Manipuri Dance Costume 2024

Manipuri dancing costume symbolizes Manipur’s rich cultural past by incorporating traditional clothes and significant decorations. Both male and female dancers use distinctive costumes that highlight the region’s specific qualities and aesthetics. Furthermore, the dancers’ ornaments and accessories lend beauty and elegance to their performances.

Manipuri dance is a traditional classical dance genre from India’s northeastern state of Manipur. It is famous for its beautiful movements, precise footwork, and vibrant expressions depicting mythological stories, devotional themes, and cultural traditions. The attire worn by Manipuri dancers is important in boosting the aesthetic appeal and conveying the essence of the dance form.

Significance of Costume in Manipuri Dance

Manipuri dance costume exudes profound significance, transcending mere aesthetics to become a vessel of cultural expression and artistic storytelling. Its role in Manipuri dance is multifaceted and holds unique importance, shaping the overall impact of the performances. Here, we explore the distinctive facets that make the costume an indispensable element:

Cultural Representation: The Manipuri dance costume stands as a living embodiment of the region’s cultural tapestry, encapsulating the essence of traditions, rituals, and heritage. It acts as a visual ambassador, representing the distinctiveness of Manipur and evoking a sense of pride and identity among dancers and spectators alike.

Symbolic Language: Every thread, color, and embellishment woven into the costume carries symbolic weight, offering glimpses into mythological narratives, spiritual beliefs, and societal customs. The intricate patterns and motifs hold hidden meanings, infusing the performance with layers of depth and conveying a visual language that transcends words.

Visual Appeal: The Manipuri dance costume is a feast for the senses. Its exquisite craftsmanship, vibrant hues, and delicate embellishments captivate the eyes, while the flowing fabrics and graceful drapes add a tactile dimension. As the dancers move, the costume breathes life into their movements, creating a mesmerizing interplay of form and motion.

Expression and Movement Enhancement: Beyond its ornamental beauty, the Manipuri dance costume is designed to amplify the dancers’ expressions and movements. It molds and accentuates their bodies, facilitating fluidity, precision, and grace. The costume becomes an extension of the dancer, enabling them to transcend physical limitations and delve deeper into the realm of artistic expression.

Cultural Preservation: By preserving and donning traditional Manipuri dance costumes, practitioners pay homage to their roots and ensure the continuity of cultural practices. The costumes act as a bridge between generations, carrying forward the legacy of the dance form and fostering a sense of connection to ancestral traditions.

Traditional Manipuri Dance Costume

The traditional Manipuri dancing attire is a stunning ensemble that exhibits Manipur’s distinct cultural heritage. Its brilliant colours, elaborate motifs, and flowing drapes set it apart. Let’s look at the specifics of the clothing for both male and female dancers:

Attire for Female Dancers

Kumil (Pung Cholom Costume):

  • Female dancers in the Pung Cholom style of Manipuri dance wear the Kumil, which combines rhythmic dances with the traditional drum called Pung.
  • It comprises of a long, flowing silk skirt called the ‘Kuminu’ that is pleated and tied at the waist.
  • The ‘Kabok’ blouse is often sleeveless and adorned with exquisite embroidery and beautiful designs.
  • A ‘Innaphi’ (shawl) draped over the dancer’s shoulder adds grace and fluidity to the moves. 
  • To enhance the overall aesthetic, the costume is frequently embellished with tiny jewellery such as earrings, necklaces, and armlets.

Potloi (Ras Mask):

  • The Potloi is the outfit worn by female Manipuri dancers in the Ras style, which depicts devotional themes and mythological legends.
  • It comprises of a vividly coloured, pleated skirt made of silk or cotton fabric, which is traditional Manipuri clothing.
  • The upper clothing is a shirt known as the ‘Potloi Ningthouba,’ which is covered with elaborate embroidery and motifs representing the dance’s themes.
  • The dancer adds grace and beauty to the dances by wearing a ‘Innaphi’ (shawl) over her shoulder. 
  • The outfit is enhanced visually by jewellery, which includes extravagant necklaces, earrings, bangles, and anklets.

Wangkhei Phi (Nupa Pala Costume):

  • The Wangkhei Phi costume is worn by female dancers in the Nupa Pala style of Manipuri dance to portray male characters in performances.
  • It features the ‘Dhoti,’ a traditional Manipuri male clothing that is draped over the waist and legs to create a distinct silhouette.
  • The top piece is a long-sleeved shirt called the ‘Potloi Ningthouba,’ which is beautifully embroidered and embellished.
  • To complete the costume, the dancer may also wear a ‘Innaphi’ (shawl) across the shoulder.
  • Male accessories such as a turban or headpiece, bracelets, and a belt are used with the outfit.

