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Bhutan: The Gho & The Kira

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Ha! Guess what was it about these two guys (or maybe it’s just one of them) that fascinated me?

The national dress was introduced during the 17th century by the unifier of Bhutan to give the Bhutanese a unique identity.  The men wear the gho and for the women, the kira.

Men in skirts! The gho is a long robe hoisted to the knee and held in place with a kera, a woven cloth belt, wound tightly around the waist. The working men complete the outfit with knee-length socks and dark-coloured, leather shoes. Some of the men look really stylish wearing a ponytail (like our guide). I saw so many ruggedly good-looking men!

The kira is a floor-length rectangular piece of cloth wrapped around the body over a blouse. The kira is held from the shoulders by broach-like hooks and is fastened at the waist with a kera. The dress is complete with a short, open jacket-like garment.

As part of the national efforts to preserve and promote the kingdom’s cultural heritage, all Bhutanese are required to wear the national dress in government offices, schools and on formal occasions.

The impact of modernisation is slowly, but surely, creeping into Bhutan. We came across quite a number of youths wearing modern clothes, such as jeans, tee-shirts, leather jackets and sneakers.

For some reason, I didn’t take many photos of the Bhutanese women – maybe just one or two. Too busy gawking at the men, I think!

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