Maharashtra is India's Marathi-speaking region to the south of Gujarat. The state has a large land area and a diverse way of life. The Hindu religion is practised by more than 85 percent of the population. As a result, Maharashtra's basic costume is similar to that of Hindus in other states. The traditional men's costume consists of an upper garment called 'SADARA' and a lower garment called 'DHOTI.'The traditional costume for women is a 'NINE YARD SARI' called 'LUGADE,' which is wrapped around the body in a very traditional way and is unique to Maharashtra and not seen in other northern states. This LUGADE is worn with a short length bodice called a 'POLKA/CHOLI,' which is made or sewn in a distinctive style.
The costumes vary in style depending on the state's various communities. In terms of costumes, the major communities can be divided into the following groups.
2. Maratha - Aristocratic farmers.
3. Farmers, both middle and lower class.
5. Various Nomads.
Maharashtra Men's Costume:-
1) Brahmin Men:
1. BARABANDI- a traditional upper garment worn by brahmin men. It's an overlapping white cotton shirt with six pairs of strings on one side for fastening. It is a loose garment that is fastened in the front with strings. This garment is made of fine cotton, such as mul-mul, cambric, and is always white in colour.
Many men wear a western-style coat over their Barabandi because of the British influence during the British era.
Barabandi was a popular garment in the past. Nowadays, it is only seen in historical plays or theatre arts.
On traditional occasions, a modern Brahmin man prefers to wear a Sadara or Zabba, which is a loose, long-sleeved cotton or silk shirt. Today, he wears a Shirt/T-Shirt and western-style trousers on a daily basis.
2. DHOTAR - A dhotar is a Maharashtrian men's unstitched lower garment. It is a cloth that is 50" wide and 5 metres long. This is wrapped around the waist in a distinctive manner. The cloth is wrapped around the waist and knotted. The pleats are then made to a specific length and tucked in.
The pleats' bottom side is spread out, and the pleated fabric's central point is pulled backwards between the legs and tucked at the back waist. The method of tying the Dhotar allows for a great deal of freedom of movement and comfort. Dhotars are always white and made of cotton mul-mul fabric. It could have a decorative woven border.
Brahmin men are required to wear a 'Sovale' while performing religious rituals. Sovale is similar to Dhotar, but it is made of pure silk. It comes in pink, yellow, purple, orange, and maroon.
3. PAGDI - This is a traditional Brahmin headgear. It is a silken headgear with decorative stitching. It is available in red or dark red. On the pagdi, a gold or silver brooch studded with precious stones can be worn. In the historical city of 'Pune,' a 'Puneri Pagdi' was a distinctive headgear worn by all brahmin men.
4. UPARNE - A type of scarf that is worn over the shoulder. It is woven from silk or cotton and features traditional small border designs along the sides.
2) MARATHA MEN - Affluent class:
This is the group of people who are interested in agriculture. This community played an important role in the state's and country's political history. With a few exceptions, the costumes are similar to those of the Brahmins.
1. Sadara - This is a knee-length, half-sleeved or full-sleeved shirt. It has a short front opening with button fasteners. It has a collar, but it is sometimes stitched without one. Typically made in soft cotton or silk materials in pastel shades or pure white. Sadara is frequently made from 'Khadi,' a hand spun and hand woven cotton fabric.
2. Dhotar - As previously described, this is the lower garment. It has small coloured or figured borders that run the length of it. Dhotar comes in several varieties, including Karvatkathi, Ruiphuli, and Bajiraodhotarjodi.
3. Angarkha - A coat-like overgarment worn over a Kurta or Sadara. Royal families used to wear beautifully designed Angarkhas as coats.
4. Pheta, Patka - These are newly folded Turbans or headgear worn by Marathas. These are folded over the head with the assistance of a piece of cloth about a foot wide and 15-20 feet long. One end of this stands erect on the head, resembling a feather, and the other end is sometimes left over the shoulder at the back.
Some Marathas and Mali people wear pagote or pagadi, which is made of twisted ropelike fabric. The way these headgears are folded varies from community to community.
Gandhi topi, a cap made of Khadi material, is also popular.
3)Koli men's clothing:
1. Bandi- A thick sleeveless jacket called a 'Bandi' is worn by fishermen as an upper garment.
2. Topi- A small scarf is tied around the head as a headgear called a 'Tambadi topi' or Rumal.
3. Lungi - The Koli men's lower dress consists of a square piece of cloth with a checked pattern in bright colours. It is draped so that the back tucking covers the buttocks and a loose triangular flap hangs down from the waist in front, the diagonal sides of which cover the midthighs.
