A handwoven, ankle-length lower garment, the dakmanda is part of the traditional attire of women of the Garo community in Meghalaya. Worn as a wraparound skirt, it consists of a thick, unstitched cloth with a six to ten inch border at the bottom.
The dakmanda was traditionally woven from a long-staple cotton, called khildig, which is native to the Garo hills. Over time, however, cotton fibre has given way to other fibres such as acrylic yarn or silk, particularly Mulberry, Eri and Muga silks. Paired with a blouse and a stole of either matching or contrasting colours, the dakmanda – unlike the daksare or the gana – is worn mostly on formal occasions. Its border typically features a woven pattern with concentric diamond shapes called the muikron, meaning “eye” in Garo.
Prior to the dakmanda, most Garo women wore a loincloth called the E.King, which they weaved at home. Though still worn in some parts of Meghalaya, in most places the E.King has been replaced by the skirt-like dakmanda. The earlier version of the dakmanda was shorter and the introduction of longer hemlines has been attributed to the influence of Christian missionaries, who encouraged more conservative forms of dressing among the Garo.
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