What Did People Wear in Ancient India?

Cotton attire was most common among ancient Indians, since they were the first to cultivate this crop from around 2500 B.C. From the Aryan period around 1500 B.C., women typically wore long silk or cotton saris (cloths), draped over the shoulder or about the head. Men also wore long cloths called dhotis.

Dhotis, which were usually white, were shorter than saris and generally worn around the legs.

By 1000 AD, clothing from the Islamic world began to influence Indian fashions. From this period, both men and women wore trousers (churidar) and tunics (kurtas) that came down to the knees. Women would typically combine these with a veil and scarf. For special occasions such as weddings, men would also wear a sherwani, a long and elegant coat. Nevertheless, the traditional sari and dhoti remained popular, as they continue to in modern India.

Accessories of gold and silver jewelry were common, particularly as facial adornments (earrings and nose-rings, for instance).

Another traditional Indian women's garment is the salwar kameez. Especially worn in the Punjab region, this has come to be known as a Punjabi suit.

Many ancient Indian garments and accessories have religious significance, such as the turban, as well as the bindi, which is the small red spot on the forehead.