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A boy in a village of Narail, Bangladesh wearing a lungi with simple twist knot LungiBoypagne.jpg
A boy in a village of Narail, Bangladesh wearing a lungi with simple twist knot

The lungi is a type of sarong that originated in the Indian Subcontinent. The multicoloured lungi is a men's skirt usually tied around the lower waist below the navel. It is popular as casual wear and night wear in places, where the heat and humidity of the climate increase sweating, [1] and make it unpleasant and uncomfortable to wear closed or tight clothes such as trousers. [2]



They are especially worn in hot regions. There are also cheaper "open" lungis, in identical dimensions but not sewn into a tube shape. The standard adult lungi is 115 centimetres (45 in) in height and 200 cm (79 in) in length, when open. Children's lungis are approximately two-thirds of this size. They are normally woven from cotton and come in a variety of designs and colors. Silk lungis are used for ceremonial purposes such as weddings. The most common styles are solid-colored and plaid, reflecting the relative ease and cost-effectiveness of producing these patterns on a power loom. Blue is particularly popular, since it fades to pleasant tones in contrast to other colors. Regardless of the design or color, lungis are often lined at the top and bottom with a black/white stripe containing reinforced weaving to prevent fraying.

The border of a Bangladeshi lungi, showing the black & white reinforced weave border to minimize fraying LungiBorder.jpg
The border of a Bangladeshi lungi, showing the black & white reinforced weave border to minimize fraying


Depending on local tradition, lungis can be worn by men or women (rarely). They are tied or fastened in various ways and can be used in different cultural activities, ranging from normal daily life to elaborate wedding ceremonies. For daily purposes, a simple "double twist" knot is most popular, where two points in the upper edge of lungi are brought together and twisted around twice, with the ends tucked in at the waist. However, it is also common for wearers to simply tie a double "pretzel knot" from 2 points on the upper border, [3] which produces a more secure knot. The lungi's length can also be adjusted, for example, by tucking in the lungi at the waist to make it resemble a short skirt. This is mostly used for labourers who have to work for a long time under a hot sun.

Regional variations


In India, the customs of wearing lungis vary by state. It can be worn with or without the traditional unsewn kaupinam or modern sewn langot, both of which are types of traditional loincloth undergarments.

Salt-field worker in Tamil Nadu wearing a lungi in typical tucked-up position for work Salt field worker.jpg
Salt-field worker in Tamil Nadu wearing a lungi in typical tucked-up position for work

In Kerala, the lungi is generally colourful and available in various designs, and is worn by both men and women. It is also called 'kaili'. Labourers typically wear it while working. A mundu/dhoti is a variation of the lungi and is mostly plain white. It often bears golden embroidery (kasavu), especially at the border. It is worn as formal attire and on ceremonial occasions like weddings, festivals, etc. Saffron-coloured lungis are known as kaavi mundu. Men sometimes tuck up their mundus or lungis with the bottom of the garment being pulled up and tied back on to the waist. In this case, the mundu or lungi only covers the body from the waist to the knees.

In Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, only men wear this garment. It is also known as kaili or sāram/chāram in South Tamil Nadu.

In Tamil Nadu, the veshti or dhoti is a traditional wear. People wear veshtis for formal occasions whereas lungis are worn as informal or casual wear by some. Lungis with checked pattern are more popular.

It is common on the Konkan side of the state of Karnataka, mostly worn by the Nawayath people from Bhatkal. Most of them wear it as their daily attire. It is as a mark of tradition in Bhatkal. They are mostly sewn in a cylindrical shape.

In Punjab, lungis are worn by both men and women. The male lungi is also called a tehmat, [4] [5] while the female lungi is called a laacha. They are part of traditional dance attire in Bhangra dance groups, but are also popular in rural areas as home wear. They are generally tied in a different way than in other parts of India and are, as a rule, unstitched and very colourful. Wearing the lungi has declined in the Punjab region in recent years. [6] [ when? ]

Rice farmer in Odisha wearing a lungi in tucked-up Rice Farmer Near Anantapalli Village Odisha.JPG
Rice farmer in Odisha wearing a lungi in tucked-up

In Odisha and West Bengal, the lungi is primarily worn at home by men of all societal classes. Hindu men generally avoid wearing lungis on the street. In Odisha, Sambalpuri with the Sambalpuri pattern and mule based lungis from Khordha are available in addition to normal cotton fabric lungis.

In Bihar and Haryana, the lungi is considered a night garment for men.

In Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh the lungi is often worn by tribal people. Previously, they used to wear a small cloth around their waist.

