Traditional Dresses of Northeast India

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Featuring “breathtaking” wedding pictures of a DU Professor : The Professor is wearing the traditional dress code of Groom including “Pheijom”(dhoti) and “Pumyat”(kurta) along with “Kokyet”(turban) while her Meitei Hindu bride is wearing a “Potloi” or Polloi along with “Phanek” for their nuptials representing the traditional wedding dress of Manipur.

North East region of India consists of the eight states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. The traditional dresses of North East Indian States are as beautiful as their states and their fashion gives an identity to Asian fashion worldwide. These traditional ethnic clothes symbolizes the true spirit of India. Fair and festival season are the one of the finest occasions to explore the culture, heritage and traditions of Northeast Indian dresses. 

After reading this article, you will get a thorough understanding of traditional dresses of the North East region of India.

Arunachal Pradesh

The traditional costumes of Arunachal Pradesh reflect the culture of their tribes they belong to. Here, women wear vibrant colored dresses made of threads with unique and intricate patterns adorned with fine beads or silver jewelry. Accessories are an integral part of their costume.

People of some tribes use a jacket above a sleeveless chemise tied to their waist with a lengthy and narrow strip of cloth while others wear a sleeveless and collarless robe stretching from the shoulders to the knees. During important occasions, ‘Gurdam’, a skull cap filled with Yak hair, is worn to complete the look.


The famous dresses from Assam worn on special occasions are Muga, Pat silk sarees and Mekhla Chador(similar to a half-saree of South India). Each tribe has its own distinct and unique style of wearing Mekhla Chador distinguished by motifs, colors, and design. Women of the Dimasa tribe wear skirt-like clothing called ‘Rigu’ and a decorated vest-like attire called ‘Rijamphai’, sometimes also known as ‘Rikhaosa’.

For adding charm in attires, Assamese women wear traditional jewelry like ‘Gaam Kharu’ large silver bangles, ‘Kopo Phool’ earrings, and ‘Mukuta Moni’ necklaces.


Meghalaya is popularly known as a home to the three famous hill tribes of India – Khasi, Jaintias and Garos. Their traditional dresses look elegant on the women belonging to the Garo, Jaintia, and Khasi tribes of Meghalaya. 

  • The Khasi woman wears an ankle-length costume with a fitted blouse over it, called ‘Jainsen’ and chequered cotton shawls over the blouse, called ‘Tap-Moh Khlieh’.
  • The Garo women usually wear ‘Eri’ silk shawls, a blouse and an unstitched cloth called ‘Dakmanda’ (thick border decorated with motifs and floral patterns), on the lower half of their body. They also drape an unstitched garment, woven out of mulberry silk.
  • The Jaintia tribe usually wears a sarong called ‘Thoh Khyrwang’, with a velvet blouse. A long piece of Muga silk is tied around their shoulders, flowing down to their ankles. They are often seen wearing a very elegant headpiece known as ‘Kyrshah’.


The clothes that Manipuri girls wear with pride and grace include ‘Phanek’, a wrap-around skirt or ‘Sarong’, a stiff skirt. Manipuri women also wear a saree-like cloth called ‘Moirang Phi’. Different tribes of Manipur have their own distinctive dresses like ‘Lmaphie’, ‘Saijounba’, ‘Ningthoupee’ and ‘Phiranji’.


Mizo women wear elegant full-sleeved dresses and the most common among them is a three piece Churidar-kurta-dupatta set, called ‘Puan’. On special occasions like festivals or weddings, women wear a long, chequered skirt with a colorful shirt, called ‘Puanchei’. The long skirts are vertically embroidered in colorful threads. Mizo women are also seen sporting beautiful headgear made of brass and colorful cane, decorated with items like porcupine quills and parrot feathers.


An important part of Nagaland’s cultural attire is ‘Naga shawls’. Shawls are often considered as a badge of honor, and are gifted to aged and experienced people. Women of Nagaland usually dress in skirts which are, again, different from one tribe to another, and are known by different names as well. 

The popular types of Ao skirts include ‘Azu Jangnup Su’ with red and yellow-black stripes; ‘Ngami Su’ is a fishtail skirt and ‘Yongzujangau’ is a cucumber seed skirt which is woven in red threads on a black base. The Angami tribe’s women wear sleeveless tops called ‘Vatchi’ over a white skirt called ‘Pfemhou’ and a petticoat called ‘Neikhro’.


Women belonging to Tripura wear a beautifully woven two-piece called ‘Rinai’ and ‘Risa’. The ‘Risa’ is worn on the upper part of the body while the ‘Rinai’ is wrapped around the waist. These attractive costumes look more beautiful when paired with charming traditional jewelries. 


The traditional dresses of Sikkim shows diversity and exemplifies social and cultural lives of the three main resident communities – the Lepchas, Bhutias and the Nepalis. For the male members of the Lepcha community, the ‘Thokro-Dum’ is the primary outfit. The traditional attire of Lepcha women involves a saree-like garment called ‘Dumvum’. The traditional dress donned by Bhutias is the ‘Bakhu’ which is worn by both men and women. Nepali males love to wear ‘Shurval’, which is a Pyjama with a shirt and a traditional shirt.

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