Costumes of Nepal: Dresses of Nepal: Nepalese Costumes

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Costumes of Nepal: Dresses of Nepal: Nepalese Costumes

This post is about the costumes of Nepal. We give you some information about the dresses of Nepal or Nepalese costumes. What people wear in Nepal? What are Nepali dresses? What do the people in Nepal wear? What is regarded as the national dresses of Nepal? Some names are enlisted from Traditional Nepali clothes.

Costumes of Nepal Dresses Nepali Childrens in USA cultural program Image
Costumes (Dresses) of Nepal – Nepali Children in the USA are preparing for cultural program

National costumes of Nepal are really good and attractive different from other countries. Costumes of Nepal are most beautiful and meaningful than others. The custom, family, food and clothing and other traditional rites and rituals of Nepalese people are associated with the economic condition, cultural environment and geographical diversity of the country.

The lifestyles are different in different places due to geographical diversity, religion, and language. Cultural diversity can be observed in the birth, death, and marriage among different communities. Join the family system is very popular in Nepal. There are many examples where three or four generations live in a large family. It is also found that the nuclear family has been getting popularity in urban areas since long.


The clothes are used according to their geographical belt in Nepal. People of the mountain belt wear thick and long woolen clothes called Bakku and Docha. The people of the hilly region wear Kachhar, Bhoto and cap.

The Terai people wear Dhoti and long shirt called Kurta. The Mayalposh Suruwal, coat and cap are the national dress of Nepalese people. Fariya (sari) and Cholo (Blouse) are popular among the Terai females.

Women wear dresses also Patuka and Shawl called Panchhyyaura. Besides our national attire, people use western dresses and clothes, too in Nepal.

Different dresses worn in the different ecological belts. Nepali dresses of different parts of Nepal. Traditional Nepali clothes

Nepali dresses according to the geographically
Costumes (Males)Costumes (Female)
TeraiDhoti, Kamij, Kurta, Bhangua and Jhuluwa, GhamchhaGunyu, Cholo, Blouse
HillDaura, Suruwal, Patuka, Bhoto, Topi, Coat, PhetaGhalek (Gurung), Patasi (Newar), Pasmina, Dhoti Cholo, Majestro, Kurta and Salawar
MountainBakkhu, Docha, Shyamhu, LukaniBakkhu, Dochha, Pangen.

All about Daura Surwal

Daura Suruwal is the name of the traditional Nepalese male dress. Daura Suruwal consists of a shirt with sleeves that reaches the knees that close at the sides, pants, and shoes called Docha. Politicians and government officials still use Daura Suruwal daily.  Various aspects of clothing have a religious significance for Buddhist and Hindu practitioners in Nepal.

These include the five folds of the shirt that represent Pancha Buddha or Pancha Ratna, the closed collar that represents the snake around Shiva’s neck and the eight loops used to tie the shirt, which is a fortunate number in Buddhism and Hinduism.

Daura Suruwal has been a national dress for Nepal for many years. It is also known as “Labeda Suruwal”. The dress has been worn by Nepalese men for centuries. The coat was added to the top by Jang Bahadur Rana, Nepal’s prime minister in the 19th century.

It was presented as a warm gift by the Queen of England. The tradition of wearing a coat in the Daura Suruwal began. From then on, the tradition of dressing Daura with Suruwal became Daura Suruwal and Coat. The men dress Daura Suruwal in the Easta coat (waistcoat) too. This combination is a kind of informal wear. Daura is the top wear and Suruwal is the trouser. Daura Suruwal has several religious beliefs that identify its designs and remained the same for centuries.

The Daura (the upper part) has eight strings called Astamatrika-Singini in the following ways.

  • Chamunda
  • Kaumari
  • Barahi
  • Brahmhi
  • Indrayani
  • Maheshowri
  • Byasnabi
  • Mahalaxmi

Those eight links are used to tie around the body and eight is a number of fortune according to Eastern mythology. The Daura has five folds or Kallis, which means Pancha Buddha or Pancha Ratna. And the closed neck of the Daura means the serpent around the neck of Lord Shiva.