4) Other Tribes of Nomads:
Dhangar, Pardhi, Warli, Gondia, Thakar, Bhill, Katkari, and other tribes are among them. Tribal men in rural and remote areas wear a lower garment called a 'Dhotar,' and an upper garment called a Sadara or Bandi. The headgears used are Pheta, Patka, Mundase, and Topi.
Maharashtra Women's Clothing:-
1) Conventional method
The traditional way for women to dress here, as in the rest of India, is in a Sari. However, Maharashtrian women wear a special type of sari that is nine yards long. The manner in which the same is worn varies from community to community.
2)Brahmin Women's Clothes :
1. Nauvari/ 9 Yard Sari :
This is the traditional attire worn by women in Maharashtra. The sari is an unstitched garment that measures 9 to 11 yards in length and 50-52 inches in width. It is known as 'Nauvari' or 'Lugade.' The sari has lovely lengthwise borders in a variety of patterns and colours that run on both sides of the plain, small checkered, or patterned background. In addition, the last 1 yard of the sari, which hangs from the shoulders, is decorated horizontally with coloured motifs and patterns that match the border. This section is known as 'Padar' or 'Pallu.'
The sari is worn in a distinctive manner, with the pleats from the front being taken in between the legs towards the back and tucked at the back waist. The Padar completely covers the front bodice, giving it a modest and rich appearance. The style allows the wearer to move freely. The Padar hangs from the shoulder in the back.
Padar is not required for Brahmins to cover their heads. In the early nineteenth century, it was mandatory for Brahmin widows to completely cover their heads with the Padar.
2. Choli :
A bodice similar to those seen in other parts of India. The bodice is so long that it exposes much of the upper abdomen. The Padar of the sari, on the other hand, provides complete concealment. The Bodice is a short-sleeved blouse with front buttons or hooks. Previously, the front of the bodice had ties, and a knot was tied in front to keep the bodice in place.The traditional fabric used to make the bodice is called 'Khonn,' and it is an extra warp figured fabric with a silk-like appearance and woven with small attractive motifs.
In modern times, Brahmin women wear a 6 yard sari that is worn round and not tucked in the back. Sari is still a popular way for women in Maharashtra to dress.
3. Shela :
This is a decorative scarf-like fabric that is wrapped around the shoulders and worn over the sari. This was more popular among ladies from royal families in the past. It is now only used by the bride in a wedding ceremony. The traditional Shela is a highly ornamented fabric with intricate designs woven for the body and borders.
3) Maratha women:
The attire of Maratha women is nearly identical to that of Brahmin women. Those are a'Nauvari,' Choli, and Shela. The Nauvari is worn in an unusual manner. It is worn in such a way that the calf of the legs is never exposed. The Padar is always worn over the head and tucked in front at the waist, or held in front with one hand, completely covering the head.
A Koli woman wears a 9 yard sari once more. However, the manner in which they are worn varies slightly. The sari is firmly tucked around the waist with proper pleating and is worn until the knee. The sari is tucked all the way to the end of its length, and it is not left loose to cover the upper body. This style of wearing, like wearing a trouser, allows for a lot of freedom of movement.
The upper garment is a long-sleeved blouse that covers the body until the waist or, in some cases, a little shorter, known as a 'Kacholi.' This is knotted in the front to ensure a proper fit. To properly cover the front, an'Odhani' or 1.5 mts. long cloth is draped over the Kacholi in a very distinct style.
Saris can be plain or printed. Koli women's clothing is always bright and vibrant in colour, with bold and colourful prints on the fabrics used.
5)Ancient Nomadic Tribes:
As previously stated, women in these communities wear similar clothing. Everyone wears a 'Nauvari'and a 'Kacholi '. The type of Sari and Blouse material varies depending on the local production of handloom fabrics.
Maharashtra Children's Clothing:-
In Maharashtra, there used to be a very distinct style of clothing. Girls under the age of 12 used to wear 'Parkar Polka,' a skirt and blouse dress. Girls' skirts were long enough to reach their feet, and their short blouses exposed a small portion of their abdomen. The fabric used for this dress was always a 'Khann' fabric, a Maharashtra specialty.
The boys wore a front buttoned shirt called a'sadara' and a 'vijar,' which is a long loose pant, or a short pant at times. As headgear, a white cap was worn. For special occasions, a sleeveless jacket was worn.