Dhoti

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For the far western region of Nepal, see Doti.
Indian folk dancers dressed in dhotis

The dhoti, also known as vesti, dhuti, mardani, dhoteé, chaadra, dhotra, and pancha, is a traditional men's garment, worn in the Indian subcontinent mainly by Indian, Nepalese and Bangladeshi people. It is worn predominantly in the countries of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It is the national dress of the Madhesh region of southern Nepal, worn mainly by Nepalis of Madhesi, Tharu, Maithali and Bahun ethnicity.[1] It is a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth, usually around 4.5 metres (15 ft) long, wrapped around the waist and the legs and knotted at the waist.

Etymology[edit]

The word dhoti is derived from dhauti (Sanskrit: धौती), meaning to cleanse or wash.[2] In the context of clothing, it simply refers to the cleansed garment which was worn during shrauta sacrifices or religious sessions in general.[3]:129 The dhoti evolved from the ancient anatariya which was passed through the legs, tucked at the back and covered the legs loosely, then flowed into long pleats at front of the legs, the same way it is worn today.[3]:130

Regional names[edit]

Relief depicting men in anatariya and uttariya, 1st century AD
Female dancer dressed as Krishna in yellow dhoti

The garment is known by various names, such as:

Language
or region
धौती Dhotī Sanskrit, Pali
धौती Dhotī Hindi
मर्दानी Mardaani Hindi
ਚਾਦਰਾ Chaadra Punjabi
ଧୋତି Dhotī Odia
धोति Dhoteé Nepali
ધૉતિયુ Dhotiyu Gujarati
धोतर Dhotar a
Pancha
Marathi
চুৰিয়া Suriya Assamese
ধুতি Dhuti Bengali
ಧೋತ್ರ
ಕಚ್ಚ ಪಂಚೆ
Dhotra
Kachcha Panche
Kannada
धोतर,
आंगोस्तर,
आड नेसचे,
पुडवे
Dhotar
Angostar
Aad-neschey
Pudve
Konkani
పంచె Panchey Telugu
ధోవతి Dhovathi Telugu
வேட்டி Veti Tamil
മുണ്ട് Mundu Malayalam
a In Marathi, a dhotar is not the same as a pancha (plural panche).
 While the former is worn around the waist, the latter is normally
 used as a towel after a bath or shower (compare below).

Custom and usage[edit]

A Chakravati wears a pancha in an ancient style. First century BCE/CE. Amaravathi village, Guntur district. Musee Guimet

The pancha is worn by many orthodox Jain men when they visit the temple for puja; unstitched clothing is believed by some Jains to be "less permeable to pollution" and therefore more appropriate for religious rituals than other garments.[4] They also wear a loose, unstitched cloth, shorter than the pancha, on top.

Hare Krishna, known for its distinctive dress code, prompts Western adherents to wear pancha, usually of saffron or white cloth folded in a traditional style. Mahatma Gandhi invariably wore a pancha on public occasions[citation needed] but, as he was aware that it was considered "indecent" to do so in other countries, was shocked when a friend wore one in London.[5] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was known for wearing a white silk dhoti.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]