The traditional dupatta is worn in a lot of different places throughout South Asia. The nivil, vasas, and adhivasa were three types of garments worn in Vedic India. Adivasa was a type of garment similar to the modern-day dupatta. The dupatta was worn by both men and women in Vedic times, contrary to popular belief. Not only because of their beauty but also because of the way they are draped, odhanis or dupattas can make a big impression. When you wear them, they become more enticing.

It’s worth noting that the dupatta has a different name in each state and region where it’s worn. A dupatta may be referred to as an odhni in Rajasthan and a chador in Pakistan, while it may be referred to as a chunri, chunni, or chundari in other parts of the country. Each region’s chunari has its own style of embellishments, embroidery, fabrics, and weaves. Cotton and silk were once the most popular fabrics for chunaris (Fig.1 & 2)

As a veil, the bride wore a traditional chunari, dupatta, or odhni, a long, narrow fabric. It has a length of 2.5 metres and a width of 1.5 metres. The dupatta has progressed from a practical fabric to a stylish addition to a woman’s ensemble, such as a suit. The dupatta was originally worn with a ghagra choli or salwar kameez to cover the head and upper body. Purdah, or the covering and private confinement of women (the Hindi word for ‘Parda’ literally means ‘curtain’), is a fascinating aspect of Indian family life.In northern and central India, Hindu and Muslim women frequently cover their bodies and avoid public appearances, especially when they are accompanied by close relatives or men they do not know. The motivations were modesty and respect for the family’s elders. Women still cover their heads when visiting the shrine, as was customary in the past.

A dupatta is an extremely versatile piece of clothing. It can be worn in several different ways, with various clothes, in numerous styles. In a traditional style, one corner is tucked inside at the waist of the ghagra, the middle portion is placed over the chest, and the end is draped over the shoulders and the head, covering it gracefully(Fig.3). 

India has skilled craftsmen and a long history of handicrafts in many provinces and districts. As a result, the country has a diverse and excellent odhni style collection. From Rajasthan’s ‘Lehariya’ chunari to Punjab’s ‘Phulkari’ chunari (Fig.4), each region has its own distinct style of expression.


Kumar, Ritu. ‘Costumes and Textiles of Royal India’ London: Christ book, 1999 (DLC)

Thames & Hudson, ‘The Worldwide History of Dress’ New York: 2007

Utsavpedia , ‘Indian Dupatta’, online at 

https://www.utsavpedia.com/attires/a-cloth-that-glides-through-various-colors-of-indian-tradition-the-dupatta-references/ (retrived on 7th Feb)

Research Journals, ‘Study on traditional costumes and coiffure of the male and female Rajput community of Mewar region of Rajasthan’ by Miwa Kanetani, Online at https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1307&context=tsaconf (retrieved on 7th Feb 2017)

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