It is said by many people that if you need to have a look at the culture of any state in India, look at certain aspects. And one of these aspects is the traditional dresses of the state. Did this come as a shocking statement to you? But this is true! The traditional dresses of Karnataka are a true depiction of their culture. A person or an enthusiast who wants to know more about the culture of Karnataka can study its traditional dresses too.
Over the years, there have been some tweaks and changes that can be seen in their attire but the major portion remains as it is. Clothes that these people wear according to their tradition show how simple and elegant life they had. All their clothes reflect simplicity and elegance at the least. So, let’s quickly have a look at some of their most popular attire.
List of 11 most popular traditional dresses of Karnataka you should wear in 2023
This attire needs no introduction because you might have already worn it somewhere or the other. But here we are not talking about the designer Kurtas or Dhotis that you wear in marriages or other big functions. Rather we want to tell you that this is a traditional costume of Karnataka where white dhoti with golden stripes on the front edge and a simple plain kurta is worn. This attire is popular throughout the country and many other states have this in their culture and books.
According to the complete attire, you get an elegant look that shows the simplicity of a person. People here call this attire a dress of humbleness and something that has been worn in India from ages.
2. Panche or Dhoti
This is nothing else than a lungi which is worn in a different style. In other places, it is called lungi, dhoti, and by other names. Panche is one of the most worn and prominent dresses of Karnataka; even today. Karnataka shares its boundaries with Kerala and Tamil Nadu which can be the reason for the influence of this attire. But that doesn’t mean Kannada people have completely copied their style. If you look closely, they have a different style to wear this (talking about their authentic dress.)
Panche is paired with either a shirt or a kurta or angavastram. You too can have a look at these different combinations to choose the best amongst them for wearing.
3. Mysore Peta
If you are scratching your head thinking about Mysore Peta because it sounds more like a dish; then let us tell you that it is a hat. Or to say it better, a Mysore Peta is a customary hat that you can see people wearing too often. It is more like a pagdi that was common and popular amongst the kings of India. The Peta has been an important and integral part of the dresses of Karnataka since forever now.
There are different kinds of Peta styles and all of them look elegant. You can check the options that are available because there are some with artificial pearls and other items. Some have feathers too!
4. Kanchipuram Sarees
Although girls have a huge variety in terms of attire options, one amongst them are Kanchipuram Sarees. The elegance of designs and work on these sarees is what makes it a perfect dress for women. It flaunts a broad border and very minutely done handwork. The fabulous designs, smooth art, and rich texture of these sarees make it special and expensive too. One of the best Kanchipuram Saree is known to be very expensive, keeping in mind the material and work that’s done on it.
But you will see many women wearing it. But majority ladies wear these sarees in special events, celebrations, occasions, or during a festival.
5. Kodagu saree
Actually, it’s not about the saree but the way it is worn by the ladies of this community in Karnataka. Kodagu Saree is the simple cloth that you see in the market but the women here make all the pleats of the back of their pallu and then tie it together. The pallu is then attached with the shoulder using a pin.
Kodagu Sarees are usually made of silk or cotton and they are highly expressive. Initially, a color of these sarees was given to the occasion it was worn for. Red was known to be the happiest color and was worn by ladies during special events.
6. Ilkal sarees
Even if you search the history of Karnataka, you will find ladies happily wearing sarees and nothing else. Except for the gowns that were worn by the elite class. One of the most popular sarees in the state is Ilkal sarees. This is also deeply rooted in the culture of the state and was firstly worn by the people of the Bagalkot district.
Not just the women, but even younger girls also start wearing this attire. The pallu of this saree is known to be heavy and has embroidery and prints. You can see the same pattern on the bottom side of the saree. Women visiting temples have to mandatorily wear this saree. And the same goes for young girls who follow the traditions of their family.
7. Bridal sarees made of Giri Kumkum
Actually, the brides of these states follow their traditions and they have a specially made saree. And the brides who wear this saree is made of Giri Kumkum. And when you dig into this further, you will see that this dress is worn by brides in different regions of the country. The texture and feel of this fabric are quite different.
8. Mysore Silk Sarees
Another very popular and beautiful saree that’s worn by the women of Karnataka is the Mysore Silk Sarees. But over time, the likings of this saree spread like fire in the entire country. And you will see people from different states wearing it. And to top it all, you can wear pure gold jewelleries to add onto its beauty.
9. Ilkal Sari
Ilkal Sari, a traditional and distinctive garment from Karnataka, is renowned for its unique and vibrant appearance. These saris are predominantly woven in the town of Ilkal in Bagalkot district, and they hold a special place in Karnataka’s heritage. The defining feature of an Ilkal Sari is its striking contrast borders and pallu (the loose end of the sari), which are typically in bright and contrasting colors like red, yellow, or maroon, set against a plain or subtly patterned body.
Ilkal saris are woven using cotton and silk threads, making them comfortable and suitable for both daily wear and special occasions. The pallu often features intricate geometric or temple-style motifs, adding to the sari’s charm. These saris are cherished not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their cultural significance, making them a treasured part of Karnataka’s traditional attire.
10. Kasuti Embroidery Dress
Kasuti embroidery is a traditional craft hailing from the state of Karnataka. Kasuti is known for its intricate and ornate patterns created using bright silk threads on fabrics like cotton and silk. This labor-intensive embroidery style is often used to embellish sarees, blouses, and other garments. Kasuti motifs typically consist of geometric shapes, like lotus flowers, conch shells, and chariots, meticulously stitched to create visually stunning designs.
The embroidery is often performed with great precision, showcasing the artisan’s skill and attention to detail. Kasuti embroidery dresses are not only a celebration of Karnataka’s rich cultural heritage but also a testament to the artistry and dedication of the craftsmen.
11. Kunbi Sari
The Kunbi Sari is a traditional garment originating from Karnataka. It is a symbol of simplicity and elegance. Typically made from cotton, the Kunbi Sari is plain in design, featuring a single color with minimal embellishments. What sets it apart is its unique draping style. Unlike the conventional sari drapes, the Kunbi Sari is wrapped in such a way that it forms a pair of pants with a pleated pallu. This distinctive style provides comfort and ease of movement, making it well-suited for daily chores and agricultural work, which are often associated with the Kunbi community. The Kunbi Sari, while simple, represents the cultural identity of the region and holds historical significance.
Which of the above-mentioned dresses have you already worn? And which of these would you love to try at least once in your lifetime? As we have already told you in the very first paragraph that Karnataka is a place where people believe in simplicity and humbleness. That completely reflects in their culture, tradition, and their attire too. On your next visit to Karnataka do look for the best and most authentic shops if you desire to buy any of these dresses.
So, let us know in the comment section if you believe we missed out on a good traditional costume of Karnataka. And mention its name too! We will have a look and include it in our list.