All About Gurung Dress: – Gurungs are mountain people who live on the southern slopes of the Himalayas in central Nepal. In their language, they are called “Tamu” (Ta means thunder, mu symbolizes paradise).
Its origins are uncertain, although they are of Mongoloid origin and their ancestors could have migrated to their current position from Tibet about 2000 years ago.
The Gurung tradition holds that in ancient times it emerged among the many small kingdoms and states that existed at the foot of the Himalayas, a kingdom of the Gurungs, ruled by a “Ghale Rājā”. This kingdom was conquered by a neighboring Rāja in the fifteenth century.
During the sixteenth century, it was incorporated into the expansion of the Gurkha empire of the Shah dynasty. The Gurung served as soldiers in the armies of the Shah kings, including Prithvi Narayan Shah, who conquered the Kathmandu valley in 1768 and completed the unification of Nepal.
Gurung Dress / Clothing
Traditional Gurung men’s clothing consists of a blouse (bhoto) tied with laces on the front of the body and a garment in the shape of a skirt (JAMA) that wraps the waist up to the center of the thigh. A long piece of cloth is tied around the waist like a belt (in which a khukhri can slide).
The typical Nepalese cap (topī) completes the dress. A woolen blanket is utilized during the timr of winter or in wet weather to keep the wearer warm and dry. Western-style clothes are commonly worn by younger generations, particularly by young people who have served in the military.
The Gurung women wear a blouse which is called as cholo in their language that is tied on the front, over a long pleated skirt called phariyā, that is usually dark red. A band is wrapped around the waist and a head cloth completes the outfit.
The ghalek is a cloth that hangs from a shoulder to the opposite waist, forming a bag to carry things. The ornaments include large and heavy silver earrings that stretch the earlobes, nose rings and square amulets that hang from a necklace of glass beads called vase necklaces. Bracelets and anklets are also used. Many women now use sārī.
Meaning of Rupa: the sacred thread used in Gurung dress.
All Gurung carries a generally yellow thread around the neck, called rupa or pahrenru a Tamu. It has nine strands and nine knots for men and seven strands and seven knots for women in the name of nine and seven souls (plaha).
It is used significantly to protect yourself from evil spirits, religious purification processes and, fundamentally, to counteract any miserable general of the person who uses the thread. (vi) Gunyo-choli Only one chhaewar is performed for a child, a girl receives ‘gunyo’ and ‘choli’ and is also called nea baby at Tamu after she has completed her 12 years (lohokor in Tamu).
The gunyo-choli represents a woman’s dress and means the coming of a young Gurung at the age. The community acknowledges that it has become an adult and can take on social and cultural responsibilities.
On this occasion, she is told a story about the life cycle, as well as the duties and responsibilities of a woman towards her family and society. Called hya kai in Tamu, it means the songs of life or the psalm of life. This song is an illustration of the different natural environments that represent nature and care. At the end of the ceremony, a party is organized in the village and everyone warmly greets it.
What makes Gurungs wear such dresses?
The Gurung have traditionally been peasants, growing resistant crops in terraced fields in the hills. Millet and corn are your basic cereals. Wheat, buckwheat, barley, and potatoes are also grown, as well as legumes, green beans, and other vegetables.
Rice is increasingly important in Gurung agriculture. At higher altitudes, sheep are reared for meat and wool. Each Gurung family has some sheep, and the villages employ shepherds to care for the flocks in the villages. The shepherds, who use the mastiffs as shepherd dogs, migrate with their herds to alpine pastures in the summer.
They return to the villages in time to celebrate the Dasain festival. Each family sacrifices a sheep in Dasain and organizes a big party. After Dasain, the sheep are brought to the heat of the lower valleys.
Gurungs who do not leave their villages to serve in the Gurkha regiments of Great Britain and India often participate in trade through the Himalayas that historically have been important in Nepal’s economy.
The salt, wool, and cattle of Tibet are exchanged for food grains and artifacts from India. The excess of money generated by employment abroad has led many Gurungs to leave their camps and villages to live in local cities such as Pokhara. There, they invest in properties, buy stores and manage transportation companies and other commercial activities.
