India’s President Patil in a ‘Tibetan’ Dress

The other day (April 2, 2009) India’s President, Pratibha Patil, visited Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Obviously, the issue of Arunachal Pradesh and Tawang is a matter of contention for the Chinese Government, which maintains that it is a part of Tibetan territory.  Therefore, President Patil’s visit there is a political statement from India. I am waiting to see China’s reaction to it.

However, I was more engrossed with a photo that appeared in the media when President Patil visited Tawang. The photo appears to be taken during her visit to the famed Galden Namgyal Lhatse monastery, more popularly known as the Tawang Monastery.  She is being greeted by monks in rows bearing the typical khata.  What is different is the dress of the President.  Instead of her usual Sari,  President Patil is wearing a Chuba (gown), a Wonjug (shirt), a Shamo (Hat) as well as a Pangden (Apron), a dress that a typical Tibetan lady would wear. I have put “Tibetan” in quotes in the heading, because the Monpas, who are the inhabitants of Tawang, are related to Tibet and some of them may be wearing similar dress although they do have their unique garment.

I think there are photos of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in a Tibetan dress, but this could be the first time an Indian President is in one.  See for yourself here.

Indian President Patil looking elegant in a Tibetan dress as she greets the monks in Tawang
Indian President Patil looking elegant in a Tibetan dress as she greets the monks in Tawang

7 thoughts on “India’s President Patil in a ‘Tibetan’ Dress

  1. Hi Bhuchung la,
    I really like your blog. Beautiful design and very interesting posts. The only suggestion I have is you need to blog more frequently.
    Happy blogging.

    1. Thank you for your comments. I try to take the opportunity (when inspiration strikes) to blog. I also try to blog in Tibetan, which you can see at This is my way of encouraging myself to improve my Tibetan as I try to spread the art of blogging to Tibetan readers. Let me have your thoughts.

  2. HI,
    I think u have mistaken saying that monpas are inhabinants of taiwan..its totally wrong i request you to right correct information here.

    1. Tsering la,

      Many thanks for your feedback. I have corrected the typo. Certainly, our Monpa brethren are from the Tawang area and not from Taiwan.


  3. Hi, I am interested in Tibetan dress, has it ever adapted and the current colours have they evolved, Has it ever been silver and gold? Has there ever been a cap like a mediaeval cap. Is there a translation to the phrase HEY YO? It is very guttaral and low in sound with much vibration. I think it is Tibetan. I hope you can help me in this puzzle please.

    1. There are some books like the Dalai Lama’s memoir, My Land & My People, and Charles Bell’s People of Tibet that have reference to the Tibetan dress. You may want to check them out. Tibetans do have different types of hats.

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