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Tamil girl dressed in blouse and langa, ca. 1907

A Langa Voni (Pavadai Daavani Tamil: பாவாடை, Langa Voni Telugu: లంగా ఓణీ, Langa Davani Kannada: ಲಂಗ ದಾವಣಿ) is a traditional dress worn mainly in South India by young girls between puberty and marriage. It is also known as the two-piece saree or half saree.[1] Young girls between puberty and marriage wear this dress. Girls younger than this may wear it on special occasions.

It comprises a Langa or Paavadai, a skirt which is tied around the waist using string, and a Voni, Oni, or Davani, which is a cloth usually 2 to 2.5 metres in length. The voni is draped diagonally over a choli (a tight fitting blouse, same as worn for saree). Usually, the garment is woven with cotton or silk. A variant of this is the Gagra choli of North India (the difference between the two being the direction of draping the voni or dupatta).

The Dress[edit]

The half saree facilitates the transition from the childhood paavadai (skirt) sattai (blouse) to the saree, the more complicated drape worn by adult women. Usually the paavadai and oni are brightly colored and contrasting to each other. At a glance, the half saree outfit can look similar to southern styles of saree because the drape travels in the same direction: tucked into the front of the skirt, then wrapped around the waist, and then draped over the opposite shoulder. However, the voni is shorter, and the wearer is not required to manually pleat the cloth, as is done when draping the saree. In addition, the voni is less restrictive, allowing the wearer to move her legs freely.

Modern day[edit]

The influence of western culture and the perception of the dress as inconvenient has led to the decline of the half saree as daily wear, in favor of the Shalwar kameez or western clothes.

In recent years, however, the langa oni is gaining popularity among girls and young women as occasional wear due to attention in media and fashion. Once very simple, they can now be seen with extravagant embroidery, mirror or zari work, and bold colors like black and grey which were once considered inauspicious. There is also a greater diversity of fabrics being used in addition to the usual silk or cotton, including chiffon, georgette, crepe and nylon. Full sarees are sometimes woven so that the fabric, when worn, changes color or pattern at the hip, in order to give the visual effect of a langa voni.

Significance in Coming of age ceremony[edit]

Main article: Half-Sari Ceremony

In South India Coming of age ceremony or rites of passage (Langa Voni Telugu: లంగా వోని, Pattu Pavadai Tamil: பட்டு பாவாடை, Langa Davani Kannada: ಲಂಗ ದ್ವನಿ) is celebrated when a girl reaches puberty. She wears a Langa Voni given by her maternal grandparents, which is worn during the first part of the ceremony and then she is given her first Sari by her paternal grandparents, which she wears during the second half of the ceremony. This marks her transition into womanhood.

The tradition of presenting Langa Vonis from the maternal grandparents in some communities begins with the girl's first naming ceremony Namakaran and her first rice feeding ceremony called Annaprashana. She receives her last one at her coming of age ceremony.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pavadai Dhavani". Tamilnadu.com. 26 January 2013. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langa_Voni — Please support Wikipedia.
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5 news items

The Hans India
Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:07:30 -0800

This year, Sankranti, as the harvest festival is called by the Telugu speaking population, revived the traditional half-saree or langa voni culture. It may have been for just a day, but the half-saree had conspicuously replaced the more popular salwar ...

Times of India

Times of India
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 03:05:03 -0800

There was a time when Tollywood's leading lady would inevitably be a naive lil' beauty from a non-descript village, dressed in the traditional langa-voni, complete with jasmine flowers and glass bangles. Legendary actresses like Savithri, Jamuna, Ramya ...
Times of India
Mon, 18 Mar 2013 04:39:47 -0700

When I saw the original for reference, little did I know then that I'd be acting in a Telugu film next, that too playing a village belle, dressed in a langa voni all the time. It was great fun," recalls Pranitha, who broke in to Tollywood with Em Pillo ...
The Hindu
Sat, 03 Sep 2011 23:20:31 -0700

Young and old alike sashayed down the ramp donning traditional wear at CMR Central here on Saturday. The shopping mall wore a festive look as children dressed in coloured 'ghaghra cholis' and the traditional 'langa voni' walked the ramp in sync with ...
Fri, 06 Oct 2006 10:20:18 -0700

It was colorful with women in traditional sarees, girls in langa/voni, with Bathukammas made of locally available flowers, which were placed in the center and women played around the Bathukammas. The elderly women performed bathukamma Pooja (Gowri ...

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