Picture of How to wear a Bharatanatyam Dance dress
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Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating in Tamil Nadu, India. It follows the rules of the Natya Shastra, which is an ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, encompassing theatre, dance and music, written between 200 BC and 200 AD. Bharatnatyam is considered the manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body and is usually learnt from one Guru (teacher). Learning Bharatanatyam normally takes many years before the student can perform his/her Arangetram(debut) in public.

There are two commonly used styles in Bharatanatyam Costumes for women: the Skirt (Saree) Style or the Pyjama Style. Dancers wear costumes made of silk sarees with gold zari embroidery designs. The pleats in these costumes opens beautifully when the dancer forms a particular posture especially arai mandi (half sitting) and muzhu mandi (full sitting). 

You can buy or rent the costume and jewelry online

Things you'll need:


Blouse (upper part)
Pyjama (lower part)
Small fan (waist)
Pallu (drape over bosom)


Jumka (earring with upward extension)
Oddiyanam (waist band)
Nathni (nose ring)
Long Mala (long necklace)
Short Mala (choker)
2 Vaanki (arm bands)
Chudiya (colored bangles to match your dress)
Ghungroo (musical anklet with metallic bells)
Mattal (forehead)
Chandra (moon shaped hair ornament)
Surya (sun shaped hair ornament)
1 Red stick-on Bindi(a decorative mark worn in the middle of the forehead)


Kunjalam (Three cotton pom pom's to tie at the end of a braid)
2 Rubber Bands
Hair Extension (to tie a long plait with)
Real or fake Gajra (string of flowers, usually white)
A pair of Scissors
Black String

Make up:

Eye Shadow (to match dress)
Face Powder
Liquid Foundation
Red Lip Color
Red Nail Polish
Eye Liner
Kohl (dark black)
Eyelash Curler
Alta (a red colored liquid that the dancers use to decorate their hands and feet)container
A small Container
Cotton Buds
Safety Pins

Step 1: Wear the Blouse and the Pyjama

Picture of Wear the Blouse and the Pyjama
Make sure the drawstring of the pyjama is tight before you tie a double knot.
RadhaK6 months ago

thank you updating information regarding bharatanatyam dress etc... i have seen online regarding this costume and jewelry online at some shopping store i'm sharing which will useful for who are looking jewllery related dance items...



Thank you very much for posting this article. I was really tensed about it. It looks awesome. :-)

I can not thank you enough for posting this. Very well laid out, thank you. My four-year old daughter and I recently started studying the beautiful art of Bharatanatyam and this will be so helpful to us in our dancing.
fcross14 years ago
How do they manage to dance after wearing so much ?????
kritika.hora (author)  fcross13 years ago
Years and Years of practice! :)
sgang13 years ago
Please tell how to wear the Surya and Chandra head ornaments
which one on the left side of the head and which one on the right side ?
kritika.hora (author)  sgang13 years ago
Hey! The Surya (Sun) is on the right and Chandra (Moon) is on the left. Hope that helps :)
mvasagan4 years ago
Thank you every body to post this log. It is very useful to my sister's daughter. once again thank u
This is fascinating! Thank you for posting!
ongara_014 years ago
very cute in your's Bharatanatyam Dance dress
scoochmaroo4 years ago
Wow, very beautiful and in-depth process. Thank you for sharing this!
rockyt4 years ago
Very interesting indeed, and I must say, one Mahatmama!