India is a land of custom and tradition. These manifest in many aspects of their daily lives, including clothing. Especially for women, the clothes worn are reflective of the Indian culture and the climate that is prevalent in the country. Female tourists who wonder what they should wear when they are in India will do best to adapt the style of clothing that is worn by the other women in the country. The traditional clothes that Indian women wear are the sari, salwar kameez, and lehenga.
A salwar kameez is a two piece outfit consisting of trousers and a loose shirt. It is the most popular attire for females in the country, particularly for teenagers who prefer it for its likeness to Western clothing. It is worn together with a scarf that covers the head and chest. This scarf is called the dupatta. A sari, on the other hand, is a long piece of colorful silk cloth about four to nine meters long. It is usually covered with various patterns. There are several styles based on the region where it is worn. It is worn by draping it over the body. It can be worn in many styles, but the most common way is to wrap it around the waist and drape it over one shoulder. Usually, it is also worn on top of a petticoat or a blouse. Finally, the lehenga is a colorful swirly skirt. It is usually worn by people from Gujarat and Rajasthan. Women who wear the lehenga often pair it up with a choli, which is a short bodice.
In many countries overseas, tourists generally wear the attire that they would normally wear in their own countries. However, this is not the case when in India. Wearing Western-style clothing, particularly those that are tight-fitting and revealing is somehow frowned upon. While shirts and jeans are acceptable as travel wear, shorts and tank tops should be avoided as they may cause unwanted attention from the males. If possible, women should not show their cleavage, upper arms, and legs. Showing too much skin may be considered too forward, or worse, they may be the cause of lewd comments. It is very important to be modest in a country such as India. Traditional Indian clothing like the salwar kameez, lehenga, and sari are the most culturally appropriate. Aside from these, they are also suitable for the climate. Because India is a tropical country, it is often extremely hot. Loose clothing is much more comfortable in this type of heat.
Tourists should be respectful of the customs and traditions in the country they are visiting and they should always dress accordingly. Wearing traditional clothing such as the sari, salwar kameez and lehenga earns tourists respect and courtesy, no matter where they are in the country. Locals appreciate the effort being made in adhering to their customs and beliefs. Women are very modest in India, and they do not show their bodies through shorts and other tight-fitting clothes. Wearing these types of clothes will certainly attract the attention of the people there, and any tourist who is wearing these clothes will find that she is the subject of stares or even whistles and catcalls. Wearing traditional Indian women’s clothing is much more acceptable, and they will certainly be treated better when wearing these clothes.
write by Anthea