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Traditional Wear: Lehenga Choli

Actress Mahima Silwal

Actress Mahima Silwal

Dr. Pragya Singh always wears bright colored lehengas during marriage ceremonies and family occasions. Lehengas accentuates one’s body shape making it look attractive, while also being traditional. She shares, “Lehenga-choli is my first choice of traditional attire because it is traditional and also suits my body.”

Actress & Model Mahima Silwal also affirms, “I love embroidered lehengas, especially bright colored ones.” Silwal boasts quite a lehenga collection and often uses them in her music videos and photo shoots.

Model Sarita Singh Tharu lives in France but usually wears lehengas in her Nepali gatherings. Whenever she visits Nepal, she makes sure to go to boutiques to buy lehengas of different designs. “There’s a different charm of lehengas abroad. I adore fitting and open lehenga-choli,” says Tharu.

These days’ women of all ages wear lehenga choli. Moreover, as it has been worn and accepted as traditional attire for generations, its popularity has soared among women who often wear saris and kurtas.

The Mughals brought this mix of blouse and skirt to ancient India. And these days lehenga-choli has become a beloved alternative to bridal saris. It suits all ages and body shapes. Its embroidery can be found to be very traditional. Royalty in India wear lehenga-choli embroidered with threads of gold and silver, and studded with precious jewels and stones.

dr model Pragya Singh

Dr. Pragya Singh

Previously, lehengas were only a piece of cloth where one side was tied in the waist while the other side was left loose. Metal grid was used for tight fitting around the waist. However, with its increased popularity, its design has also evolved. Pleats have been incorporated for easy walk and flow. Instead of metal grid, cloth is used with long elastic.

Lehengas are normally two and half yards long and one and half yards in breadth. It is made of thin cloth and different colored laces are also used to make it attractive. As lehenga is accompanied by choli, they are matched accordingly. Choli is worn a little above the navel. To make lehenga more attractive, dupatta is worn made from materials such as silk, linen, chiffon and more.

Popularity of lehengas has soared in comparison to saris. They are found in many colors, with red, orange, yellow and pink being the most sought after. Lehengas are a favorite among women of South Asia because of its traditional avatar, and its convenience for various formal occasions. Lehengas are also called “ghangra-choli.”

They are mainly designed in fours ways:
1) A-cut designs
2) Straight-cut designs
3) Umbrella-cut designs
4) Fish-cut designs

Bridal lehengas are mainly maroon, red and golden in colors. Such lehengas are especially made from materials such as crape, net and satin. Brocade and silk are preferred materials for bridal wear. Brocade is thick and makes the lehenga look royal and regal. Heavy embroidery can also be done easily. While silk is comfortable and suitable for all weathers, and can also be dyed in various colors. It is usually considered the perfect material for bridal lehengas.

– Jayan Subba Manandhar