Mekhela chadar is a traditional attire worn by Assamese women. It is an unparalleled pride of Assam. Although the exact details of the originated date is not available, it is a treasured traditional dress of Assam worn since times immemorial. Mekhela chadar is easy to drape, extremely comfortable and looks good on anyone.
Keeping intact the age old weaving culture of Assam, majority of the Assamese mekhela chadar is traditionally woven. The designs which are always woven and never printed portray the rich culture of Assam, showcasing the flora and fauna and other valuable treasures of the region. In a typical woven mekhela chadar, Chadar border is woven separately and stitched to the chadar. Nevertheless, numerous innovative designers and thinkers these days try their hands on embroidery, hand painting and other innovative art giving a beautiful twist to the existing designs of traditional mekhela chadars.
For weaving mekhela chadar, widely used fabrics are Assam cotton, Nuni, Paat silk (Mulberry silk), Muga silk and in some rare cases eri Silk (Ahimsa). There are also various low budget mekhela chadar woven out of blended fabrics such as cotton with nuni, muga with tussar silk etc.
Two parts of Mekhela Chadar. How to wear it?
Mekhela chadar consists of two pieces, synonymous to the very popular half saree of South India but it looks more like a Saree after it is draped. The bottom part or the skirt part in the form of wide cylindrical shape is called “Mekhela”. It is to be draped from the waist downward.
Steps to wear mekhela:
- Wear your suitable underskirt as the base to hold the mekhela
- Wear the mekhela from the top or the bottom like a skirt
- Make pleats on the front and tuck the pleats in the centre keeping the pleats facing towards right unlike saree where pleats are tucked facing left.
- Mekhela drape is complete
Chadar is the longer portion of the mekhela chadar which has the pallu (Loose end) part. It ranges from 2.5 meters to 3 meters in length.
Steps to wear Chadar:
- Place the pallu on the left shoulder like a saree and drape the remaining bottom part around the waist.
- Make a stylish fold of the opposite end of the pallu which is draped around the waist and tuck that folded part against the mekhela.
- That folded part should be tucked in such a way that pleats of the mekhela are shown and compliment the chadar fold.
The final result:
You can shop for handwoven beautiful range of Assamese mekhela chadar made of cotton, nuni and silk here