The term angarkha, also called angrakha, refers to a traditional upper garment worn by men in the Indian Subcontinent which overlaps and is tied to the left or right shoulder. The angrakha was a court outfit that a person could wrap around himself, offering flexible ease with the knots and ties appropriate for wearing in the various principalities of ancient India. It is worn particularly in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and in Pakistan much like the Achkan and Sherwani.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Design
- 3 Gujarati and Rajasthani styles
- 4 Rajasthani bandia angarkha
- 5 Mirjai
- 6 Gujarati kediyu
- 7 Punjabi angarkha
- 8 Chamba angarkhi
- 9 Kalidar angarkha
- 10 Elsewhere
- 11 Sindhi angerkho
- 12 Other related garments
- 13 Images
- 14 See also
- 15 References
The term angarkha is derived from the Sanskrit word aṅgarakṣaka, which means protection of the body. The angarkha was worn in various parts of the Indian Subcontinent, but while the basic cut remained the same, the style and length varied from region to region.
Some styles of the angarkha can be short. However, the angarkha can also be a long coat, or it can be a long tunic which is tied to either the left or right shoulder. Sometimes, cotton jackets or tops are worn underneath the angarkha.
Another style of angarkha is a sort of shirt worn under the jama and tied in two places on each side of the body. The angarkha also refers to a short calico vest with sleeves which descends only to the haunches. Instead of being fastened on both sides, is tied on one side only.
Gujarati and Rajasthani styles
A similar dress to the kurta known as the angarkha is traditionally worn in Gujarat and Rajasthan which is somewhat shorter in length than a straight cut Kurta and has a wider end similar to lower part of a ghagra.The front opens at either shoulder and the bottom has a wide end which flares out. Some styles incorporate a placket.
In Gujarat, men in parts of Kutch wear the angarkha, also called the jama, which has an asymmetric opening with the skirt flaring out to around the hips. However, some styles fall to below the knees.
Rajasthani bandia angarkha
Another type of angarkha worn in Rajasthan is the bandia angarkha, also known as bandi, and angarkhi worn above the waist and fastened with tapes either over the chest or on the shoulder, with long arms and narrow sleeves. The prints on the Rajasthani garments include sanganer prints which are of local origin.
Bandhani, tie dyed dresses drying in Jaipur
The traditional dress of Bihari people is the mirjai which is a modified form of the flowing robe (known as the jama) fastened on the right. The mirjai is an under jacket with long loose sleeves and open cuffs.
The kediyu is worn in Gujarat. It is a long sleeved upper garment, pleated at the chest and reaching to the waist. Some designs however flare out to the knees. The prints on the kediyu include bandhani designs which are local to Gujarat and Rajasthan.
A garment worn by women in the Punjab region was the anga (gown also known as an angarkha and peshwaj) which is similar to a loose coat and wadded with cotton. The women's anga flowed to the ankles. The angarkha also forms part of the male clothing in the Punjab region; it is a loose tunic that falls to below the knees, is fastened with a flap to the side and is worn with a front opening kurta. Men still wear the angarkha in Haryana which fastens to the left or right shoulder and Himachal Pradesh.
A watercolor portrait of Ranjit Singh who wore the angarkha during his reign
The Sindhi angerkho is fastened to the left shoulder and is knee length. Modern versions can be shorter.
Another upper garment worn in Gujarat is the jhabbho which is a long robe. The jhabho is also called the abho which is also worn by women of Rajasthan. The garment is loose, with short, wide sleeves, open at the neck, loose-fitting on the upper part and very flared at the skirt. The abho is often decorated in embroidery and mirror work.
A short sleeve cotton shirt, without a collar, to the waist (called saluka or ganji) is traditionally worn in Uttar Pradesh. The saluka is also traditionally worn in Madhya Pradesh.
The female Sindhi cholo is loose fitting, and is made in a variety of ways, including the traditional method of the cholo opening at the front to the waist, with very wide sleeves. The traditional cholo can reach down to the ankles.
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