|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2012)|
There are two main pieces of cloth that are draped around the body. The bottom portion, draped from the waist downwards is called the mekhela (Assamese: মেখেলা). It is in the form of a sarong—very wide cylinder of cloth—that is folded into pleats to fit around the waist and tucked in. The folds are to the right, as opposed to the pleats in the Nivi style of the saree, which are folded to the left. Strings are never used to tie the mekhela around the waist, though an underskirt with a string is often used.
The top portion of the two-piece dress, called the chador, is a long length of cloth that has one end tucked into the upper portion of the Mekhela and the rest draped over and around the rest of the body. Unlike the Pavadai Dhavani, the chador is tucked in triangular folds. A fitted blouse is often worn to cover the breasts, though in the past another garment called a riha used to be worn. A riha is still worn as part of the Assamese bridal trousseau, but over a fitted blouse.
Unlike the Pavadai Dhavani, which is traditionally worn by women between puberty and marriage, the mekhela-chador is worn by women of all ages.
Ornamental designs on the mekhela-chadors are traditionally woven, never printed. Sometimes a woven pattern, called the pari is stitched along the sides of a chador, or along the bottom of a mekhela.
Traditional Mekhela Chadors are made from the following materials:
Some modern low-budget sets are also made with varying blends of cotton and Muga or Pat silk with synthetic materials.
- How to wear a Mekhala Chadar: The traditional Assamese attire
- Rhitupon Bora and Tamina Das (2011). Silk Weaving Tradition of Sualkuchi, Assam. D'Source, IIT Guwahati.