The people of Gurung live in villages of approximately 150 to 200 houses located high up in mountain ranges and hills. The entrance can be indicated by a row of flowers along the route. On the outskirts of the village, there are often temples or sanctuaries for local gods, with flowers or sacrificial remains in front of them.
The village itself is a labyrinth of narrow winding alleys, although a small shop or a tea stall can provide meeting places for the inhabitants. The houses of Gurung are quite small and can have a round, oval or rectangular shape. They are built in stone, cemented and plastered with mud. The roofs can be straw or slate.
Gurung houses are commonly two stories, with a gallery along one side. The upper level is used for storage, while the lower room is used for living and sleeping. The walls are lined with shelves to hold pots, plates, and other household utensils.
There is some furniture and one sits or squat on the floor. People sleep on hardwood beds or on rugs. The cooking is done in a wood fire in a well sunk in the ground, with a tripod to hang the pots. Few houses have latrines and the villagers go to the outskirts of town to relax. Although many villages have already transported water, transporting water to the home was a domestic task that took a long time.
According to Nepalese standards, the Gurung are quite rich. This additional income, along with military pensions, allows families to accumulate surplus cash. Many Gurung in this position migrates from their ancestral villages to cities such as Pokhara, where they have access to urban services and better economic opportunities.
Gurung Dress For Female
Gurung is one of the 59 indigenous nationalities in Nepal living on the lower regions of Annapurna, Machhapuchre mountain run. The name Gurung is gotten from the Tibetan word ‘Grong’ which means ranchers. Gurung are also called as ‘Tamu’ called horseman in the Tibetan language. They are thickly populated in Kaski, Lamjung, Mustang, Manang, Gorkha, Parbat and Shyanja region.
As indicated by 2011 Census, the absolute populace of Gurung is 5, 22,641. They are animists or adherents of the Bon-religion, which is Shamanistic and animistic in nature. Their oral content is called Pye (Uthon) and their customary religious sacred writing is known as Pye-ta Lhu-ta which contains oral records of their conventional history.
As per their legend, the Gurung were a meandering clan that crossed west crosswise over Tibet before their entrance into Mustang. Their Tibetan Sojourn pre-dates the presentation of Buddhism there in the seventh century as the Gurung religious customs are essentially animistic.
They commend their galas and celebrations and complete the services and practices identified with love, birth, demise and marriage as per the Bon and Buddhist religion.
Loshar is the primary and greatest celebration of Gurung, watched it as a New Year toward the finish of December, as indicated by the old schedule of western Tibet. Their principle occupation is creature farming, including the raising of sheep and chasing.
Of late they have a distinction of joining British armed force and prestigious as Gorkha fighter. As far as their living, Gurung are isolated into highlanders and lowlanders. Highlanders are the individuals who are living on the slants of Himalayas who still depend vigorously on a peaceful and horticultural lifestyle.
They look like that of Tibetans as far as religious convictions and social practices. The lowlander Gurungs are more impacted by Hindu religion, who have moved to the plain grounds in the Terai. Gurungs have their unmistakable culture and practices incorporate different conviction frameworks, celebrations, birth, marriage, and demise ceremonies.
Gurungs are rich traditions and culture. One of their traditions is ‘Pud-pude, the celebratory gathering of the primary brought into the world male tyke in the family. Also Ghatu, a move show performed by virgin young ladies in the spring, Rodhi, a gathering place where the youthful, directed by an old ladies, assemble for organization and singing, etc.
Gurung have their very own primary language called ‘Tamukwyi’, which has a place with the Tibeto-Burman language family. As per the most recent national evaluation, of the all out populace of Gurung, 522,641, upwards of 325,622 talk their primary language—Tamukwyi.
In the center slopes and valleys along the southern slant of the Annapurna Himalaya in the mid-western Nepal; the Gurungs live together with other ethnic gatherings.
