Try wearing Bhutanese Dresses

Though Bhutan is a small country, its cultural diversity and richness are profound. Since strong emphasis is laid on the promotion and preservation of the existing unique culture. On preserving and nurturing Bhutan’s culture and tradition, it helped in guarding the country’s sovereignty and integrity form the past centuries which is one of the greatest pride for the Bhutanese.

One of the most distinctive features of Bhutanese is the national dress, a unique garments that have evolved over thousands of years ago which was first introduced by Zhabdrung Ngwang Namgyel prior to the Tibetan origin. Men wears Gho, a knee-length robe somewhat reassembling a kimono that is tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as kera. The pouch which is formed at the front was traditionally used for carrying food bowls and a small dagger. Today however it is more accustomed to carry small day to day articles such as wallets, mobile phone and doma (beetle nut). Women wears the Kira, a long, ankle-length dress accompanied by a light outer jacket known as a Tego with an inner layer known as Wonju.

Bhutanese wear long scarves while visiting dzongs and other administrative centers. The scarf worn by men is known as Kabney while those worn by women are known as Rachu. The scarves worn by men vary in color, signifying the designation or rank. The Rachu is hung over a women’s shoulder. And like the scarves worn by men, they too have specific rank associated with their color. Rachus are usually woven out of raw silk embroidered with beautiful and color blended rich patterns.

Here’s an overview of wearing Bhutanese dress:

1. Kira (Women’s Dress)

  • Components: The kira consists of a rectangular piece of woven fabric wrapped around the body, held in place with a belt called “kera.”
  • Variety: Kiras come in various colors, patterns, and designs, often reflecting regional and personal preferences.
  • Accessories: Women may wear traditional jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, complementing their attire.

2. Gho (Men’s Dress)

  • Description: The gho is a knee-length robe secured with a belt, often accompanied by knee-high socks and traditional shoes called “tshoglham.”
  • Formality: The gho is worn on formal occasions, ceremonies, and in workplaces where it signifies respect and cultural identity.
  • Colors and Patterns: Like the kira, ghos can vary in colors and patterns, with some designs denoting social status or family heritage.

3. Significance

  • Cultural Identity: Wearing traditional dress is a symbol of Bhutanese identity, pride, and cultural preservation.
  • Social Occasions: It is customary to wear kira and gho during religious festivals (tsechus), official functions, and gatherings.
  • Respect: Donning traditional attire is a mark of respect for Bhutanese customs and traditions.

4. Practical Considerations

  • Comfort: Both kira and gho are designed for comfort and practicality, suitable for Bhutan’s mountainous terrain and varied climate.
  • Learning to Wear: Visitors interested in wearing Bhutanese dress can receive guidance on how to properly wear and accessorize kira or gho.

Wearing Bhutanese dress is more than just attire; it is a cultural expression that fosters a sense of belonging and reverence for Bhutanese traditions. For visitors, embracing the opportunity to wear kira or gho can deepen cultural understanding and appreciation during their time in Bhutan.


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