Traditional costumes of different tribes of Assam


10th Jan, 2011



Assam is known for its natural beauty, cultural richness and diversity. Assam has a rich legacy of culture and civilization behind her. Assam is a multi-ethnic society. Various communities of Assam speak forty-Five different languages. Home to different races of men - Austric, Mongolian, Dravidian, and Aryan, who came to dwell in these hills at different points of time, Assam has developed a composite culture of variegated colour. Assam is the homeland of various tribes. All the tribes of Assam have their own culture and tradition and they all have their particular dress habit.  


Costumes of Bodos  

Dresses of the Bodo tribal community is quite exquisite, thereby, exhilarating the beauty and glamour of females to a wide extent. Bodos wear the traditional, colourful and home woven beautiful dresses. The conventional dress of a Bodo female is popularly known as Dokhna. Men use dhoti and Chaddars. In winter, they wear thickly woven endi Chaddars.


Costumes of Karbis

The costume wear by the Karbi tribes are very beautiful. The traditional dresses of Karbis are also very durable. The male folk of Karbi generally wear two types of shirts. Costume wear by the aged men are called Soinangpo and costume wear by the young men are called Saihathor. The man used traditionally a loincloth named Rikong.  their traditional turban is known as Poho.

Karbi women wear a short Mekhola or a piece of cloth known as Pinicamflak. The upper part of the body is covered by one another piece of cloth named Jar-ek. The artistic waistband used by the women is known as Wanpo. Karbi women used colourfully embroidered scarf of endi called Kanjari.  

Costumes of Dimasa kocharis

The men and women of Dimasa used to wear cloths, which are produced in looms of household. A Dimasa woman covers herself in a skirt-like attire, known as the as Rigu made of silk or endi, topped by an embellished vest-like cloth, called Rijamphai. While dancing they used to wear Rikhaosa. The costume worn by the Dimasa men is deep green in colour named as Rica or Dhuni. They wear artistic scarf known as Rinsaso. He also attaches on his head, a turban woven from pure cotton or Endi, which is 19 meters in length. In the festival Busu the male both young and old wear Dhuti.

Costumes of Mech Kachcharis

The dresses of Mech people are very simple. They used to wear hand spun and hand woven simple dresses. Men wear dhoti, turban and endi shawl or chaddar. Women used to wear dress like Assamese Mekhela Chaddar but simpler than their Assamese counter parts. Their dresses even during festival are also simple.

Costumes of Thai Phakes

The costume of the Thai Phake tribe stands illuminated with respect to its attractive charm. The dress of the people of this tribe includes articles of personal clothing used mainly for covering. The Phakes wear two kinds of dress namely general dress for every day use and special dress for particular occasions. A Thai Phake woman uses a striped girdle, called Chin, which stretches from the waist down to the ankles. There exists a cloth belt encircling her waist. It is called Chairchin. It has a width of about 6 cm and a length of 1.5 m. To cover the upper half of the body, the women use a long stripped cloth called Fa Nangwait, of about 2.3 meters long and 1 meter wide.  Young girls resort same upper-cloth structure, with the only difference being in size. It is called Fafek. Wearing a Fafek is a sigh of unprepared ness for marriage. The Thai Phake women are inclined towards beautification of themselves. They enhance their prettiness, by wearing multicolored blouse, called Chekhamchum. While attending invitation or paying visit to far-flung places, they flaunt themselves in dignified white shawl-like cloth called Chaddar. At times of wedding, this Chaddar acts as the customary veil to the bride.

The dress of the elderly male is generally house woven checkered lungi (Fatong) of green and black color lined with red, yellow or white yarn, one genji, one shirt (Sho) of mill made cloth purchased from the market and a white turban (Fa Ho Ho). The elderly people wear a white chaddar (about 2 meters long and 1 meter wide) with a plain border (Fa Fek Mai) and white long sleeved shirt when they go to the Vihar or to any distant places. In the congregational prayer, every one, except the boys and girls below the age of 10 years, wears the chaddar.

Costumes of Rabhas


The Rabha costume is distinctive, woven by women on the back-strap loom, locally called koum kontong. The colorful costume consists of the lufung, a wrap around skirt, which developed from a length of cloth that women would simply drape around their waists. A kambang covers the upper part of the body in the nature of a stole. With the advent of mill-made cloth, Rabha women have also taken to wear colorful blouses that are tailored by them. The women also wear a delicate belt made of several, small conch shells or pearl balls around their abdomen, called labok.

The kambang is comes in two distinctive styles: that with an elaborate design woven in the centre is called kambang phakchek, whereas that with a plain central portion is called kambang sukal. Motifs on the kambang phakchck include maisunukumphanni (nose of deer), maikardawin (paddy husk), lepmukh (hand fan with a floral design), mararnukar (tigerís eye) and pusumkar (jackfruit).

Costumes of Mishing Tribes

 The costumes of Mishing tribe are interesting. Women wore Sampa around the west. Married women wear an additional piece of cloths around the hip. The upper portion of the body covered by Galuk. The headdress of the women named as Hura. Women wear a self-woven lion cloth, which is known as Gaseng. . The upper garment is known as Kebbung, covered round just below the shoulders. Beautiful shawls or Ribi Gaseng is used mainly during the winter season and in some celebrations.

Male dresses are almost alike the Assamese with white dhoti as the lower garment, a white bush shirt or kurta as the upper garment and with a turban on the head. However, these people differentiate themselves by wearing a cover coat with parallel and stripe design known as Mibu Galuk.

Costumes of Deori Tribes

A Deori male uses a loincloth called Ikho while they stay at home and the Ikho usually combines with a shirt or sporting. While going out of their home or village they generally use trousers and shirt. They adorns white cloth and use a necklace (called Konthamoni) while they take part in traditional social function. The Deori women wrap up a kind of skirt (called Igo, which hangs loosely down wrapping tightly the breast) along with a sheet called Jakashiba, which is enclosed in the waist. However, they sometimes wear Riha (a traditional outfit, sheet) and it is called Tegihra . Particular to Deori women, they use a towel (Gamucha) to cover their head, which is known as Gathiki . It is a peculiar dress code of Deori woman.