Dominant part of them, the Magars and their Khasa partners, have framed the main part of the celebrated Gorkha regiment of British and Indian Army; Royal Nepalese Army and the police. These durable, persevering individuals are Mongoloid physionomically. They broaden their living regions from Gorkha in the east through Lamjung and Kaski to Syangja region.
Pretty much every Gurung town or a family flaunts numerous young fellows in the Gorkha regiment; their benefits and pay rates being one of the fundamental recourses of their living.
Economy and exchange
The economy of the Gurungs are chiefly founded on agribusiness, creature farming and administrations in the military. They develop rice, wheat, maize, millet and potatoes. The terraced cultivating is the standards. They likewise get their subsistence from sheep rearing for meat and fleece.
While sheep grouping they utilize furious mastiffs (sheepdogs). The majority of the Gurung families have, in any case, a significant wellspring of salary; the annuities and compensations of the relatives who are in the military. Among them, there still exist the incredible contenders of British Gorkha Regiment, who were respected with Victoria Crosses for their fortitude.
Customs and Culture
The Gurungs are extremely beautiful, upbeat and coy individuals. A station chain of command partitions the Gurung people group into ‘ burn jat’ and ‘ sor jat’, gathering of four and twelve families individually.
They are particularly endogamous gatherings , be that as it may, are carefully exogamous families. Customarily they lean toward cross-cousins marriage. Among some Gurungs, a modest quantity of pay might be vital in the event that one wishes to evade cross-cousins marriage. The parallel cousins marriage is , be that as it may, carefully disallowed.
They likewise have a convention of ‘ Rodi’ , a club of young men and young ladies of comparable age bunch where moving and singing is performed. This organization gives them abundant chances to know, see one another and create love and love. Nature in the Rodi is extremely coy. The entire capacity is guided and held in the supervision of a grown-up.
The Gurungs have exceptionally intriguing move custom. They perform Sorathi, Ghado, Ghatu and others on one or numerous events. The moving season for the most part begins on Shri Panchami day (On the fifth day of splendid lunar fortnight sometime in January or February) till the day of Chandi purnima (some time or another in May or April).
Dress and Ornaments
Customary dress of the Gurungs incorporates a short shirt tied over the front and a short skirt of a few yards of white cotton material folded over the abdomen and held as though a wide belt.
The Gurung ladies wear a cotton or plush shirt tied at the front, and a sari of written word ordinarily a dim ruddy shading. Their decorations incorporate gold and coral accessories, gold studs and nose rings and bangles.
Conventional dress of Gurung men comprises of a pullover type shirt (bhoto) affixed with ties over the front of the body and a kilt-like piece of clothing (jama) that folds over the midriff and ranges to mid-thigh. A long bit of fabric is tied around the midsection like a belt (into which a khukhri might be slipped).
The run of the mill Nepali top (topī) finishes the dress. A sheep’s-fleece cover is utilized in winter or in wet climate to keep the wearer warm and dry. Western-style garments are regularly worn by the more youthful age, particularly young fellows who have served in the military.
Gurung ladies wear a cotton or velvet pullover (cholo) that ties at the front, over a since quite a while ago creased skirt (phariyā) that is generally dim red in shading. A scarf is folded over the midriff, and a head material finishes the outfit.
The ghalek is a fabric hung opposite one shoulder to the contrary midsection, framing a sack for conveying things. Trimmings incorporate enormous, overwhelming, silver studs that stretch the ear cartilage, nose rings, and square special necklaces held tight a series of glass dots called pote accessories. Bangles and anklets are likewise worn. Numerous ladies are currently wearing the sārī.
Some dress with the present cost are given below:
- Lungi Mugiya = 400
- Lungi Mugiya With Jari = 550
- Patuka Blue = 170 – 210
- Cholo Makhamal = 570
- Ghalek = 390
- White Pachari = 400 – 500
- Tikis = 300 – 350
- Dhugri Non Gurantee = 250
- Dhugri Gurantee = 1300
- Ear Rings = Non Gurantee = 300
- Ear Rings = Gurantee = 1300
- Jantar = 500 – 900 – 1300
- Naugedi = 2600
Gurung dress for male
Gurung communities belong to the indigenous nationality of Nepal as per the annex of the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities Act, Section 1 Article (A) of the Government of Nepal.
