Traditional Dress of Karnataka [Men & Women]

We don’t need to explain just how culturally rich of a state Karnataka is, right? And the main part of culture is of course the people, who actually preserve it. Well, that is pretty much the case when you visit any city, small town, or even a village in this state. You’ll find everyone respecting their culture, especially they like to express it by wearing the traditional dress of Karnataka. And today, we are here to explore just that because here we will be taking a good look at the traditional dress of Karnataka for men and women. Alright, here we go.

Traditional Dress of Karnataka for Men

1. Panche (Dhoti)

dhoti kurta

The Panche, also known as the dhoti, is a key piece of clothing in Karnataka’s culture. It is normally made of silk or cotton cloth and is long enough up to the ankle, and tied around the waist. Fabricated from light and breathable materials, Panche is an ideal dressing component during the scorching hot weather in South India. Soft and flexible, the piece of Panche can be worn daily or even during that special day of one’s life, from marriages to religious events.

2. Angavastram (Stole or Muffler)


The Angavastram, a type of stole, goes with the Panche to complete the traditional look. It is usually worn across the shoulders, mostly made from the same material as the Panche. It is normally draped on one shoulder or across the neck. An Angavastram sure adds some form of seriousness and class to the dressing.

3. Mysore Peta (Headgear)


The Mysore Peta is an important part of traditional attire in Karnataka, similar to a turban. Usually, it is of silk and decorated with threads of gold. It symbolizes royalty and honor, being sported by the Mysore kings and noblemen. Now, Mysore Peta is worn at celebrations representing respect for the pride of culture. Mysore Peta is not just an accessory that one can put on their head, it reflects the piece of history of the royal heritage of Karnataka.

4. Kupya (Traditional Jacket)

The Kupya is a traditional jacket specific to the Kodagu community in Karnataka. The coat is knee-length and is worn on top of a shirt and traditional Panche. Made of either cotton or wool, Kupya are commonly worn during formal occasions, more so when the groom needs to stand out during a wedding. The style is so unique that it gives a cultural identity to the Kodagu people.

Traditional Dress of Karnataka for Women

1. Mysore Silk Sarees

One of Karnataka’s most cherished contributions to Indian textiles is the Mysore silk saree. These saris come all the way from the royal city of Mysore. It is made from pure silk and has detailed designs made using pure gold thread. Mysore silk sarees are light and shiny in look, making them very popular for festive occasions and marriages. It adds grace to the traditional Karnataka wedding ceremony.

2. Ilkal Sarees

Now, from the northern part of Karnataka, Ilkal sarees carry a distinctive charm attributed to their unique weaving technique and design. Sometimes, these sarees are also woven by mixing cotton and silk fiber. They are characterized by their sharp contrasting color and geometrical bold pattern. The lower part of the saree’s end, usually called the pallu, has stripes of red and white that contain important motifs reflective of the culture of the area.

3. Kanchipuram Sarees

While originally from Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram sarees have found a special place in Karnataka’s traditional wardrobe, especially during significant ceremonies and religious events. Woven with very heavy silk, intricate borders, and gold threadwork. Most of the time, these designs included images of temples, flowers, and even stories from mythology, hence turning each piece into a masterpiece.

4. Giri Kumkum Bridal Sarees

Specific to Karnataka, Giri Kumkum sarees are specially crafted for brides. The rich texture and deep red color symbolize prosperity and marital bliss. When you see a bride adorned in a Giri Kumkum saree, you are witnessing a centuries-old tradition that celebrates the beauty and sanctity of marriage.

5. Silk Skirts and Tops

Apart from sarees, young girls and unmarried women in Karnataka often wear silk skirts paired with matching tops. This attire is quite popular for cultural festivals and private events with extended families. The fabric is of a very light texture compared to a sari, hence, they can easily move around gracefully with style.


As you saw, the people of Karnataka are well aware of how to preserve their culture by expressing it truly in their daily attire. It seems to be the case with pretty much any other state in India. So yes, we’ll meet you in the next one, in some other state, exploring the local culture and their traditional dress.

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