Kaupinam

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The kaupinam, kaupina, langot or lungooty (langoṭī) is a loincloth worn by men in the Indian subcontinent as underclothing, it is now commonly worn by South Asian pehlwano wrestlers while exercising or sparring in a dangal. It is made up of a rectangular strip of cotton cloth used to cover the genitals with the help of the strings, connected to the four ends of the cloth for binding it around the waist.

A pehlwan sports a lungooty at an akhara

The small lungooty worn by naga sadhus or fakirs is also known as ''Coopees''.[1]

Use[edit]

Painting depicting youth in kaupina harvesting lotus in pond, circa 850 CE.

It is used extensively by wrestlers (pehelwans) in India participating in the traditional game of Pehlwani (a form of traditional wrestling). It is worn by wrestlers during matches, practice, training and exercises (kasrat).

The kaupinam in India is the traditional male sports gear associated with almost every form of physically straining sports like kushti and kabaddi. It has been worn by sportsmen and bodybuilders during training and exercise sessions (similar to the contemporary use of gym shorts) since ancient times and is still used in traditional sports. Langot was earlier worn (and is still worn sometimes) in India by men performing any form of physically straining activity. The wrestlers often wear a G-string-shaped guard underneath to protect their genitals.

The kaupinam is a very ancient form of sportswear and was in use since the early Vedic Period (2000–1500 BC) in India as is evident from a verse in the Sam Veda, the Hindu sacred scriptures, written at that time.[2] The devotees of the Hindu god Shiva were said to be wearing kaupinam.

Religious significance[edit]

Kaupina Panchakam

Kaupina vantah kalu bagya vantah
Vedanta Vakyeshu sada ramayantah
Bikshanna matrena tustimantah
vishokamantah karane charantah
kaupina vantah kalu bagyavantah

Adi Shankara

It has religious significance attached to asceticism for the Hindus. The Bhagavata Purana enjoins that a true ascetic should not wear anything other than a kaupina.[3] Sometimes the god Shiva himself is depicted wearing Kaupina.[4] The deities Murugan of Palani and Hanuman are said to be wearing this garment.[5] Langot or kaupin is associated with celibacy.[6] Adi Shankara composed a verse called Kaupina Panchakam to assert the significance of asceticism. Famous Maharashtrian saint Samarth Ramdas and Tamil saint Ramana Maharshi were always depicted wearing a langot in popular pictures.

Langota[edit]

Sculpture of athletes in a similar undergarment at the Indian Museum, Calcutta, recovered from the Graeco-Buddhist site of Jamalgarhi in NWFP, present-day Pakistan.

The older Kapinaum form is distinct from the present-day Langota or Langoti which is sewn and covers the buttocks. It was worn as underwear in dangal held at akharas. It is now mainly used by men when exercising and other intense physical games especially wrestling, to prevent hernias and hydrocele.[7]

The loincloth is about 3" wide and 24" long single piece of cotton cloth. It is first put between the legs and then wrapped around the waist very tightly.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yule, Sir Henry; Burnell, Arthur Coke (1996). Hobson-Jobson. p. 525. ISBN 9781853263637.
  2. ^ Alter, Joseph S. (1992). The wrestler's body: identity and ideology in north India. University of California Press. pp. 305 pages. ISBN 9780520076976.
  3. ^ Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.13.2 Archived 2013-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, Bhaktivedanta VedaBase
  4. ^ Narayana Ayyar, C. V. (1939). Origin and early history of Śaivism in South India. Madras University historical series. Vol. 6. University of Madras. pp. 155, 185.
  5. ^ Lutgendorf, Philip (2007). Hanuman's tale: the messages of a divine monkey Oxford scholarship online. Oxford University Press. pp. 434 pages(see:186). ISBN 9780195309225.
  6. ^ Abbott, Elizabeth (2001). A history of celibacy. James Clarke & Co. pp. 493 pages. ISBN 9780718830069.
  7. ^ Raman Das Mahatyagi (2007). Yatan Yoga: A Natural Guide to Health and Harmony. YATAN Ayurvedics. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-0-9803761-0-4.

External links[edit]