Santal Traditional Wear & Ethnic Ornaments : Phuta & Panchi

Tribal or Indigenous Peoples have one more unique feature in their culture is : Dressing or Attire y.  They have their own way of adorn themselves with natural elements . It boasts of its rich culture, and clothing heritage which has evolved through time but its people are still traditionalist at heart, especially when it comes to express their community gathering during festive occasion .

Santhal traditional clothing has gone a massive change over the years. The major change that took place is that it got more colors involved in it as the time passed whereas during earlier days just two sets of color combination : White and Red, White and Maroon were only present. And reason for this change took place is due to the influence of living parallel or closely with non-tribal. The changes which have taken place depend on the region, mainly two type of clothing styles are there for man and woman i.e 'Phuta' and other is 'Panchi'  .

  • Santhali Photography
  • Santali Jewelry,Ornament
  • Santhali Traditional dress
  • Santali Traditional dress
  • Santali Cultural dress
  • Santhali Attire



Do you know for a Santal Woman each and every body parts had their own ornaments to wear ?
1. Hasa Mala for Neck, 2. Itil Paini as Ankle, 3.Melhed Sakam for Hand, 4. Pan Kanta for Hair bun, 5.Sud Pasha for Side of Bun, 6. Silha 'Above ear on hair' 7.Pagra for Ear, 8.Phuli for Nose, 9.Puisa Mala for Neck,10.Baju for arm, 11.Bala Sakam for Hand, 12.Mudam for ring, 13.Danda Jhinjhri for waist. 14. Khadu (anklet with solid structure) & Paini (anklet without ghungroos) and pajap (anklet with ghungroos on it)

There were a lot of Santals jewelries but as the time passed on  the today’s mainstream fashion has got those over. We would only give brief introduction for few of them .


1.Hasa Mala : Bangles made of Terecotta 

Santal women wore bangles made of 'terracotta' called 'Hasa Sakam' where 'Hasa' in Santali means for 'Mud' and 'Leaf' respectively. They also used 'Hasa Mala' (necklace made of terracotta beads). The beads were hand made and it was dried after making it hollow. They used it as necklace by putting them in a sequence with a thread. It is worn by women only.
                                                                                       The males also wore a bangle the difference was that the female bangle had motifs on the body whereas the male bangle had no motifs.  Making of head of the animals and birds on jewelry is more interesting in both the bangles.

2.Itil Paini :

Though accessories were popular but it was brittle, so it was worn during special days or when there is less physical work to do.
As the time passed on, People started using the ornaments made of bronze whey became able to afford it. In this period Santal women wore a distinct anklet which was ‘Itil Paini’ .


3.Melhed Sakam : Symbol for married women .

'Melhed Sakam' is a kind of bangle which has very significant role in the Santal community. It is worn by married women only in left hand. It is supposed to be removed by women when she became widow. In usual days, women do not put vermilion on their partition of head and so it becomes difficult to find out whether she is married or not. But seeing ‘Melhed sakam’ on women, one can easily differentiate that she is married.

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