Pichhaura is a traditional outfit worn by women at ceremonies in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. It plays a vital role in the life of married women. Women wear this garment on all kinds of religious and cultural ceremonies including, marriages, Namkarans, and Janeus. It is necessary for women to wear the garment during their marriage rituals. It is considered holy in Kumaoni Hindu traditions. Often it is also called “Rangwali Pichhaura”.
Pichhaura is made of yellow fabric with big red circular motifs printed on it. In the center, a ‘Swastik’ is drawn and in the four quadrants of the ‘Swastik’, ‘Sun’, ‘Shankh‘( Conch Shell), A Bell with Om and Goddesses” are drawn. The ‘Swastik’ is made by drawing some geometrical shapes or leaves and flowers and then are surrounded by small dots. Then large circles or dots are printed all over the fabric surrounded by beautiful borders. After the borders, lace and kinari or jhalar is stitched to make it more colorful, attractive, and lively.
These sketches drawn on the Pichhaura has religious significance too. The ‘Swastik’ represents all the Gods and Goddesses. It is drawn in some form or the other at all the religious rituals. It denotes the ‘ karmyoga‘. It’s four arms pointing forward inspire to move ahead. The center of ‘Swastik’ is ‘Om’ which has a great importance in meditation and spirituality.
The first quadrant of the ‘Swastik’ house is ‘Sun’, the God of divine power. Sun is worshiped for well-being of sons. The second quadrant house is Goddess of prosperity and well-being for all nears and dears, the third quadrant has a ‘Shankha’ which is blown during worships because it is believed that all the ill omen fear this sound and do not dare to harm anyone around. The last quadrant has a ‘Bell’ which is also used during worships.
In olden days,it was made at homes. A few meters of white cloth was washed and dyed first in yellow color and then dots were printed with the help of a coin wrapped in cloth. Earlier common colors which were available in markets were used for it but today random colors are being used. The homemade Pichhaura were printed with ordinary colors, which on getting moist used to spread. The process of drawing/ printing by hand was very tiresome and sometimes the results were also not good.
Image Courtesy -Weddings of Uttarakhand