What to wear in Bhutan?

Bhutan the ‘land of the thunder dragon’ is a place that is rich with cultures and traditions. The living style and the attire worn my the people of Bhutan are quite different from that what we wear in metropolitan cities. Bhutan is a conservative country with Buddhists being the majority.

Well coming to their dressing style, they have a traditional way of wearing clothes with dates back to 17th century. They follow an age-old tradition of wearing clothes that are simple and different. This very unique dressing of Bhutanese makes them stand out from the other nations. They usually prefer to wear formal clothes that pay respect to Buddhist culture.

National Dress

The Bhutanese people are told to wear their traditional clothes which are introduced by ‘Ngawang Namgyal’ nationally. They wear it to show their patriotism and at the same time, it helps to promote brotherhood among the fellow citizens thereby giving a united front to the people from outside. This Act of listening to the authorities about how to dress also shows the obedient nature of the Bhutanese.

Official Dress Code

The official dress code, that is what has to be worn by the people across the country is decided by Driglam Namzha and is widely accepted by the people who happily like to portray the uniqueness of their dressing culture. Basically, Driglam Namzha is the official behavior and dress code of Bhutan, which dictates a certain set of behavior and mannerisms that are expected from the citizen of Bhutan. It ensures disciplined behavior.

The word Driglam means to order and Namzha mean system. One cannot visit dzong without wearing traditional clothes and while visiting a temple one is expected to decent or rather non-revealing clothes. According to Bhutanese culture, one has to open their shoes and headgear before entering the temple.

Dressing Culture of Bhutan

The dressing culture allows the minimal showing of skin and preaches to wear clothes that are aesthetic and respectful to the sacred Buddhist land. The usual clothing pattern consists of unheard clothing articles that are worn elegantly.

1. Gho

This piece of clothing is worn by men which is basically a belt that is holding up the heavy robe that goes down up to knees. The belt is put in such a way that it forms pockets on either side of the stomach making men look different. The pockets so created are used to store a number of things like nuts and mobile phones. A large gathering is a time when it is usually worn.

2. Wonju

It a long-sleeved colorful blouse was worn by women which is made of silk or polyester. It is just like the blouse we wear we wear with saree. It is sold in the market in various colors and designs.

3. Kira

It is a rectangular woven fabric piece which worn till the ankle. It is worn by women by wrapping it around the body and then pinning it on the shoulder with usually a silver brooch. It is worn with Wonju beneath it and is wound up at the waist with different kinds of belts that have beautiful embroideries. Kira is worn on special occasions.

4. Kera

It’s an accessory to their outfit and is usually used to tighten the outfit.It is available in a large number of varieties and can be used by both men and women. Kera improves the git of the outfit.

5. Toego

It is a stylish piece of cloth that glams up the simple outfit of the Bhutanese. It is a short jacket that is usually worn on occasions along with Kira and gives women a large number of choices to select from as it is sold in many vibrant colors and patterns.

6. Ranchu

It is a long shawl or rather a scarf-like piece of clothing that is taken by women when they attend religious ceremonies, visit temples or attend formal gatherings. They are available in different vibrant colors and intricate patterns.

7. Khata

If you see anyone wearing khata in Bhutan you ought to know that they have strong influence or rather they practice Tibetan Buddhism. Khata is known to be a sacred piece of clothing as it can be worn both during joyous and sorrowful occasions. It usually comes in two colors that are white and golden yellow. The piece of article is made of silk which gives a rich touch.

8. Kabney

It is an interesting piece of clothing that acts as a badge and distinguishes the people having positions in society from the common people.The types of Kabney are:

  • Yellow Kabney: It is a scarf like cloth that is yellow in color and is worn by men who are entitled to rank or position in Bhutan.They usually wear it on nationally important occasions.These sash like scarves are yellow in color are given distinct recognition.
  • Orange Kabney: It is worn the council of ministers of Bhutan.
  • Green Kabney: It is worn by judicial persons particularly judges of Bhutan.
  • Red Kabney: It is worn in the administrative level and usually has white lines with bade of the cloth being red.
  • White Kabney: It is the scarf color of a common man who wears it in their everyday life.

The dress code of the Buddhist nation seems to be cultural along with a touch of simplicity to it. The people of Bhutan like to portray their not so common dressing style and deep-rooted traditions rather enthusiastically. This different kind of dressing habit helps Bhutan to be recognized worldwide and thereby proves to be the key factor by which the nation is known.

The adherence of the discipline in dressing behavior shows how devoted people are to their nation. The pride with which they carry their clothes shows the culture and beliefs of Bhutanese people are bought up.

In the busy life of today’s generation, while we were trying to choose the right pair of jeans, in the very moment somewhere at some place someone was living the ancient old tradition with no regrets. So if you are planning to go to Bhutan they should try to merge with the local culture of the place and should try to wear the Bhutanese clothes to get the feel of the Buddhist nation.

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