In Uttar Pradesh, lungi has been falsely associated exclusively with Islamic clothing by Hindu nationalists [ citation needed ].

Arab world

Harari old man wearing an Izaar. Old man in Harar.jpg
Harari old man wearing an Izaar.

An izaar, also izar or ʾizār (Arabic : إِزَار), [7] also known as futah (فُوطَة), [7] [8] [9] [10] maʿawaz (مَعَوَز), [11] [7] [12] [13] wizarah (وِزَرَة), [14] maqtab (مَقْطَب) [11] [15] [16] [12] is a traditional Yemeni clothing worn in Yemen especially by Hadhrami people who call it "saroun صارون" in their local dialect. It is a lower garment typically worn by men in Yemen, also known in U, Iraq, Kuwai Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Eritrea). Omani people typically wear a white izaar underneath the Thawb instead of sirwar pyjamas. It is commonly worn by Yemenis at home, and work. [17] In some parts of Arabia such as Yemen and the Jizan and ʿAsir regions of Saudi Arabia, it is known as futah instead. Some of these may feature tassels.

Sultanate of Oman

In the Sultanate of Oman, the garment is referred to as a 'wizar'; it is worn in all regions by men and is recognized as an undergarment to the traditional Omani 'dishdasha'. It is wrapped around the waist quite differently to the Indian style as it is folded left then right to make a straight seam in the middle. The wizar is usually white (north of country) with a colourful border. The wizar can be worn as an in house garment as most Omani's simply remove their dishdasha when at home and relax in their wizar and vests. In the region of Dhofar, located in the south of Oman, it is common to see a colorful variant of the wizar, which is worn more openly outdoors than it is in the north.


Boatman in Bangladesh wearing a lungi raataarguler jiibn o jiibikaa.jpg
Boatman in Bangladesh wearing a lungi

The lungi (Bengali : লুঙ্গি), is the most commonly seen dress of Bangladeshi men, although it is not normally worn for formal occasions. In Bangladesh, lungis are worn by men, almost universally indoors, but commonly outdoors as well. Elaborately designed tartan cotton, batik, or silk lungis are often presented as wedding gifts to the groom in a Bangladeshi wedding. The typical Bangladeshi lungi is a seamless tubular shape, as opposed to the single sheet worn in other parts of South and Southeast Asia. In Bangladesh, the lungi industry is concentrated in Sirajganj, Kushtia, Pabna, and Khulna. Bangladeshi women do not traditionally wear lungis, although non-Bengali tribal women do wear similar garments in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

In April 2013, the Baridhara Housing Society—a housing society in Dhaka—banned the lungi and began refusing entry to those who wore them. Many opposed the ban, however, taking to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to criticize the decision. A march took place on 13 April to oppose the ban. U.S Ambassador Dan Mozena has been seen wearing a lungi in front of his house. [18]


In Myanmar, it is spelt longyi. For men, the longyi is known as a paso (Burmese: ပုဆိုး), and for women, it is known as a htamein (Burmese: ထဘီ). Longyis of different fabrics, including cotton and silk, are worn for both informal and formal occasions.


In Thailand, it is known as a pa kao mah (Thai: ผ้าขาวม้า) for men and a pa toong (Thai: ผ้าถุง) for women.


In Maldives, it is known as mundu. In modern times, it is worn by elderly men exclusively.

In 2013, a song called "Lungi Dance" was made and used as a promotion song. It was written, composed and sung by the rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh and features himself along with Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.

See also

Related Research Articles

Draped garment Any item of clothing made from a length of cloth wrapped, folded, pinned, or tied around the body

A draped garment is a garment that is made of a single piece of cloth that is draped around the body; drapes are not cut away or stitched as in a tailored garment. Drapes can held to the body by means of knotting, pinning, fibulae, clasps, sashes, belts, tying drawstrings, or just plain friction and gravity alone. Many draped garments consist of only one single piece.

Loincloth Cloth worn around the loins, usually in warm climates

A loincloth is a one-piece garment, either wrapped around itself or kept in place by a belt. It covers the genitals and, at least partially, the buttocks. Loincloths which are held up by belts or strings are specifically known as breechcloth or breechclout. Often, the flaps hang down in front and back.

Sari Womans draped garment of Indian Subcontinent

A sari is a women's garment from the Indian subcontinent that consists of an unstitched drape varying from 4.5 to 9 yards in length and 600 to 1,200 millimetres in breadth that is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder, partly baring the midriff. It is traditionally worn in the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. There are various styles of sari manufacture and draping, the most common being the Nivi style. The sari is worn with a fitted bodice commonly called a choli and a petticoat called ghagra, parkar, or ul-pavadai. It remains fashionable in the Indian Subcontinent today.

