Sri Lanka Traditional Dress: A Window into The Rich Heritage

By Jenna Jolie

The cultural heritage and customs of Sri Lanka are numerous, and they are evident in many facets of its culture. One of the most noteworthy features is the Sri Lanka traditional dress. Sri Lankan traditional clothing serves as both a window into their rich cultural history and a representation of their unique cultural identity. Understanding the importance of these traditional garments can offer a window into Sri Lanka's history and culture because each outfit has a special tale to tell. In this essay, we will examine Sri Lanka traditional dress and its societal significance.

What is the traditional dress of Sri Lanka? 

Despite the proliferation of western clothing in the nation, women working in sections of the government still dress in sarees, which are regarded as the national embodiment of the traditional dress of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka traditional dress for women

The Sari: A Must-Have for Sri Lankans

Hardly any lady in Sri Lanka is without a saree. The sarong is the counterpart for males. This, which can also be written as "saree," is a component of Indian culture that has assimilated into the customs and fashions of Sri Lanka.

Lama Sariya - A younger saree 

According to age and marital position, women's attire varies in Sri Lanka. The majority of the younger women don Lama Sariya, which resembles a portion of a saree.

Redde and Hatte

Married women and elderly women prefer to wear wrap-around with beautiful designs which are cotton fabrics along with a tight-fitting, short-sleeved jacket or a full shirt which are worn by tucking them in the front. 

Women typically wear modest, covered-up apparel. Along with Lama Sariya, Javanese Kabu Rain also has a variation known as Redde and Hatte. 

Sri Lanka traditional dress for women

Sri Lanka traditional dress for men

In Sri Lanka, men generally have it simpler when it comes to fashion because they adhere to more simple and clear customs. With his traditional Sri Lankan attire, the guy doesn't need to fret as much, regardless of his age. For guys of all ages, trousers or sarongs are appropriate for almost any event.

Jathika Anduma - The customary attire for males in Sri Lanka

In particular, when touring sacred sites, the Jathika Anduma is typically donned in pale or white hues. For religious events and rituals, males don the Jathika Anduma in many hues though pale gold and cream colors are often used for nuptials.

Sarong - the most convenient

Sarongs are one of the most common dresses in Sri Lanka for most males to wear. Sarongs are long, printed pieces of clothing that are worn by winding them around the torso. In some areas, males wear a cotton-made sarong over a long-sleeved blouse and a pair of straight pants. Because of the country's temperature, males occasionally don't wear tops at all.

Sri Lanka traditional dress for men

Sri Lanka traditional dress for men

Travel tips to have the best preparations for Sri Lanka traditional dress

Learning about local etiquette is essential when visiting Sri Lanka to ensure a respectful and enjoyable trip. Sri Lankan traditions are deeply rooted in religion and social conservatism, and dressing appropriately is important. 

Swim with the polite

While swimwear is acceptable for the beach, it is not appropriate in town, and going nude or topless is not permitted on any Sri Lankan beaches. Clothing that reveals the legs or upper arms and shoulders should be avoided when visiting religious sites, and public displays of affection, loud or brash behavior, and losing one's temper in public are frowned upon.

Respectful in clothing

Depictions of Buddha are taken seriously in Sri Lanka, and wearing clothing with Buddha images or displaying tattoos of Buddhist iconography should be avoided. Furthermore, posing for selfies with Buddha statues or turning one's back toward Buddha images is considered disrespectful. When taking photographs, it is important to ask for permission first, especially when photographing people. Flash photography is prohibited in temples and the vicinity of military sites, and taking photos may be banned entirely at some Hindu sites.


When visiting temples, it is important to remove shoes and headgear before entering any Buddhist or Hindu temple or mosque, even if the site is a historic ruin. Socks are allowed, and covering shoulders and legs is a mark of respect. In Jaffna and the north, where Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu culture predominates, tourists are less common, and local etiquette should be respected when visiting Hindu temples. Non-Hindus are barred from entering some shrines, and some temples require men to remove shirts and enter bare-chested.

Tips to have the best preparations for Sri Lanka traditional dress

In summary, learning about Sri Lanka traditional dress when visiting this heritage country is essential to ensure a respectful and enjoyable trip. Dressing appropriately, being considerate when taking photographs, using the right hand to eat, and respecting religious traditions are crucial aspects of Sri Lankan etiquette.

Don't pass up the opportunity to see Sri Lanka's native attire in all its beauty and uniqueness. With your Sri Lanka ETA in hand, you can now journey with ease and convenience to various places to observe the breathtaking assortment of traditional clothes. Get set for the journey of a lifetime by beginning your travel preparations right away with Sri Lanka Immigration Services!

Related Articles