The Dhaka topi, which is worn with Daura’s surwal, a jacket and a sleeveless vest (vest) complete the set that forms the Nepali national dress. The Daura, also called the labeda more conservatively, is worn on the upper half of the body like a shirt, but without buttons or a zipper.

Instead, there are four ties across; two slightly above the chest near the shoulders, and two near the waist. Suruwal, on the other hand, means “pajamas” in Nepali, except that when it is together with the Daura it is stitiched very loose above the thighs and its huge waist is pulled tightly and bunched on top.

Daura suruwal Nepali nationa Dress custume for men male
A boy at Daura Suruwal dress

The Suruwal decreases considerably as it flows downward to fit firmly on the ankles. Given its design, putting on Suruwal dauara is, for an inexperienced user, a punishing trial (although not as complicated as a woman’s sari). Even for those who have been using it for a long time, donning the Suruwal can put your patience to the test.

That difficulty, among other reasons, forced the people of various city, as in most of the others, to embrace the modern pants and shirt and renounce the Suruwal Daura. However, many older Nepalis who prefer pants and a western-style shirt, who do not throw the tantrums put forth  by Daura surwal still wear the colorful Dhaka topi or a Bhadgaunle black topi (a Bhadgaun hat,).

This topis is not fashionable, nor are they fashionable. And with their similar patterns, almost all topi look the same, so they were not very unique either. Why, then, is Dhaka topi so popular among Nepalese? The topi, apparently, is the last shelter of something that defines the Nepalese nationality and identity.


It is quite difficult to trace the exact origins of Daura Suruwal, a garment that seems to be very derived from the clothing culture of Central Asia and the Middle East. Its origins can be traced back to the Hindukush mountain of Tajikistan in regard to its design and development.

A coat and Bhadgaule topi or Dhaka topi are essential to complete the Nepalese look. Daura Suruwal and its journey go back to Peshawar, Kashmir to Nepal through Afghanistan.

The most notable clue to this is the Karakul hat worn by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, which has a strange resemblance to the Nepalese topi. The Daura-Suruwal-Topi was carried by Khash migrations from the Caucasians of Central Asia, through Hindu Kush, and finally to the Himalayas of northwestern Nepal.

Settling in the high hills and valleys such as the districts of Jumla, Humla, Bajura and Bajhang in northwestern Nepal, they adopted overlapping, overlapping tunics to keep their bodies warm in the cold weather conditions of the Himalayas.

It is not so difficult to notice the influence of Central Asia. It is known that the Mongolian, Chinese and Tibetan cultures wear overlapping garments of various lengths and thicknesses. The Kiratis have put on top overlapping garments of various thickness and lengths.

The mandatory Patuki, before the arrival of the coat and the waistcoat, helped to turn the upper part into a large pocket, which makes it especially easy to transport and hide the Nepalese weapon of choice, Khukuri.

On the other hand, Suruwal is simple to sew, the volume at the waist provides a simple solution for various waist sizes. Several additional centimeters are cut when deciding the length of the Suruwal.

The Malla kings of Nepal were religious and practitioners of the Tantric sect of Hinduism and Buddhism. It is during the reign of the Malla dynasty that the Daura Suruwal attained religious attributions.

Daura has eight strings, since eight is considered an auspicious number, which is known as Astamatrika-Singini. It serves to tie Daura around the body. Daura has five folds or Kallis, which means Pancha Buddha or Pancha Ratna.

Daura Suruwal of this time was similar to the angrakha of India in terms of length and volume, with a waist seam for added fullness. Patuki, a piece of cloth approximately five meters long that is worn around the waist, was a necessity. When we compare the Daura Suruwal used by the monarchs of Nepal, we can observe the maximum fullness in which Prithvi Narayan Shah worn.

The length, however, seems to be shorter compared to that worn by the Malla Kings. The seam of the waist and additional fullness gradually diminishes and disappears completely at the time of Surendra Bikram Shah. Several paintings of this time show soldiers dressed in the classic Daura Suruwal, which later was called Labeda Suruwal.

The Ranas are credited with the modern version of Daura Suruwal. It is believed that Jang Bahadur Rana received the English jacket as a gift from the Queen of England during his visit. After returning from the trip abroad, he ordered all his “Praja” to put on a jacket over Daura Suruwal for all formal occasions.