Phanek (Traditional Skirt):

  • Female dancers in some Manipuri dance styles dress in a traditional skirt known as the “Phanek.”
  • The Phanek is a silk or cotton wrap-around skirt with a cylinder shape that is typically embellished with vibrant colors and patterns.
  • Depending on the dance style, it is paired with a blouse or shawl to create a visually appealing ensemble.
  • To enhance the costume’s overall aesthetic, the dancer may wear jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces, and earrings.

Dhoti (Traditional Bottoms): This is the attire for male dancers.

  • In Manipuri dance, the traditional attire for male dancers is the dhoti.
  • It is a rectangular piece of fabric, typically made of cotton, that is draped around the legs and waist to make a garment that is comfortable and loose.
  • Depending on the dance style and character being portrayed, the dhoti may be plain or bordered.

Kurta (Upper Piece of clothing):

  • Kurtas, or long-sleeved, loose-fitting shirts, are typically worn by male dancers.
  • The kurta might be made of cotton or silk texture and is frequently enhanced with insignificant weaving or enlivening components.

Pagri (Turban):

  • Male artists might wear a pagri, which is a conventional turban or headgear.
  • The pagri is complicatedly folded over the head, adding superbness and appeal to the artist’s appearance.

Ornaments and Accessories: Enhancing Splendor

Beyond the captivating costumes, Manipuri dancers adorn themselves with a myriad of exquisite ornaments and accessories, weaving an enchanting tapestry of elegance and allure. Let us embark on a journey to explore the intricate details of these adornments:

Jewelry for Female Dancers

Ethereal Headpieces:

  • Gracefully adorning the forehead of female dancers are the ethereal headpieces, known as Matha Patti.
  • Intricately crafted chains cascade along the hairline, often embellished with exquisite pendants or captivating motifs.
  • These headpieces elevate the dancer’s allure, their delicate design capturing the essence of beauty and grace.

Mesmerizing Manipuri Earrings:

  • Swinging delicately with every movement, the Manipuri earrings exude captivating charm.
  • Elaborately designed, they dangle and catch the light, embellishing the dancer’s visage.
  • Crafted with intricate filigree, enameling, and sometimes adorned with lustrous pearls or precious gemstones, these earrings add a touch of splendor to the performance.

Opulent Necklaces:

  • Encircling the neck of the female dancers, opulent Manipuri necklaces demand attention.
  • Multilayered chains, resplendent with intricate pendants, beads, or enchanting motifs, grace their décolletage.
  • Inspired by the rich cultural heritage, these necklaces exude timeless elegance and symbolize the dancer’s connection to tradition.

3.1.4 Rhythmic Armlets and Bangles:

  • The rhythmic pulse of Manipuri dance finds expression in the adorned wrists of the dancers.
  • Broad and intricately designed armlets encircle their arms, while stacks of bangles create a symphony of sounds.
  • These shimmering armlets and bangles add visual and auditory dimensions, accentuating the fluidity of the dancers’ movements.

Accessories for Male Dancers

Regal Manipuri Turbans:

  • Male dancers exude regality with the Manipuri turbans gracing their heads.
  • These majestic headgears are meticulously wrapped, reflecting the character they portray in the performance.
  • Embellished with fabric brooches, decorative pins, or intricate embroidery, these turbans complete the resplendent ensemble.

Elegant Waistbands:

  • Emphasizing the male dancers’ poise, elegant waistbands encircle their waists.
  • Crafted with finesse, these waistbands, made of silk or decorative fabric, enhance their posture and lend an air of grace to their movements.

Subtle Manipuri Bracelets:

  • Adding subtle refinement, Manipuri bracelets adorn the wrists of male dancers.
  • These understated yet stylish accessories, crafted from metal or beads, provide a finishing touch to their ensemble.
  • The ornaments and accessories in Manipuri dance encapsulate the essence of allure and grace. Crafted with intricate artistry, they enrich the dancers’ appearance, breathe life into their movements, and weave a captivating visual tapestry that transports the audience into the enchanting realm of Manipuri dance.

Colors and Symbolism

The vibrant colors in Manipuri dance costumes serve as a visual language, expressing profound symbolism and emotions. Each hue chosen for the attire and props carries its own significance, representing various themes, characters, and sentiments. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the kaleidoscope of colors and their symbolic meanings in Manipuri dance:


  • Red, a dominant color in Manipuri dance, ignites the stage with its fervent symbolism.
  • It embodies intense emotions, love, and devotion, infusing performances with ardor and energy.
  • Often used to depict deities and heroic characters, red sets the stage ablaze with its powerful presence.


