Pheran is a traditional outfit for both males and females in the Kashmir Valley. The pheran consist of two gowns, one over the other. The traditional pheran extends to the feet, which was popular up to the late 19th century C.E. However, a relatively modern variation of the pheran extends to below the knees, which is worn with a suthan inside (loose form of shalwar) similar to the styles worn in Afghanistan. It is optional to wear the suthan with a long pheran as traditionally lower garments are not worn with pherans. The traditional pheran do not have side slits. According to some sources, the pheran was introduced by Mughal emperor Akbar when he conquered the valley in 1586.  In summer, the pheran are made of cotton, but in winter, the pheran is made of wool, covering and protecting the body from the cold especially during snow. These dresses are used by the residents of the Kashmir valley and Kashmiris residing in Chenab Valley.There is no consensus as to the origin of the word ‘pheran’. However, it seems that the word is an origin of the Persian word ‘perahan’ which means shirt. The outfit has been in vogue in Kashmir since before the 15th century. A pheran made of wool is called a ‘loch’

Intricate embroideries or flower styles are a popular function of a Kashmiri ladies pheran. The embroideries or flower Styles are made of thin metal threads and this kind of embroidery is known as ‘Tille’ in Kashmiri language. Poots is the same as the pheran but made of lighter material and is worn beneath the pheran. It is generally used to save the pheran from burns due to kangri. It also provides extra heat during winters, double layered protection, from the cold winter days.

Modern trends saw a decline in the use of pherans in favour of the salwar – kameez. However, there has been a revival in recent years as pherans have become part of modern fashion, and are worn by females of other areas of India as well. Kashmiri men are also wearing the pheran as a fashionable outfit. Combined with jeans, the pheran has made its way into the office world.

Leave a Reply