Women from Jaipur, India wearing Salwar kameez and dupatta

Dupatta(Urdu: دوپٹا, Hindi: दुपट्टा, Bengali: ওড়না, Sindhi: پوتي, Tamil:துப்பட்ட) (alternative names include chadar (in Pakistan), orni/odhni, chunri, chunni, orna, and pacheri, is a long, multi-purpose scarf that is essential to many South Asian women's suits and matches the woman's garments. Some "dupatta suits" include the shalwar kameez and the kurta. The dupatta is also worn over the South Asian outfits of choli or gharara. The dupatta has long been a symbol of modesty in South Asian dress[citation needed].


History and origin

The origin of the dupatta can be traced to the Mohenjo-daro civilization of the Indus Basin located in modern-day Pakistan, where the use of textiles such as Ajrak was highly prevalent[citation needed]. A sculpture of the Priest King of Harrapa, whose left shoulder is covered with some kind of a chaddar, suggests that the use of the dupatta dates back to the early Indus Valley Civilization[1]. From here it spread across the Indian subcontinent, especially during the rule of the Muslim Mughal Empire[2].

The Priest King of Mohenjo-daro wearing a Ajrak


A dupatta is traditionally worn across both shoulders. However, the dupatta can also be worn like a cape around the entire torso. The material for the dupatta varies according to the suit: cotton, Georgette, silk, chiffon, and more.[citation needed]

There are various modes of wearing an unsewn dupatta. When not draped over the head in the traditional style, it is usually worn with the middle portion of the dupatta resting on the chest like a garland with both ends thrown over each respective shoulder. When the dupatta is worn along with the salwar-kameez it is casually allowed to flow down the front and back.[citation needed]

The primary use of a dupatta is to cover the head and/or any inadvertent cleavage and the contour of the bosom. However, the use of the dupatta has undergone a metamorphosis over time. In current fashions, the dupatta is frequently draped over one shoulder, and even over just the arms. Another recent trend is the short dupatta, which is more a scarf or a stole, often worn with kurtas and Indo-Western clothing. Essentially, the dupatta is often treated as an accessory in current urban fashion.[3]


See also

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • dupatta — UK [dʊˈpʌtə] / US noun [countable] Word forms dupatta : singular dupatta plural dupattas Indian English a long scarf that a woman wears around her head or shoulders …   English dictionary

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