What are the types of dresses you know ? Did you know about "panjagajam veshthi" and "onbodhu gajam madisaar saree" ? Well, am sure you must have heard about Indian dresses and I do agree that the actual traditional dresses of South India are not easy to wear but they are classy. The normal dhotis, sarees, chudidaar, and etc, are not what I am here to talk about. I want to tell you about the type of dress people wear in an iyer family. 

A "panchagajam veshthi" is as the name claims, "pancha" meaning five, and "gajam" meaning square yard, it is an area measurement unit. So, a panchagajam veshti is a five yard cloth which is worn by the man in a very creative and a crafty style. 

The image on the left side is a panchagajam veshthi. It has a 5 yard cloth which has been wrapped around the waist. The process is a little tricky so it has been explained in videos instead of pictures. This is worn by brahmins in all social occasions, like a marriage, upanayanam (the sacred thread ceremony). Not all the guest wear this attire but the hosts generally stay in this attire. 

A veshti had certain advantages which a pant or a short cannot offer. First of all they do not stick so tight on out legs, so it provides a better air circulation. It is free to move around in a veshti as it adjusts its length according to the position you sit in. 

One of the major issue I faced with a veshthi is the constant fear that it might just come off at any time. Though they are not that foolishly tied, there still existed a petty fear in my mind as to when the breeze might be powerfull enough to take my veshthi along with it. A person imagines to look something like this in a veshthi, 

but, most of the guys end up looking like

This is not what we are limited to wear in a social occasions. We are free to choose from all the dresses available but this is the traditional one for brahmin men. When there exists such a variety for the non demanding population of men, obviously, women are bound to have a bigger and a more complex one. 

In a social event like a marriage, naming ceremony, sacred thread ceremony, etc, the hostess would wear "onbodhu gajam madisaar saree". When panchagajam meant five yards, onbodhu gajam refers to nine yards. And the complexity is also two fold. Similar videos are available on youtube for reference as they also could not be easily explained pictorially. 

So, if you have any questions regarding any south Indian dresses, ask below. And if you would like to write about anything in particular, do mention in the comments section. Thank you for taking time to read my article, I hope you liked it. 

Published by Aravindha Krishnan