyone and everything, the traditional costume of Bengal too is somewhere losing its mass presence. Western outfits and other alternatives are replacing them. What used to be there everyday clothing is now restricted to special occasions and festivals only. Thanks to Bollywood and their obsession with the Bengali culture, these costumes are still very much in demand.
But all said, the cultural costumes of Bengal have hugely been responsible for keeping the heritage of the state intact and will remain so for many generations to come!