Among 59 indigenous communities of Nepal, Gurung community is also one of them. Gurung community is found abundantly at Kaski, Parbat, Tanahun, and Gorkha. However, the population is shifting toward the south leaving their original home in search of comfort, education, opportunities, services, jobs, and various other facilities.
Gurung community have their own culture, tradition, norms, values, religion, beliefs, language, food, art, folkways and costumes. Gurung communities traditionally live in the Himalayan region of the country suffering the extreme weather and difficult livelihood.
A difficult environment and livelihood teach them to adopt the clothing which will fit their survival and extreme livelihood in the Himalayan region. Both males and females have their unique ornaments, style, and costumes that make them unique from other indigenous communities.
The costume of Gurung communities is completely different from Thakali, Newar, Limbu, Rai, Tamang, Sherpa, Tharu and many other tribal and indigenous communities of Nepal.
However, there is somewhat similarity with the costume of the Magar community but not completely the same. Gurung communities generally follow Lord Buddha. However, nowadays there is a greater shift towards the Hindu religion from the Buddhist religion.
Even though, they change in the religion is high, the love for their culture and costumes have not changed. They generally wear their unique dress in the precious occasions/festivals like Lhosar, Budha Jayanti, weaning ceremony, marriage and many other important occasions in their communities or societies and normally by the people in the village of the Himalayan territory of the community.
Only wearing the few components does not give the overall look of the original dress, there should be a combination of the whole component of the original dress.
Nowadays, especially youth are bringing certain modifications in the dress by changing the original style, fabric, design, way of wearing and replacing the original part of the dress with the modern dress like pants, shirt, etc. However, this is not true in all cases.
Various component of the overall Gurung dress for male are:
- 1. Black Dhaka topi without knife /black Dhaka topi with knife
- 2. Bhangra
- 3. White bhoto
- 4. Kachhad
- 5. Broad belt
- 6. Muffler
- 7. Bakkhu
Cost of the dress (in Nrs.)
- 1. Black topi without a knife:200-300
- 2. Black topi with a knife: 300-400
- 3. Kachhad:200-300
- 4. Bhangra=200-350
- 5. Muffler: 150-250
- 6. Bakkhu=500 to 800
- 7. Broad belt/Malaya belt:500-700
The price of the component depends upon the fabric used, time consumed, quality of the product and demand. Hence, the mentioned price may go up and down depending upon various conditions.
Description of the Gurung male dress:
1. Black topi with a knife or without a knife:
Dhaka topi which is black without any knife was previously used by the boys. Later as time goes on people started wearing the black topi with a white polished knife made of silver or silver polished.
But nowadays, they prefer wearing normal Dhaka topi of various color combinations and fabric depending upon their choice, budget, and comfort. However, the most preferred one is black topi with a knife on it. Dhaka topi symbolizes the eternal mountains of Nepal.
Traditionally, boys of the Gurung community wear a white bhoto made of polyester. However, the fabric preference is different for various people and love to wear bhoto of cotton and other fabric too. It has eight knots to tie on so that it fits exactly on the body.
Nowadays the young generations are not found to wear such a dress. They prefer to wear stylish shirt ass per their choice. But the shirts were not typically worn in the traditional costumes of the Gurung community.
They are originally made from the wool of the sheep found in the Himalayan region. Rough and harsh wool is used to make bakkhu. they are comparatively heavy and used to wear to protect themselves from the extreme cold in the high Himalayas during the winter season.
They also used to protect them from the rain. They are of harsh texture and woven by experienced females in their leisure time. Bakkhu is not worn during the summer season as it makes the body warmer than needed. All bakkhu are of the same design having dark black and white crossings all over it. The size of bakkhu varies with the age of people using it. However small bakkhu is not normally made.
