Types of Clothes the Nepalese Wear

Written by chris burke
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Types of Clothes the Nepalese Wear
Nepali men traditionally wear a daura suruwal and carry a kukri. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The Nepali people, sometimes known as Gurkhas, are an ethnic group that live primarily in the country of Nepal as well as the northeast Indian States of West Bengal and Sikkim. Nepali people have incorporated influences from traditional Indian culture into their dress and religious beliefs but maintain their own distinct cultural practices. This extends to their dress, which includes some Indian characteristics but is also distinctly Nepali.

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Daura Suruwal

Daura suruwal is the name for traditional Nepali male dress. Daura suruwal consists of a knee-length sleeved shirt that ties closed at the side, trousers and shoes called docha. Politicians and government officials still wear the daura suruwal daily. Some men may choose to wear a coat or jacket over the daura suruwal for warmth. Several aspects of the dress have religious significance for the Buddhist and Hindu practitioners in Nepal. These include the five pleats of the shirt which signify the Pancha Buddha or Pancha Ratna, the closed collar that represents the snake around Shiva's neck and the eight ties used to tie the shirt, which is a lucky number in Buddhism and Hinduism.

Women's Clothes

The gunyo chola is the female equivalent to the male daura suruwal. It is a silk or cotton shirt that ties to the side with similar collar and pleats to the daura suruwal. Nepali women also regularly wear saris, the traditional dress of women across the Indian subcontinent. The sari is a long piece of cloth from 4 to 9 meters (13 to 29 feet) which is draped around the wearer in various styles.

Dhaka topi

The dhaka topi is the traditional hat of Nepali men. It is a stiff brimless hat made of a cotton fabric called dhaka. Men traditionally wear the topi along with the daura suruwal. The dhaka topi is similar to other hats worn in the Himalaya area, including Afghanistan. Some Nepali men wear a similar hat called the bhaad-gaaule topi.


The kukri, or kukuri, is the traditional knife carried by Nepali men. It has a distinctive inward curve and is used as a symbolic weapon for the Nepali military as well as an all-purpose utility knife similar to a machete. Typical kukris are 16 to 18 inches long and weigh about a pound.

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