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Traditional Garo Dress and Ornament

Traditional Garo Dress and Ornament

Ronald C. Sangma

‘DAKBEWAL’ is a commonly used Garo or A.chik word which is a combination of two Garo words. ‘DAKKA’ means to do, habituating in doing, continue to practicing. On the other hands ‘BEWAL’ means the rites and rituals, the rules and regulations, the custom, sum total of doings. So ‘DAKBEWAL’ elaborates its meaning the thinking, the deeds, the rites and rituals, the belief, the social systems, the customs, the doings of the fore-fathers of the Garos that is ‘culture’. Traditional dress and ornaments are part and parcel of the garos culture.

Traditional Dress and Ornament:

The Garos normally do not use many ornaments. In some occasion they used to clothing their traditional garo dress and ornament which is passed from generation to generation. The common ones are strings of beads and earrings worn both by men and women. The latter ornaments are considered to be very essential as they serve as guarantees of the safe journey of the soul to the other world, being offered to the spirit Nawang should he try to prevent the soul from going to the land of the dead.

Contact with people from outside has greatly modified the dress of the Garos both men and women affect dark clothes, either black or dark blue, and men may wear shorts instead of the traditional loin-cloth. Turbans are generally worn by both sexes. On festive occasions all the family heir-looms including the fine clothes and ornaments for men and girls are taken out.

The women folk of the garo community have more decorative than those of the menfolk. A few of their clothing are: Dokbanda/Dokmand, Doksari, Koping, A.npeng, Ganna/Dolajin, Tops, etc. Both men & women enjoy adoring themselves with varieties of dress and ornaments on the different occasions.

Dresses and Ornaments of the Garo:

Garo Female Dresses:

Ganna Dakmanda: One piece of wrapper worn on the waist upto the ankles

Ganna Kore Kinga: Petticoat

Chinani: Special Shawl with beads designs

Chroko ganna: Wrapper with shells and beads

Dodok: One-piece cloth worn across one arm

Re’king: Small petticoat

Kotip: Coloured Turban

Garo Female Ornaments:

Ripok Do-katchi: Necklace with stone gems and emerald. Necklaces made of long barrel shaped beads of carnelian or red glass while some are made out of brass or silver and are worn in special occasions.

Rikgitok: Necklace of coral beads of 10 lines

Rikgitchak: Necklace with various gems, ivory and metal bells

Ollongga/Nakongsi: Brass Earrings in bunches

Kabong/Kade: Head gear made of shells

Kade bibol: Special designed head gear

Asingsok/Riksil: Necklace with metal bells

Bato Rengki: Hair Band

Rikmatchu: Necklace Coral beads

Seng’ki: Shell beads worn over the waist. Waistband consisting of several rows of conch shells worn by women.

Siliting: Silver Chain with designs

Konal: Tight Silver necklace

Sis/Narikki: Earrings made of lead

Naderong: Designed beads- brass ring worn in the upper part of the ear

Nabal: Decorated beads worn on the ears

Sangong/Jaksan: Bangles of metal or Brass of different materials and sizes

Pilne: Decorated head gear with cock’s plume

Ki’chong: Special Bamboo comb

Garo Male Dresses:

Gantap: Wrapper worn above knee

Genji Gisim: Black T Shirt

Kotip Nokma: Silk Maroon turban of head man

Kotip: Turban

Kadesil: Head gear

Pandra: Cloth worn criss cross over the body

Mending: Hair String for tying the hair

Do-me: Feathers of fowl worn on the head which specified the Garo people in a festive dress.

Kot: Coat

Sa.mil: Accompaniment of turban of Head man.

Garo Male Ornaments:

Tapa/Jaksil/Rikgitok: Brass armlets

Rikmatchu: Coral beads necklace

Konal: Tight silver necklace

Naderong: Designed earring of beads

Sisa/Narikki: Bunch of earrings made of lead

Milam: Sword double edged

Danil/Seppi: Shield made of rhino’s skin

Rang: Brass Gongs

Sel’u: Spear.

Nota Bene:

This is not a complete list of all the traditional dresses and ornaments used by the A.chik mande. There will be a separate page dedicated to them later. Read more


Llewellyn R. Marak, Tura- A.chikrangni Gandingrang.

Department of Art and Culture, Government of Meghalaya.


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