Although the national dress was not declared at that time, it was widely accepted as the formal dress code not written among the aristocrats.

Prime Minister Bir Shamsher Rana declared Daura Suruwal as the national dress and ordered all ordinary Nepalese to wear it at all formal occasions. Until that time, it is said, commoners were restricted from wearing Daura Suruwal to maintain class distinction.

After the fall of the Rana regime, King Tribhuvan continued the tradition of using the combination of Daura Suruwal, topi and coat for all formal occasions.

In 2017, King Mahendra, under his movement of nationalism, made Daura Suruwal mandatory for all officials. This consolidated the place of the Nepali topi as part of the national costume. The shape, length and volume of the garment remain unchanged.

How Daura Suruwal become National dress

According to legend, when Prime Minister Junga Bahadur Rana, the architect of Rana’s supremacy in Nepal, arrived in London on his trips to Europe in the late 1840s, he felt cold. He and the other Nepalese officers who were with him wore the official dress of that time (not a national dress), which included Daura Suruwal and a black topi.

The official outfit did not include a jacket or a sleeveless vest, not even the now popular Dhaka topi. The sleeveless vest (vest) in the common language is called ista coat, a term probably distorted from the word East, in comparison with the term waist (cape), which was more like the West, with which people did not want to associate during those times.

On the ship to England, when Junga Bahadur saw Bengalis wearing a vest and a sleeveless jacket over their dhotis, he was encouraged to try them on the Suruwal Daura. He borrowed a vest and a jacket from the ship’s crew and when he saw in a mirror how well it looked on him, he was convinced and wore the combination of Daura surwal, vest, and jacket throughout his visit to Europe.

After he returned to Nepal in 1849, Junga Bahadur ordered all his relatives to do the same and had them wear a jacket over Daura Suruwal on all formal occasions. Much later, in 1885 AD, when Bir Shamsher Rana became Prime Minister, the Daura suruwal was declared a national attire and the ordinary Nepalese were ordered to use it on all formal occasions.

  • Daura Suruwal was announced as a national dress for men in government services and other national programs in 2017 B.S. Daura Suruwal had a great rhythm of development in those years. Very few Nepalese now use Daura Suruwal.
  • After 2046 B, none of the elected or interim governments can define and announce any national dress. Now, there is no such dress or uniform that we can officially designate as Nepalese. We still consider Daura Suruwal as a national dress of Nepal.
  • Now Daura Suruwal is now confined only to the list of national signs and the groom’s wedding dress.
  • None of the members of the constitutional assembly or of any leader hardly wear a uniform, as we can say nationally. The new generation can hardly own a pair of Daura-Suruwal.

We are slowly forgetting our traditional values ​​and nationalities. We love Daura Suruwal and all the traditional Nepalese dresses from Mountain, Hill, and Terai. At least we can announce something like our national dress representing Nepal. There must be something we should use and say that this is “Nepalese”.

  • Once the national dress, young men now only wear it sometimes at weddings. But, Daura Suruwal is still an ethnic fashion statement.
  • King Mahendra, undoubtedly the most patriotic of the Nepali kings, made the Daura Suruwal mandatory for all public officials on and off the land in the mid-twentieth century.
  • These days, there is a revival of pride in the many cultures that make up Nepalese society, which means that more men are inclined to wear dresses according to their own cultures. But, the Daura Suruwal still has its place. For example, in the recent visit of the Prime Minister to India, he was proudly dressed in a Daura Suruwal. One could say that the Daura Suruwal is the uniform of Nepalese political figures.
  • The Daura Suruwal looks elegant on anyone. Actually, it is a simple outfit, according to the simple nature of the Nepalese.

Costumes of Nepal: Dresses of Nepal: Nepalese Costumes

Costumes of Nepal: Dresses of Nepal: Nepalese Costumes
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I am Jitendra Sahayogee, a Writer of 12 Nepali Books, Director of Maithili films, Founder of Radio Stations, Designer of Websites and Editor of Some Nepali Blogs.


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  1. In Nepali dresses according to geography what is ‘Toni’ in the hill means.. I might suggest you to correct that as Topi else people will miss-read it…