Mekhela Chador | Assamese Traditional Dress

I am in a writing slump these days. Trust me I try. There are about three posts that I am in the middle of writing but having difficulty in gathering my thoughts or arrange them properly. So here’s a photo-blog that I hope you will enjoy. Presenting before you Mekhela Chador (sador) – a traditional Assamese dress worn by the women in Assam (India).

Bihu is not just a festival, it is an emotion. It doesn’t help when you are living thousands of miles away from home and all you have got are memories of Gheela pitha and Narikol Laru (coconut ladoo). I craved for pitha so badly on Magh Bihu, which is celebrated on 15th January, that all day long I looked at recipes and photos of pitha while rambling to my sister on a video call.

I didn’t get a chance to wear traditional clothes on the 15th, so I decided to wear this beautiful silk Mekhela Chador on the weekend and have my husband take some photos. My sister had especially bought it for me from a popular store in my hometown and sent it through my parents. That was two years ago.

Quite frankly, I am not really good at wearing traditional wear. I did my best to do justice to this beautiful clothing.

Although it looks like a Saree, Mekhela Chador consists of two parts. The bottom part is cylindrical and called Mekhela. Usually, three pleats are made and tucked inside a petticoat (underskirt). I could manage only two pleats. The top part is called Chador and is draped around the upper body. You can either wear it with pleats (photo with red Mekhela Chador) or let the pallu hang over your arm.

Assamese girl in mekhela chador - traditional assamese dress

My sister also custom made the jewellery and sent it along with the dress. She obviously knows me the best. I don’t wear or buy jewellery so I hardly have anything to match the dress.

Assamese girl in mekhela chador
Assamese girl in mekhela chador

Growing up I was not into wearing traditional dresses at all. I hated the idea of wearing a saree or Mekhela chador because it was so restrictive. Now that I am an adult, I have grown to love traditional clothes even though I barely get a chance to wear them. With age, I gained the maturity to admire their intricate beauty, the cultural importance and appreciate the work of weavers who produce them.

Related Post – Red Wedding – Traditional Mekhela Chador

14 thoughts on “Mekhela Chador | Assamese Traditional Dress

  1. Gosh this looks like a saree only- I cannot distinguish between the two pieces being separate. You look awesome Raji and your sister is truly the best!!

  2. I think that sounds like an easier to manage version of a saree. You look gorgeous in it. I used to love wearing traditional clothes while growing up. Now I prefer a pair of jeans and a top. So much less of a hassle they are to wash and maintain. 😀

  3. You look stunning, Raj. When I saw the photos in Instagram I thought it was a sari. Only after reading this I realized that there two different pieces of clothes involved. I think it’s like our ‘mundum veshtiyum’ (kind of like a half-sari, but not exactly!) worn in Kerala, it looks like a normal Kerala sari, but there are two different pieces that make the whole outfit.

  4. I love the colour on you. I also have two Mekhela chadors. I can’t seem to get the chador properly though. My neighbor in Guwahati always helps me with it. I love traditional wear now but no place to wear it these days.

    1. I could never get it right. Had to look for a YouTube tutorial. My sister told me to learn to make a triangle. And i was like – what triangle 😅

    1. Thank you. Yeah, it is like half saree, but one really can’t differentiate when both mekhela and chador are of same color. It looks like saree except for pleats. You can only make like two or three pleats in mekhela.

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