So you finally decided to buy that perfect Dhoti for your special occasion but are not sure about what are the types of Dhotis that you can wear? Read on to find out about the different types of Dhotis in India in our ‘Ultimate Dhoti Guide’.
What Is A Dhoti?
A Dhoti is a traditional Indian bottom wear that is worn by men (mostly). Nowadays, even some women wear it as a style statement but primarily, Dhotis are worn by men. They are the traditional wear of a lot of parts of rural as well ad urban India. In urban India, dhotis are worn mostly during events like weddings, engagements or other similar functions.
Dhotis were first worn by elder men in India as a garment of necessity but now it has evolved into a part of the ethnic wear and is quite popular among the youth. It is usually made from a single long rectangular piece of unstitched white cloth that is around 4.5 m in length.
History and Origin Of The Dhoti
The word ‘Dhoti’ is derived from the sanskrit word ‘Dhauti‘ which means ‘to cleanse or to wash’. It is usually meant to wear as a regular everyday attire thus it is considered as a ‘cleansed’ daily wear in India. It evolved from the ancient Indian garment called the ‘Antariya’ which is a garment worn by the deities in Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The traditional Indian Dhoti is usually made of a simple white cotton fabric. Even today many men in some parts of India, wear this dhoti as their everyday attire.
Just like the diverse cultures in India, the dhoti has its own adaptations across various states and villages of India. The basic principle remains the same but there are minor variations according to the traditions of the respective places.
How To Wear A Dhoti?
A dhoti is a type of sarong that is worn by wrapping it around your legs and then pulling a lower part of it and tucking it inside the wrap around the waist from the back side. Pleats are formed on the front side of the dhoti after it is tucked in, making two separate parts for each leg something like a very loose trouser.
It is usually worn along with a shirt, a kurta, a sherwani, a jacket or mostly all mens tops depending on the occasion. Similarly the footwear that you can wear with a dhoti also depends on the occasion and you can wear leather chappals like kolhapuri chappals or traditional Indian shoes like the jutti or mojari along with it.
Footwear You Can Wear With A Dhoti
Did You Know?
You can even buy ready-to-wear Dhotis (just like the one shown below) that you don’t need to wrap or tie. You can wear them simply like pants and they look like authentic Dhotis because they are heavily pleated giving them a layered feel of the real dhoti.
Ready To Wear Dhoti
Why To Wear A Dhoti?
Although the reason why people wear a dhoti depends on their personal choice but people in India mostly wear dhotis for two main reasons. Number one: It is as comfortable as it gets. Being lightweight and thin, it is the perfect clothing for the warm climate in India. The style of wearing also makes it quite comfortable as it does not cling to the legs and provides a lot of ‘ventilation’ to the legs as well as the manly parts.
Secondly, people wear it as a style statement. No doubt it is a highly comfortable bottom wear but it also looks fabulous. Pair it up with a good kurta or a shirt and you’re ready to flaunt it in style.
8 Different Types Of Dhotis & How To Wear Them
As we mentioned earlier, the modern dhoti that you see today has evolved a lot since its origin. Along with this, it’s utility has also changed over the course of time. Below we has listed the various types of Dhotis that you see today.
1) The Bengali Kochano Dhuti
The Bengali ‘Dhuti’ is a type of Dhoti worn by men in the Bengal region of India. Although similar to the regular dhoti, it has a circular pleated part towards the left side.
2) The Maharashtrian Dhotar
Worn by the Marathi Royals and the Peshwas in the golden ages, the traditional Maharashtrian ‘Dhotar’ is one of the most widely used types of dhotis worn by men in Maharashtra. Even today in a lot of towns and villages in Maharashtra, this type of Dhoti is worn by the elders.
3) The Punjabi Chadra
The Punjabi Chadra is one of the types of Dhotis worn by men in the Punjab region of India. This is their traditional style of dhoti and is quite prominent if you visit the region. The video above shows exactly how to wear the Punjabi Chadra Dhoti. This dhoti style looks quite similar to a lungi.
4) Vaishnava Hare Krishna Dhoti
The Hare Krishna Dhoti belongs to the Vaishnava culture. It is an every day attire worn by men from the Vaishnava culture and is a very comfortable way of draping the dhoti. These types of dhotis are usually worn by the priests in the Hindu temples.
5) Rajasthani Dulangi Dhoti
One of the very traditional types of the Dhoti comes from the culture-rich state of Rajasthan. Home to glorious historical stories, Rajasthan is a magical land of the Maharajas that gave us this traditional Dhoti that is super comfortable to wear and doesn’t get untied easily even while you’re doing a lot of physical movement.