  • Like a sunbeam, yellow casts its luminous glow, enveloping Manipuri dance with joy and auspiciousness.
  • It signifies happiness, vibrancy, and celebration, infusing performances with a sense of optimism.
  • Yellow hues frequently grace festive occasions, lively characters, and scenes brimming with mirth and exuberance.


  • White, a color of purity and spirituality, creates an ethereal ambiance in Manipuri dance.
  • It embodies divinity, enlightenment, and a sense of transcendence, transporting audiences to sacred realms.
  • White garments often adorn divine beings and are chosen for devotional performances that evoke serenity and tranquility.


  • Green, symbolizing growth and rejuvenation, breathes life into Manipuri dance.
  • It embodies the harmony between humans and nature, pulsating with vitality and renewal.
  • Green tones paint natural landscapes, verdant gardens, and narratives celebrating the cycles of life and the abundance of the earth.


  • Blue, like a calm ocean, creates a sense of tranquility, devotion, and spirituality in Manipuri dance.
  • It invites introspection and contemplation, connecting performers and spectators to the realm of the divine.
  • Often donned by celestial beings and employed in meditative movements, blue imbues the dance with a profound sense of inner peace.


  • Orange ignites Manipuri dance with its vibrant energy, enthusiasm, and creativity.
  • It represents vitality, determination, and the fiery essence of passion.
  • Performances adorned in orange hues breathe life into characters with dynamic personalities and scenes pulsating with fervor and excitement.


  • Purple, an emblem of regality and mysticism, casts an enchanting spell in Manipuri dance.
  • It exudes nobility, spiritual insight, and the depths of profound emotions.
  • Often adorning regal characters and evoking a sense of the mystical, purple adds an aura of grandeur to the performances.

Gold and Silver:

  • Gold and silver, shimmering like treasures, hold a sacred place in Manipuri dance.
  • Gold represents illumination, prosperity, and the divine, while silver signifies purity and moonlight.
  • These metallic hues embellish costumes, jewelry, and accents, infusing the performances with an air of opulence and spiritual abundance.

Through the harmonious interplay of colors, Manipuri dance becomes a mesmerizing visual symphony, where each hue tells a story, stirs emotions, and transports the audience to a world of symbolic significance. As dancers adorn themselves in these hues, their movements, expressions, and the vibrant palette of colors weave a captivating tapestry.

Evolution of Manipuri Dance Costume: Changing Styles over Time

The costumes worn in Manipuri dance have changed a lot over the years, reflecting the history and culture of the region. Let’s explore how the Manipuri dance costume has evolved:

Early Origins:

  • The earliest costumes were simple and made from cotton and silk.
  • They allowed the dancers to move easily and show their graceful movements.

Traditional Attire:

  • Female dancers traditionally wear a long, pleated skirt called a potloi, along with a fitted blouse called a choli.
  • They also drape a transparent veil called innaphi over their head and shoulders.

Changes in Fabrics and Designs:

  • The use of fabrics has expanded to include more options like synthetic materials.
  • Traditional silk fabrics, like Manipuri Moirangphee and Manipuri Mayek Naibi, are still popular.

Decorations and Patterns:

  • The costumes are decorated with intricate designs and patterns using embroidery techniques.
  • These designs are often inspired by nature, mythology, and religious symbols.

Influence of Royalty:

  • The costumes have been influenced by the support of kings and queens in Manipur.
  • They have become more elaborate and luxurious due to their patronage.

Modern Changes:

  • In recent times, dancers have started experimenting with new colors, styles, and combinations.
  • They mix traditional elements with modern ideas to create innovative costumes.

The evolution of Manipuri dance costumes shows how the art form has changed and adapted over time. The costumes have become more elaborate and diverse, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Manipur and captivating audiences with their beauty and grace.

Costume Preparation and Maintenance

Costume Preparation and Maintenance: Keeping Costumes Beautiful and Long-Lasting

To make sure the costumes used in Manipuri dance stay beautiful and last a long time, it’s important to prepare and take care of them properly. Here are some tips for preparing and maintaining the costumes:

Getting the Costume Ready:

  • Before performances, check the costume for any loose threads, missing decorations, or damage.
  • Fix any problems by sewing loose parts, adding decorations back, or replacing worn-out pieces.
  • Make sure the costume fits well and allows the dancer to move comfortably.

