How traditional are you? Read about the types of Assamese “Gamusa”!

Gamusa  is a unique identity of Assamese Society. This small piece of cloth has high esteem and wide usage in Assamese culture. nowhere in the rest of India something like ‘Gamusa’ is found. Gamusa is also known as ‘Bihuwaan’, as it is an essential part of Bihu festival of Assam.

Although cotton yarn is the most common material for making/weaving gamusas, there are special occasion ones made from Pat silk.

It has also listed, different types of Gamusas like-

  • Uka Gamusa
  • Phulam Gamusa
  • Bihuwan
  • Tioni Gamusa
  • Pani Gamusa
  • Anakota Gamusa
  • Telos Gamusa
  • Jor Gamusa
  • Hadharon Gamusa

                        The origin of Gamusa is still vague to the historians. It’s not known whether it was originated in Assam or came from far east like Thailand, where small clothes like Gamusa are in use.  So, it can be assumed that Gamusa is a great innovation of Assamese weaver. Gamusa is of rectangular shape, around 2 feet in width and 4 feet in height, closer to the shape of a towel. It’s white in colour with red borders. One or two borders on the width, are woven with very artistic embroidery. The raw material used for weaving Gamusa is cotton. But some gamusa used in special occassions are made of Silk too. Though it’s pretty simple, weavers show their artistic talents in the motifs of a gamusa.

The usage of Gamusa is wide spread. From very ordinary household jobs to high esteem jobs, Gamusa performs all of them very well. In ordinary tasks it’s used as a bath towel, a head wrapper, easy to use dhoti and so on. The list of special usages of gamusa is longer.
Gamusa is the symbol of showing respect to elder ones in Assam. It’s gifted to the elder one in any special occassions as a token of respect.
Gamusa is part and parcel of the most celebrated festival Bihu of Assam. It is also known as Bihuwaan. Bihuwaan is gifted to the family members in Bihu. Bihu dancers also wear gamusa on the waist or on the head(male dancers).
Gamusa is used in any religious activities in Assam. The ‘Monikut’ of Namghar is usually covered with Gamusa. Gamusa, Xorai, Tamul (Betel Nut ), Paan (Betel) are essential in every accasion.

By- Monalisha Gogoi.