<i>Kurta</i> Various forms of loose and long shirts or tunics worn traditionally in South Asia

A kurta is a loose collarless shirt worn in many regions of South Asia, and now also worn around the world. Tracing its roots to Central Asian nomadic tunics, or upper body garments, of the late-ancient- or early-medieval era, the kurta has evolved stylistically over the centuries, especially in South Asia, as a garment for everyday wear as well as for formal occasions.

Dhoti Traditional garment worn by men in the Indian subcontinent

The dhoti, also known as veshti, vetti, dhuti, mardani, chaadra, dhotar, or Jaiñbohorpanchey, is a type of sarong, tied in a manner that outwardly resembles "loose trousers". It is a lower garment forming part of the national or ethnic costume for men in the Indian subcontinent. The dhoti is fashioned out of a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth, usually around 4.5 metres (15 ft) long, wrapped around the waist and the legs and knotted either in the front or the back. Dhotis come in plain or solid colours, silk dhotis with embroidered borders are considered to be formal wear. The dhoti is touted as the male counterpart of the sari worn by females to religious and secular ceremonies (functions).

Sarong Traditional garment of the Malay Archipelago and the Pacific Islands

A sarong or sarung is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist, worn in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, Northern Africa, East Africa, West Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric often has woven plaid or checkered patterns, or may be brightly colored by means of batik or ikat dyeing. Many modern sarongs have printed designs, often depicting animals or plants. Different types of sarongs are worn in different places in the world, notably the lungi in the Indian subcontinent and the izaar in the Arabian Peninsula.

Clothing in India is dependent upon the different ethnicity, geography, climate, and cultural traditions of the people of each region of India. Historically, male and female clothing has evolved from simple garments like kaupina, langota, achkan, lungi, sari, gamcha, and loincloths to cover the body into elaborate costumes not only used in daily wear, but also on festive occasions, as well as rituals and dance performances. In urban areas, western clothing is common and uniformly worn by people of all social levels. India also has a great diversity in terms of weaves, fibers, colours, and material of clothing. Sometimes, color codes are followed in clothing based on the religion and ritual concerned. The clothing in India also encompasses the wide variety of Indian embroidery, prints, handwork, embellishment, styles of wearing clothes. A wide mix of Indian traditional clothing and western styles can be seen in India.

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Longyi Cylindrical hip-wrap worn in Myanmar

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Men who cannot read are like the blind; women who cannot weave are like the cripple.


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Mundum neriyatum Traditional clothing

Mundum neriyatum is the traditional clothing of women in Kerala, a state in southwestern India. It is the oldest remnant of the ancient form of the sari which covered only the lower part of the body. In the mundum neriyatum, the most basic traditional piece is the mundu or lower garment which is the ancient form of the sari denoted in Malayalam as tuṇi, while the nēriyatu forms the upper garment the mundu. The mundum neriyatum consists of two pieces of cloth, and could be worn in either the traditional style with the nēriyatu tucked inside the blouse, or in the modern style with the nēriyatu worn over the left shoulder.

Subligaculum Undergarment worn in Ancient Rome

A subligaculum was a kind of undergarment worn by ancient Romans. It could come either in the form of a pair of shorts, or in the form of a simple loincloth wrapped around the lower body. It could be worn both by men and women. In particular, it was part of the dress of gladiators, athletes, and of actors on the stage. Leather subligacula have been found in excavations of Roman London.

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Izaar Loose Garment For Lower Body

An izaar, also izar or ʾizār, also known as futah (فُوطَة), maʿawaz (مَعَوَز), wizarah (وِزَرَة), maqtab (مَقْطَب) is a traditional Yemeni clothing worn in Yemen especially by Hadhrami people who call it "saroun صارون" in their local dialect. It is a lower garment typically worn by men in Yemen, also known in the UAE, Iraq, KuwaiBahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and the Horn of Africa. Omani people typically wear a white izaar underneath the Thawb instead of sirwar pyjamas. Izaar-like clothing is also worn in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and countries in some parts of East Africa and in India. It is commonly worn by Yemenis at home, and work. In some parts of Arabia such as Yemen and the Jizan and ʿAsir regions of Saudi Arabia, it is known as futah instead. It is also worn in the city of Aqaba. Some of these may feature tassels.

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