Mekhela Chador

The traditional wear of Assam - the Mekhela Chador - has two main pieces of cloth that are draped around the body. The Mekhela - the skirt or bottom portion and the Chador - the drape or the top portion.

The bottom portion, draped from the waist downwards, the mekhela (Assamese: মেখেলা). It is in the form of a sarong, a 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, 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, though in the past another garment called a riha was worn. A riha is still worn as part of the Assamese bridal trousseau, but over a fitted blouse.

Patterns : 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. The patterns are inspired by nature and the architectural carvings found on the Madana Kamadeva temple.

Material : Traditionally cotton, muga silk and eri silk are used to create these beauties.

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