The Traditional Dress of Karnataka, India

Written by alice stewart
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The Traditional Dress of Karnataka, India
A traditional sari, among traditional clothing in Karnataka, India (sari image by fotomagic from

Karnataka is large state in southwest India. Its rich culture is reflected in its traditional attire, which features locally handmade special garments such as the angavastram, lungi and sari, which is also spelt sari.

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Men drape a piece of cloth known as an angavastram around their shoulders and also wear a wraparound skirt called a lungi. The garments are made of a light material and generally dyed in neutral earth tones for casual wear.


Women wear a sari, which is a long piece of cloth that is wrapped over the shoulder and tied around the waist. Saris can be made of cotton, chiffon, satin and silk and are from 5 to 9m long. Bold and vibrant colours are used in traditional Karnatakan saris, and many are embroidered and embellished with sequins and beads.


The Kodava people inhabit the village of Kodagu and have a distinct style of traditional dress. Women pin their saris over the right shoulder, while men don a wraparound robe called a kupya. Kodavas are famous for their elaborate attire, and men wear a long black coat, scarlet sash and gilded turban on special occasions.

Western Influences

Some natives wear clothing influenced by the Western world. The salwaar kameeze, a modern variation of the sari, is a practical two-piece suit popular with young women.

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