What to Wear in India – Essential Packing Things
India is a place with diverse cultures and each place has its own set of traditions and clothing. Indian clothing is colourful, vibrant and reasonably priced too. So, it is not essential for you to pack full bags when you land in the country, but do come with some half-filled bags so that you can purchase local traditional clothes to your heart’s content.
Here are a few factors to consider before you choose the kind of clothing to wear in India.
Weather for most of the time and in most parts of India is hot and humid. You should take light cotton clothing to be comfortable throughout the trip. Cotton tops with capris or pants should be a good choice for most of the urban cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Bengaluru.
You can also checkout some locally available long or short cotton ‘kurtis’ paired with leggings or palazzos for trendy as well as neat look. Taking a sunscreen and pair of sun-glasses along will help you especially if you are planning your trip during hot months.
During cold months, however December to January is the peak tourism period and rush time for all the places. The country is beautiful from length to breadth during this phase and there is snow in many parts of northern India (closer to Himalayas). It may even rain in some places during this time.
Carrying some thermal wear, raincoat, socks, sweaters and scarf are some essentials for travel during this period. If your trip includes travel to any mountainous range, do carry boots and jackets, warm sweater, leg warmer and a monkey cap.
During rainy season, all you will probably need is an umbrella and raincoat. Kids may feel cold sometimes and you can bring some extra clothing for them if not yourself.
India has a mixed culture where some areas are quite traditionally maintained while some follow the west in their dressing sense. Choose your clothing wisely based on the locations that you are going to cover. For example, if it is a metro like Bengaluru or Delhi, you can wear sleeveless, short skirts and modern clothes of your choice, whereas in the interiors or villages, these could grab a lot of attention and it would be safer and easier to wear fully covered clothes like long skirts with full sleeves top and a scarf or stole.
You can also get some ready made salwar-kameez locally while shopping and flaunt the traditional Indian wear to impress the locals and have a real feel of being in India.
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3. Religious Places
Certain religious places follow dress codes without which you may not be allowed inside the premises. It is always a good choice to go for the traditional saree, or long tops with stoles to cover yourself before entering any religious place. You can wear long skirts with loose tops as well or go for the Indian ‘lehanga’.
Tight shirts and pants, sleeveless or short dresses are totally bad choices to wear in any religious place and you should avoid these at any cost. Be sure not to wear shoes as you would have to remove them before going inside any places of worship. Go for simple, easy to remove slippers.
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4. Crowded Markets
If you are up for some shopping in the most popular areas of the city, wear clothes that can cover you as much as possible. It is of no use wearing branded clothes, gowns or dresses in crowded places and the crowd will be mixed with people of all classes. You could be attracting unnecessary glances and if through your dress shopkeepers come to know you are not a local, you may not be able to negotiate much.
If you are going for a trek or to mountainous regions, you can take light woolen clothing to keep yourself warm.
Traditional Indian clothing is quite impressive and also cheap, and if you are comfortable wearing them you can as well purchase some classy sarees, lehangas and suits that would be perfect for any Indian occasion, any place you visit and to keep them with you forever. In some places you can even hire the local dresses for rent to get the perfect feel of the place and enjoy the moment.
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Clothing Options for Men
All this while, we have been talking about the women as there are plenty of options for them everywhere! But in India, there are numerous options for men’s clothing as well. From Dhoti to lungi to sherwani and kurtis, you will find a host of traditional wear in different parts of India. Men can be their own self with the comfortable t-shirt, capris, half or full pants or whatever they choose to wear or go for the traditional look to give an Indian touch to their trip!
What to Buy in India
You have already made up your mind to buy at least a couple of nice traditional wear before leaving India. For the uninitiated, here is a list of the clothes you will be pleased to buy for a thorough Indian experience.
One of the most worn traditional attire, it looks good on any woman. It doesn’t matter what kind of built you have, you will always look graceful in this outfit. Each of the many varieties has its own unique look and feel.
These are trendy and you can wear them like a scarf around your neck. They provide you comfort. Tying it in a different style makes it go well with western wear as well.
This is a pair of top and bottom worn by the ladies in almost all parts of India. This is the most comfortable dress and has many variations in the Pyjama (pant), from being Patiala style (very loose) to palazzo style (medium) to the tight leggings style.
Local Ethnic Wear
Different regions have their own local wear. For example, Rajasthan has the vibrant and colourful ghagra-choli and lehangas, Kashmir has Pashmina shawls, Kanchipuram (South) has authentic silk and so on. You can go to the local market and check these to get the best prices.
Dhoti for Men
Dhoti is a long piece of rectangular cloth that men tie around their waist. It is more popular in South India. This wear gives a lot of comfort specially during hot and humid weather.
Innumerable varieties of Kurtas worn by both women and men are popular across India. It is a short or a long top mostly made of cotton, and paired with leggings or dhoti. The jodhpuri kurta is very popular in Rajasthan and is complemented by the Jodhpuri chappal.
This is a grand ethnic wear for men and gives a rich traditional look – yes you got it right – The Maharajas look!
To sum it all, the essentials for all seasons are scarf, loose pants (pyjamas), socks, cotton t-shirts and inners, sandals that you can easily take off and wear, rubber shoes for comfort and light sweatshirt that you can wear when the weather is a little colder than pleasant.
During cold weather in North India, thermals and warm sweaters along with jackets, winter boots and monkey cap are good to go. For visiting coastal areas, swim suit, long gowns and skirts are a must to fully enjoy the pristine beaches.
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