The Vibrant Traditional Dresses of Tamil Nadu Reflecting the Tamil Culture!


Image – FrogStarB/Flickr

Tamil Nadu is a state renowned for its art, culture, cuisine, beaches, hill stations, temples, pilgrimage sites, and mesmerizing views. This is a state that has truly a lot to offer. Prominent among this list is the vivacious attire donned by the natives of the state. The traditional dress symbolizes the rich heritage and beauty of the place. The traditional dresses of Tamil Nadu are made from myriad materials such as cotton, georgette, and various types of silk-like crepe silk, organza, pattola silk, and micro silk, just to name a few.

Traditional Attire for Tamilian Women

Image – Sabesh Photography

A saree is the spirit of the attire of a modern Indian woman. The same remains true for the southernmost state of our country. Women dress in truly simplistic yet elegant sarees which form their daily wear. Due to the high temperatures of the place, most women prefer to wear cotton sarees. The sarees of Tamil Nadu are especially exquisite and have an intricate zari border that only adds to their charm. 

One such saree in Kanchipuram, which is renowned for its style and its texture as well as colour usually differs from the sarees that are found in North India and the length ranges from between five yards to six yards. Young girls, furthermore, wear beautiful half-sarees or as commonly referred to as pavada. 

Apart from that, another popular traditional dress remains the classic combination of a full-length skirt, paired with a short blouse and a shawl that is known as davani which is donned by young Tamilian girls. In some parts of the state, due to the advent of modernization, prevalent attire is skirts, suits, salwar kameez due to a certain level of influence from the style of dressing in northern India and other modern articles of clothing such as dresses, jeans, shirts, just to name a few.

Traditional Attire for Tamilian Men

Image – Agence Tophos/Flickr

A lungi is primarily the traditional dress for men in Tamil Nadu. A lungi is nothing but a rectangular piece of cloth that is wrapped around your legs and thighs. They customarily wear white or pastel colours but today, lungis are available in all shades as well as sizes. It is chiefly made from cotton and is perfect for any occasion- from daily wear to marriages and festivals. Along with it, the men wear a shirt over which goes a shawl that goes over their shoulders which is referred to as Angavastram. In earlier times, it was utilized as the upper wear but now is worn with a shirt. Again, the younger generation prefers going with a more modern choice such as jeans, trousers, and shirts.

The Tamilian Wedding Attire

Traditional-Dress of-Tamil-Nadu
Tamilian Wedding – FrogStarB via Flickr

The weddings of Tamil Nadu are nothing if not an extravagant affair. The women look gorgeous wearing silk sarees. Generally, they dress in Kanchipuram sarees with a lovely zari border and vibrant colours or sarees made from Madurai silk whose texture is out of the world. The sarees that are worn by them during their wedding are comparatively longer ranging from 8 to 9 yards. Apart from that, the women pair up with their outfit with magnificent jewellery which is generally passed down from generation to generation, adding to its significance.

A two-piece garment known as Veshti and Angavastram is traditionally worn by the Tamil groom. Both are made of puttu or silk. Veshti refers to the lower half of the clothing that the groom wears as a dhoti, or just as a lungi. He might also don a basic white shirt or the Salvai, which is covered by the angavastram. He also wears a particular headwear, which is almost like a turban, called Thalaip.

Both the bride and groom, additionally, wear a wreath over their necks and the women add to their stunning look by accessorizing their hair with the most wonderful flowers as well as gold jewellery.

Traditional Tamilian Fashion Accessories

Image – michael_swan/Flickr

As aforementioned, the women of Tamil Nadu look gorgeous when they don upon their hair a beautiful garland made from fresh flowers giving them a naturalistic look. These flowers are commonly referred to as ‘Gajra’. 

Another popular accessory in Tamil Nadu is the infamous gold jewellery. Being a state that is known for its inhabitants’ possession of gold, it is natural for it to be prevalent in the state. The women look striking wearing exquisite gold jewellery such as necklaces, bracelets, bangles, earrings, payals, and maang-tikas. Some prominent pieces include the oddiyanam which is a gold belt that ties a saree together, vanki which is a lovely armlet customarily worn on the upper arm, thodu which are studded earrings, and many more. 

The entire look is tied together by women the application of kum-kum on their feet and forehead. Men, on the other hand, usually put on vibhuti and sandal paste on their foreheads.

Traditional Dresses of Tamil Nadu-Gold Belt

With the rise of urbanization, many people in Tamil Nadu have switched to jeans and shirts for daily wear, but when it comes to celebration, old is gold and everyone looks beautiful in their traditional attire. The preservation of culture and heritage in this state that can be seen is impeccable and the continued efforts from the people are the primary reason behind it. Even something as minor as choosing to dress in lungi or a saree creates a bigger impact than you may realize at the moment because it goes a long way.

A noteworthy point to further consider is the unity in our country despite differences in various fields that we do not just tolerate but accept and embrace. Tamil Nadu and almost all other states of our country have their dresses and accessories that are popular in that particular region and therefore, it is absolutely beautiful that even in all this cultural diversity, we are still united and that’s one of India’s best qualities which is why the summation of the culture as unity in diversity is perfect. It was best put by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.

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