6) The Kannada Kache Panche Dhoti
One of the popular types of Dhotis comes from the southern part of India from the state of Karnataka. It is called the ‘Dhotra Kachche Panche’. It is the traditional wear of the Kannada men and its is a superlight weight and a highly comfy way of wearing the Dhoti.
7) The Telugu Pancha Dhoti
Another South Indian traditional Dhoti is the Telugu ‘Pancha’. It is worn as a traditional attire by the men in Andhra Pradesh. This type of Dhoti is made out of pure cotton and is very thin and lightweight making it very comfortable.
Did You Know?
The Pancha is also used as a towel after a bath. As it is made out of pure cotton, it is highly absorbent and men and women still use it as a towel to dry themselves after a bath.
8) The Tamil Veshti Vetti Dhoti
The Tamil ‘Veshti Vetti’ is a type of Dhoti or rather a ‘Mundu’ worn by Tamil men from the culture rich state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is the kind of Dhoti that is draped and then folded half way to the top similar to a half pant making it very comfortable to wear.
Different Styles Of Dhoti You Can Try Right Now
Now that you know the various types of Dhotis in India, let us look at the different styles of dhoti you can try wearing today. Check out these featured images of some of our contributors from Instagram where you can see how a Dhoti can add style to your look for your special occasion.
Dhoti Style #1: Dhoti With A Jacket
One of the very popular styles of wearing a dhoti is featured in the images above. Pairing it up with a well fitted shirt or a kurta and a Nehru Jacket or a Modi Jacket (depending on your political or personal choice).
Dhoti Style #2: The Classic Dhoti-Kurta
This combination can never go wrong. The Dhoti and Kurta are a match made in heaven if you want to wear it on any special occasion or for regular daily use. One of the most versatile styles of wearing a dhoti, this combination will never disappoint you.
Dhoti Style #3: Dhoti With A Silk Shirt
If you have a nice silk shirt, you can pair it up with a classic white Dhoti or a Pancha
Dhoti Style #4: Veshti With Shirt
The classic Veshti Dhoti is a gift received to the Indian man from God himself. Probably the coolest outfit (in terms of looks as well as utility), you can wear this style of Dhoti for a special occasion or even as an everyday attire.
Dhoti Style #5: Dhoti With Vest
The classic white Dhoti pretty stylish when paired with a simple vest. If you want to highlight your Dhoti, then you can use this combination. This is a highly popular style of wearing a dhoti during pujas and religious functions where you have to sit on the floor or stand for an aarti or puja for long periods.
Dhoti Style #6: The Dhoti By Itself
If you want to hike up the mercury levels even further, you can simply do away with any kind of shirts or tops and go for the classic Dhoti alone.
Dhoti Style #7: Silk Dhoti With Matching Stole
If you have a religious occasion at home, you can try out this beautiful combination of wearing a colorful Dhoti with a matching stole. This combo looks best in a lightweight material like silk or chiffon.
Dhoti Style #8: Dhoti With Shawl
A very traditional and a classy style of wearing the Dhoti is along with a traditional shawl. It is a regular everyday attire in South Indian culture and can also be worn during religious ceremonies and functions.
Dhoti Style #9: Dhoti With Sherwani
Another one of the different styles of wearing a dhoti is to pair it up with the classic Sherwani. There is no official code as to what type of dhoti and sherwani should be paired together. We say if it looks good, then go for it.
Dhoti Style #10: Dhoti With Short Kurta
For a casual look, you can team up the classic Dhoti with a short kurta. It is a very versatile combination and you can experiment with different colors, textures and fabrics for this combo.
Dhoti Style #11: Dhoti With Shirt & Blazer
Pairing a Dhoti with a Blazer is the perfect indo-western outfit for the next time you are at a wedding or an engagement function. This combo has a formal feel to it and you can wear it during evening functions when the air is a bit chilly.
Dhoti Style #12: Dhoti With A Leather Jacket
Who would have thought to combine these two classic pieces of clothing? In the above images, the combination of the Dhoti with a jacket looks stunning and is sure to attract a lot of eyeballs wherever you go wearing this combo. This is the perfect indo-western outfit involving a dhoti.
Did You Know?
In 2019 when Abhijieet Banerjee won the Nobel prize in Economics Sciences, he wore a Dhoti paired with a bandhgala jacket to the awards ceremony to pay tribute to the Indian heritage attire.
Dhoti Style #13: Dhoti With Side-Knot Kurta
If you want to try out a different style of kurta with a dhoti for men, you can go for a side-knot kurta. This combo looks very traditional and is sure to attract some attention when you wear it.
We hope that this compilation about the ‘Types Of Dhotis’ and ‘Different Styles Of Dhoti‘ taught you something new today. With this small effort, we aim to inspire more and more people not only from India but from all parts of the world to try this awesome traditional garment and make it a part of their wardrobe.