It is the plain white polyester cloth about 2 m long and 60 t0 120 cm in breadth. They are found in various fabrics. Nowadays cotton is highly preferred.
Instead of pant, men of Gurung community used to wear Kachhad. it is typically called wrap-on-knee-length loin cloth in English. Even though the weather used to be very cold in the Himalayas, they sustain themselves by wearing kachhad without any woolen pants.
It is made of yarn(in Gurung language the yarn is called nigi). Nowadays bhangra is made up of various fabric. It is worn by a man in the upper body making criss-cross in the front chest. They are typically used to keep various commodities like food, money and many other things a man can need in a day.
6. Black half jacket/estacoat:
A half jacket typically of black color is used in the traditional dress of Gurung. The full jacket is typically not used.
7. Malaya belt/Singapore belt:
Malaya belt is broader in breadth, normal in length and thicker than the normal belts. These belts are not made of leather but have a small leather pouch on the left side of the belt.
It is worn over the kachhad to prevent it from slipping off and used for keeping khukuri in the waist by its grasp. Grandfathers used to keep money in the small pouch in their generation.
Traditionally, men of the Gurung communities do not use to wear any type of shoe in their legs. So, shoes do not come under the original dress of Gurung. However, they can wear any type of shoes for their protection of their legs.
Way to wear Gurung dress step by step for men/boys:
1. Wear white bhoto/vest:
Put on the white vest by putting the right hand at first and then left hand .there are altogether four stripes of cloths .one under the right arm, second on the basal part of the right chest, another in the top of the left chest and another at the basal part.
Tie the upper stripe on the left chest with the stipe on the right under the arm and tie the basal stripe of the right part with the basal part of the left chest. Tie the knot strongly so that it will not slip off while working, walking and while doing any other activities.
2. Wear kachhad:
Kachhad is long and has high breadth. Fold the kachhad into two-fold breadthwise in a way so that it comes near your knee. Now, wrap the so formed kachhad around your waist forming like a skirt. The short kachhad is found very comfortable while walking, running and any other activities.
3. Wear Malaya belt:
Put on the belt on the waist so that the kachhad won’t slip off. Wear the belt in such a way that a small leather pocket at the left of the abdomen. Its the thing to be notified while wearing Gurung dress for males.
4. Wear white bhoto/vest:
Put on the black jacket over the white vest.
5. Wear bhangra:
At first, tie the knot by joining the opposite corner of the bhangra forming the cross in the middle. Put on the right hand first and then left hand in such a way placing the knot on the chest and the pouch on the back of the shoulders. The pouch is used for keeping various commodities like food and many other accessories.
Nowadays bhangra is the most preferred Gurung dress by male followed by black Dhaka topi. They may or may not wear other components like Kachhad, belt, etc but without wearing the bhangra it makes the costume unfinished. So, it’s the center of attraction in the overall dress.
6. Put on the topi on your head:
Select the black topi of your choice and put it on the head.
7. Wear muffler:
They are of various colors and sizes.
8. Wear Bakkhu:
Take the Bakkhu and put it on your one of the shoulder depending upon the comfort. You can put it on the shoulder in the folded form. Traditional styles of wearing Bakkhu depend upon the degree of the coldness.
In this way, you can enjoy wearing the Gurung dress.
Places to purchase Gurung dress:
- Gurung online clothing store
- Nearby traditional clothing centers in the cities
With the changing trends and fashion, there has been a modification in the way of wearing, styles, fabrics, etc. Whatever the situation is, Gurung communities have made the dress compulsory on an important occasion like Lhosar, Buddha Jayanti, wedding ceremony, weaning ceremony, and many other important occasions.
Whatever the traditions, culture or caste, being Nepalese it’s our pride and it is our responsibility to protect the culture and tradition of every indigenous people of the country. Boys and girls of the Gurung community are trying their best to conserve and promote their culture.
Written By – Maya Gurung, Amrit Chapagai & Abhishek Raj Jha.