The Fashion Traditions of Shawls in India

India is a land of diverse cultural heritage. Diverse heritage means diverse clothes. And the point among that range that catches every eye is a shawl. A shawl is a loose rectangular piece of fabric that is draped over the shoulders or head. These garments are originally meant to be used in winters to keep warm from the cold. But they also it serves and symbolizes many other traditions in India.

Traditional shawls worn in India

They Make Amazing Gifts

The shawl is a free-size fabric that suits all. There is a lot more to them. The work and thought put behind making each shawl are unique as well as amazing. Owing to their unique designs, color, and work, they not only keep warm but also make a style statement. Being a fabric that symbolizes love and respect, it delivers the perfect message and makes a great gift.

A gift basket of pashmina shawls

The Fabric of Honor

It’s a new age, but the respect for our traditions stays ancient. It is believed in our culture that an individual who is engrossed in selflessly working for the upliftment of others, is truly worthy of felicitation. It is a practice to honor them with a shawl as a mark of respect and gratitude. The shawl is presented either by giving by hand finely or by wrapping it around their neck respectfully. Being one of the richest pieces of fabric, it is a result of extreme skills and a traditional legacy, making a shawl the highest form of veneration.

yarns obtained after processing wool from changthangi goats

Festivities, Rituals, and Ceremonies

The most exciting part of traditions in India is its festivals. Distinct cultures that are different from each other co-exist together in a single country and that accounts for the huge number of festivals that exist. This means the use of beautiful clothes, and that’s where the shawls come in. Paired with any outfit, the shawl gives a statement to the outfit- not only in the fashion sense but also in the traditional sense.

Shawls worn in festivities, rituals and ceremonies

Traditional shawls hold traditional importance in Indian culture. Priests and pandits wear them while performing holy rituals, be it a festival, a function, or a religious ceremony.

The shawl is seen as a prestige clothing and is used in wedding rituals in many parts of the country. Not only does it add beauty to the attire, but symbolizes an ancient meaning. Embroidered with elegance, it has become a part of the ceremonies since the time of the ancestors. The significance of giving or dressing the shawl on the forehead of the bride means that she’s being given the responsibility of protecting the dignity and respect of her home as well as of the one she is married into.


From holding a traditional value to enhancing the fashion sense, the shawl in all aspects is a fabric of pride for India.

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