Traditional Dresses of Nepal

  • 17/12/2020

Nepal is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious nation. This has led to a significant variation in in the clothing and dresses worn by people of different culture and ethnicities.  “Daura Suruwal”, most often called “Labeda Suruwal” is the national dress of Nepal for men and “Gunyu Cholo” for Women. Besides Daura Suruwal and Gunyu Cholo, every ethnic group and cast have their own traditional costumes, clothing and accessories.

The National dress for men, The Daura Suruwal has 2 basic elements. Daura is the upper wear, a variant of the kurta and is a closed-neck shirt with five pleats and eight strings that serve to tie it around the body. The lower trouser part is the suruwal. Then there are accessories like the coat and the Dhaka Topi, a traditional Nepali cap. The coat was added to the Daura Suruwal wear by Jung Bahadur Rana, the prime minister of Nepal in the 19th century.

Daura Suruwal is a modern variant of the Tapālan which has been the traditional clothing of Newar men. It used to be traditionally worn as men's common costume consisting of a long shirt called tapālan with tight fitting trousers known as suruwā:, a waistcoat or a coat along with a cap called tapulī / topī.

 It has several religious beliefs and some historical aspects. The eight strings of the daura, which is considered a lucky number in the Nepali mythology are denoted as Astamatrika-Singini:

  • Byagini
  • Kumari
  • Barahi
  • Brahmayani
  • Indrayani
  • Maheshowri
  • Byasnabi
  • Mahalaxmi

The five folds in the garment fabric, refers to the Pancha Buddha or Pancha Ratna. The round neck denotes the snake god around the neck of Lord Shiva.

Gunyu Cholo is the national dress of the females in Nepal. The traditional Nepalese dress of Gunyo Cholo has a blouse like top and skirt below. It is also known as Chaubandi Cholo. The blouse is typically wrapped and can have an open or closed neck.  Gunyu Cholo is mostly used as an informal dress, and saris are primarily used on formal occasions.

The “Gunyu Cholo” is also a ceremony where the children given to a girl at the age of around 7 or 8, which signifies the transition period from a young girl to a woman. There are different variants of the dress according to the different ethnic communities.

Then there are many traditional dresses, some of the popular ones are:

  • Dhoti/ Lungi
  • Saree
  • Kurta Suruwal for women
  • Gurung Dress (Jama/Bhoto for men & Phaitiya/cholo/ghalek for women)
  • Bakhuu for Sherpa women
  • Haku Patasi for Newar women