Traditional Dress of Manipur [Men and Women]

Manipur, one of the seven sisters of the northeast, is known for its rich cultural heritage. The traditional dress of Manipur for men and women reflects the state’s exquisite grace and elegance. It surely will leave a long-lasting impression on the people who see it. The special attention to minute details is extraordinary and unique. Outfits are vibrant yet distinctive. Here are some insights into the traditional dresses of the Manipur state that mainly focus on simplicity yet are incredibly stylish.

Traditional Dress of Manipur for Women

1. Mayek Naibi

Mayek Naibi

Mayek Naibi holds a cultural significance in the traditional dresses of Manipuri womens. In the phanek( a skirt wrapped around the waist), a decorative strap is attached at the hem of the fabric. This fabric is usually handwoven with a mixture of contrast and mismatching colors. It is then attached to the main garment fabric. Mayek Naibi is a creative work of Manipuri designers and weavers, symbolizing their love for their culture. These are the famous traditional dress of Manipur women that proudly displays their state’s customs and beliefs.

2. Potloi

Potloi is a pretty, adorable bell-shaped skirt with geometric mirrors, beads and sequins. They arrive in rich red, pink and green colors, adorned with a modified cylindrical look. It is an ancient traditional Manipur dress worn by women in the 1700’s. Moreover, this charming attire is worn during classical dances like Ras Lila. The attractive bright colors of the Potloi mirror present the arts and traditions of the Manipur state.

3. Phanek

Manipuri dress like phanek are like sarong but not semi-transparent. They are handwoven garments made of cotton, synthetic and silk. Womens mainly pair it with an upper cloth and a mini blouse. Mostly comfortable during summer and spring, this ethnic wear is equivalent to a North Indian block-printed saree.

4. Inaphi

Inaphi is a vital part of the traditional Manipuri attire. A shawl draped over the upper body and paired with a top or a blouse. Delicate silk and cotton decorate the dress’s alluring design, flora, and fauna patterns. All these intricate patterns resemble the more robust connection to nature.

5. Kunjim

Kunjim is a simple yet elegant top paired with Phanek. It is a famous traditional dress of Manipur known for its comfort and lightweight. Kunjim portrays the balance between simple elegance and detailed patterns. This traditional Manipuri attire would make the wearer proud and happy with its fancy innovation.

6. Chin-Phi and Lai-Phi

Chin-Phi and Lai-Phi are traditional shawls worn with the famous Phanek curls around a Lai-Phi blouse. Local folk stories and nature inspire its intricate patterns and unique handwoven design. These are not just ordinary traditional dress of Manipur state but are worn during special occasions such as weddings and festivals. Chin-Phi is a beautiful, colorful blouse paired with an embroidered panel. Meanwhile, the Lai-Phi is an aesthetic white cloth with yellow borders. If both combinations are paired correctly, the wearer will look charming.

Traditional Dresses of Manipuri Men

1. Dhoti- phagri and kurta

The traditional dress of Manipuri men typically involves a white dhoti with a clean kurta. This dhoti resonates with regular Bengali dhotis. Many Manipuri communities drape it around their waist and legs. It is pretty comfortable and helps make free movements. Pagri (Turban) marks a symbol of respect and honor and adds a beautiful essence to the traditional dress of the Manipur state. People wear phagris to ceremonies and formal events.

2. Attires of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Community

The traditional dresses of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Community people have a special tint of essence in them. The Women of this community wear traditional skirt Rigum. It comes in bright colors and shows the unique weaving talent of the community. Risa is a shawl wrapped over the upper body paired with a blouse. The fine fabric and beautifully designed attire complement the rest of the outfit. Meanwhile, the traditional dresses of Bishnupriya Manipuri men are similar to those of the Meitei Manipuris.


Although the traditional dress of Manipur displays charm, elegance and comfort, only a few prefer to wear them. Over time, Manipur’s daily wear remains Western, but the Manipuri crowd looks dazzling in their traditional attires during the festive season. Modern generations have draped the phanek with a top and jacket, showcasing creativity. This is truly inspiring as the youth can find the balance between ongoing time and cultivating a shining beacon of hope for their traditional wears.

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