The Ultimate Guide to Regional Indian Lehenga Styles & Designs


From the rich and buoyant celebrations of North India to the elaborate craftsmanship of the East, the royal grace of the West, and the elegant charm of the South, each region of our country boasts unique clothing styles that echo centuries of rich heritage.

In this ultimate guide, we explore the gorgeous array of regional Indian lehenga designs. Whether you’re a fashion lover seeking to grow your knowledge or a bride-to-be looking for the perfect outfit that reflects your style, this blog promises to be your top source of inspiration and information.

Lehenga Styles of North India

The northern part of India has a rich history of elaborate clothing, as evidenced by the intricate lehengas worn by brides there. Delicate embroidery, vibrant colours, and luxurious fabrics are all common features of lehenga styles in this region.

1. Colors and Fabrics

North Indian lehengas are typically made of rich fabrics such as silk, brocade, velvet, and net in vibrant reds, royal blues, and opulent gold. Chanderi, a fine lightweight cotton, is also used. In winter weddings, fabrics like velvet, georgette, and crushed silks add warmth, while lighter kinds of cotton and flowy chiffons are perfect for summer weddings.

2. Embroidery Styles

Northern lehengas are renowned for their intricate hand embroidery. Some popular techniques include:

  • Zardozi: Gold and silver threadwork
  • Gota Patti: Tinsel ribbon embroidery
  • Chikankari: White threadwork on muslin, from Uttar Pradesh
  • Phulkari: Colorful shawl embroidery of Punjab
  • Kashida: Varanasi’s vividly coloured silk thread embroidery

These techniques are often used to create intricate patterns and designs that are both beautiful and meaningful.

3. Silhouettes and Drapes

The Anarkali lehenga is a popular style of Indian dress in North India. It consists of a long, flared kurta top and a flared skirt. Other popular styles include the fish-cut lehenga and the panelled lehenga. Lehengas are often worn with a dupatta, a long scarf that is draped over the shoulders. The dupatta may be embroidered or have embroidered borders. Short-cropped blouses or embroidered cholis are also worn with lehengas. Net dupattas are sometimes layered over cholis.

4. Accessories

No northern Indian bridal look is complete without statement jewellery pieces, such as jhumkas, mathapatti, nath, kamarbandh, and bajubandh, which sparkle alongside embroidered lehengas. Intricate gold and kundan jewelry is preferred, while floral and polki jewelry is also popular. Bridal chooras, kalire, and embroidered mojris add to the traditional appeal.

Lehenga Styles of South India

Southern India has its own distinct lehenga variants. These lehengas are typically made with lightweight fabrics such as chiffon, silk, and cotton. They are also often embroidered with intricate designs, which can be either minimalistic or elaborate. Temple jewelry is often worn with these lehengas, which further adds to their beauty and elegance.

1. Colors and Fabrics

Southern bridal style is characterized by its subtle sophistication, which is reflected in the use of off-whites, beiges, and pastels. Silks like Kanjeevaram and timeless weaves like Kerala kasavu are highly prized. Cotton lehengas with golden zari work are common in Tamil Nadu, while Bandhani lehengas from Gujarat are also popular.

2. Embroidery and Prints

Southern lehengas usually have sparse yet exquisite embroidery. Zari, kasab, pearls, beads, mirror work and gold threads are utilized. 

Kerala’s kasavu sarees and mundu feature simplistic gold brocade lines. Chettinad lehengas display geometric prints. Kanchivaram silks have interwoven gold and silver threads forming patterns.

3. Silhouettes and Drapes  

While conventional north Indian flares are found, southern brides prefer more tailored and pleated lehenga styles. Skirt lengths are longer. Kerala-style mundu drapes are common, worn over a skirt with pleats at the front and back. The traditional Kerala kasavu is worn as a skirt, blouse and long veil. This 3-piece silhouette remains iconic.

4. Accessories

South Indian temple jewellery in gold and precious gems completes the bridal trousseau. Jasmine gajras, forehead mathapattis, layered necklaces and bangles stacked up the arm accentuate the graceful bride.