Storing the Costume:

  • When the costume is not being used, store it carefully to protect it.
  • Clean the costume before storing it according to the instructions for the fabric.
  • Keep the costume away from direct sunlight, as it can fade the colors and damage the material.
  • Use tissue paper without acid to stuff the costume and keep its shape.
  • Store the costume in a breathable bag or container to keep it safe from dust, moisture, and bugs.

Cleaning and Taking Care:

  • Regularly clean and take care of the costume to keep it looking its best.
  • Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or seek professional help if needed.
  • If you wash the costume by hand, use a gentle detergent and lukewarm water, and be careful not to rub or twist the fabric.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach that could harm the colors or material.
  • Hang the costume to dry in a well-ventilated area, away from heat sources.

Handling and Transporting:

  • Handle the costume carefully to prevent accidental damage.
  • Make sure your hands are clean when putting on or taking off the costume to avoid transferring dirt or oils.
  • Be gentle and move slowly while wearing the costume to avoid snagging or tearing.
  • When transporting the costume, use a padded bag or wrap it securely to protect it from bumps.

Professional Help:

  • If the costume needs complex repairs or special care, it’s best to seek help from professionals.
  • Costume makers or experienced tailors can fix any problems or make alterations.
  • Consult professionals for advice on caring for specific costumes, especially if they are old or valuable.

By following these tips for costume preparation and maintenance, the beauty and quality of Manipuri dance costumes can be preserved for a long time. Taking good care of the costumes ensures that they continue to enhance performances and keep the cultural traditions of Manipur alive.

Manipuri Dance Costume from Sanskriti Fancy Dresses

Experience the grace and beauty of Manipuri dance with our exquisite Manipuri dance costumes. Inspired by the rich traditions of Manipuri culture and dance, our costumes capture the essence of this classical art form, allowing you to showcase the timeless elegance and intricate movements that define Manipuri dance.

Design with Tradition: Our Manipuri dance costumes are thoughtfully designed to honor the intricate details and traditional aesthetics of this art form. From the delicate embellishments to the vibrant colors, each element is crafted to reflect the authenticity and splendor of Manipuri dance.

Quality Craftsmanship: We are dedicated to providing costumes of exceptional quality. Our Manipuri dance costumes are meticulously crafted from premium materials, ensuring comfort, durability, and a stunning visual appeal. The meticulous craftsmanship pays homage to the artistry of Manipuri dance.

Perfect Fit for Performance: Our Manipuri dance costumes are available in various sizes, tailored to ensure a perfect fit for dancers of all ages. Whether you’re a student, performer, or enthusiast, our costumes guarantee a seamless and authentic portrayal of Manipuri dance.

Available Buying Options

  • Physical Store: For those located in the Greater Noida area, our physical store offers an immersive shopping experience. Visit us to explore the Manipuri dance costumes in person, try them on for size, and receive personalized guidance from our knowledgeable team. Leave our Greater Noida store fully equipped to shine on stage with the elegance of Manipuri dance.
  • Online Shop: Our user-friendly website provides a convenient online shopping option. Browse our collection, view detailed images, and select your preferred size. With a few clicks, you can place your order and have the Manipuri dance costume delivered to your doorstep, ensuring a seamless acquisition process.

Manipuri Dance Costume FAQs

Q: What kind of fabrics are used in Manipuri dance costumes?

A: Traditional Manipuri dance costumes use silk fabrics like Manipuri Moirangphee and Manipuri Mayek Naibi.

Q: How should I store my Manipuri dance costume?

A: Keep your Manipuri dance costume in a breathable bag or container, away from sunlight. Use tissue paper to stuff it and protect it from dust and bugs.

Q: Can I wash my Manipuri dance costume at home?

A: Check the care instructions first. If it’s allowed, use a gentle detergent and lukewarm water. Don’t use harsh chemicals or bleach, and let it air dry.

Q: How can I handle my Manipuri dance costume carefully?

A: Make sure your hands are clean when touching it to avoid dirt transfer. Move gently and slowly while wearing it to avoid tearing. Use a padded bag for transportation.

Q: Can I repair my Manipuri dance costume myself?

A: Simple repairs like sewing loose parts can be done at home. But for complex repairs or delicate fabrics, it’s better to seek help from professionals.

Q: Are there any special designs on Manipuri dance costumes?

A: Yes, Manipuri dance costumes often have designs inspired by nature, myths, and religious symbols. These designs add beauty and represent cultural beliefs.

Q: Can I add modern elements to my Manipuri dance costume?

A: Some dancers incorporate modern styles into their costumes, but it’s important to maintain a balance between tradition and innovation to respect the art form.

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