09 Nov 2020

The Traditional distinctive dresses of Bhutan

Isn’t it surprising to see all Bhutanese wearing a national dress in school, government offices, and in quite-often formal occasions as a compulsion! Wait! the surprise doesn’t last here. The national dress was surprisingly codified for over 400 years ago under the reign of the famous Rinpoche. Bhutanese know him as the “father of Bhutan”. You may trace his image with a long beard and a smile in every monastery and sacred site in Bhutan. Even I was awestruck to notice the most distinctively seeable facet of this country. Be it men, women, or children, they all dress themselves in colorful traditional attire.

Kira is for women and the Gho is for men seemingly similar to the long robe Chuba of Tibetan people.

Gho is worn to knee length and tied around with a woven cloth belt called Kera, forming a large pouch that was traditionally used to carry a bowl or money. Untying Kera while retiring for the day must the most relaxing activity for them. On formal occasions, men use a kabney; which is a silk shawl, draped over the Gho. The Kabney is a symbol that signifies different groups or professions, hence there are different colors and designs of a Kabney for different levels and professions.

Kira can be either Full Kira or Half Kira. A full Kira which is basically a long-wrapped dress is worn along with Wongu; a blouse, and Tego; a jacket in a combined set so that all three compliment each other. Whereas the half kira is simply a piece of fabric fully wrapped around the waist is also worn with Wongu and Tego.

These national dresses are not that cheap, and the Bhutanese wedding is not meant for the poor either. In fact, the best quality fabrics are costly here and special occasions are sometimes exorbitant as everyone must wear the finest embroidered dresses with the best possible intricate patterns.

One of the most unique features of these traditional dresses is that the unique tradition has evolved over thousands of years and people still preserve it in present modern times.

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