Gamucha (also gamocha, gamchcha, gamcha) is a thin, coarse, traditional cottontowel found in India and Bangladesh that is used to dry the body after bathing or wiping sweat. Gamucha is the local term for a sweat towel. It is often just worn on one side of the shoulder. However its appearance varies from region to region. Gamucha has been traditionally worn as scarf by male folks of Orissa which was mentioned in OriyaMahabharata by Sarala Dasa. Male villagers wear it as dhoti. Children of tribal communities in Orissa wear gamucha until their adolescence after which they wear dhoti. Weavers of traditional tantubaya or jugicommunity migrated from Bangladesh to Tripura and weavers of Orissa produce good quality gamucha. gamucha is most commonly found with check and striped patterns of red, orange or green. Plain white gamchhas with coloured (embroidered or printed) borders from Orissa and Assam (for traditional Assamese Gamucha, see Gamosa) are local handicrafts, and may be worn around the neck with traditional Indian attire. In western areas, gamucha is primarily made in red color and are plain like cloth. In southern India, gamucha is more coarse and are available in various dyes. Even homemade lightweight fur towels are also popularly termed as gamchhas. Gamucha are worn by the South Asian people, especially in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and the Purvanchal region, because they are not as thick as Western-style towels and better suited to the country's tropical, humid climate. In Afghanistan they are also used and are commonly referred to as dismaal. They may also be found in Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish hamams as a traditional male loin cloth and towel worn during bathing and massage.
A fruit vendor wearing a gamchha tied as a headscarf.
Gamucha is also worn as knee long loin cloths by people of the poorer sections of society, especially menial labourers and farm workers.They are also used as a headscarf, similar to the Middle Eastern Keffiyeh in rural areas. Gamchas can be turned into an effective weapon against wolves, leopards, wild dogs or feral dogs or even dacoits, by knotting a large stone pebble into one end and using it like bolas.