Antique gold jewellery from the Chettinad families is highly coveted. Bridal sarees called davani are draped over blouses.

 Lehenga Styles of West India

The west of India adds its own bold, vibrant touch to the traditional lehenga styles. Bright colours, bandhani tie-dyes, mirrorwork and bead embellishments distinguish lehengas from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Lehengas from Rajasthan are often made with heavy fabrics like velvet or brocade and are decorated with intricate mirrorwork and beadwork. Lehengas from Gujarat are typically made with lighter fabrics like cotton or silk and are often decorated with bandhani tie-dyes. Lehengas from Maharashtra are usually made with cotton or silk, and are often decorated with simple embroidery or mirrorwork.

1. Colors and Fabrics

Drawing inspiration from Bandhani textiles, western lehengas come in bright, playful colours. Mustard, ruby reds, parrot greens and sunny yellows are abundantly used.

Standard fabrics are malmal, cotton, silk, georgette and chiffon. Indigenous bandhani and patola weaves are used. Velvets are seen in winter bridal wear.

2. Embroidery and Embellishments 

Western lehengas are all about sparkle and opulence. Intricate mirror work, sequins, beads, tilla, ari and zardozi embellishments create show-stopping looks. 

Bold bandhani prints, patchwork designs and ajrakh block prints further elevate the textiles. Phulkari embroidery is also seen nowadays.

3. Silhouettes and Drapes

The most popular Western bridal lehenga is the traditional ghaghra, or skirt with gathers that flare from the waist. Panels or godets are frequently added to give them more volume. Odhnis or dupattas come in contrasting colours and are embellished with gota and mirror work. Backless or halter neck cholis are fashionable modern interpretations. 

4. Accessories

Kundan and polki jewelry sets are popular choices for brides. Armlets, anklets, and waistbands embellished with beads and mirrors add to the ornate look. Maang tikkas, nathnis, and mathapattis adorn the head. Brides complete their look with intricately embroidered mojdis.

Lehenga Styles of East India

Lehengas from eastern states like Bengal, Assam, and Odisha showcase unique regional art forms. These lehengas are distinguished by their hand-woven silks, vibrant colours, and minimal surface ornamentation. The Hand-woven silks are often made with intricate patterns and designs that are unique to each region. The vibrant colours are often inspired by the natural beauty of the region, such as the lush green forests of Assam or the colourful flowers of Odisha. The minimal surface ornamentation allows the beauty of the fabric and the craftsmanship to shine through.

1. Colors and Fabrics

Cotton, silk and tussar silks in deep red, saffron and yellow hues are preferred. White and off-white lehengas are donned for pheras. Banarasi, baluchari, muga and pat silks are treasured for their natural sheen. Jamdanis from West Bengal have intricate weaves. 

2. Embroidery and Surface Ornamentation

Instead of embroidering on the surface of the fabric, patterns are woven into the lehenga fabric itself. Some embellishment techniques used are kantha embroidery, shisha mirrors, wooden beads, and thread work. These are used sparingly to accentuate the luxurious base fabric.

3. Silhouettes and Drapes

Lehengas in this region have flared, long skirts with thick waistbands and minimal pleating, unlike those in the south. Traditional Bengali brides wear red, white, and yellow lehengas tied at the waist with red bows. Assamese mekhela chadors are two-piece garments worn with cholis.

4. Accessories

Gold, pearl and coral jewellery rule over bridal looks. Red and white bangles called bala are stacked up. Unique to Bengal are rani haars – an iconic bridal necklace of gold with coral beads. Gamchas or traditional cotton towels are used as dupattas. Plain mojris are preferred footwear.

In conclusion, while lehengas are an Indian garment, each region adds its own unique touches, making each bridal lehenga a blend of culture, heritage, and style. With the wide range of options now available, modern brides can experiment by mixing regional styles to create stunning fusion looks!

Aditi Gupta
Aditi Gupta
Hey, I am Aditi. Join me on this journey as I explore the latest trends, delve into timeless classics, and provide valuable insights into the ever-evolving world of fashion.