The national dress of Bhutan is called the ‘Gho‘ for men and ‘Kira‘ for women. It was introduced during the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to give the Bhutanese a unique identity. In an effort to preserve and promote its cultural heritage, all Bhutanese are required to wear the national dress in government offices, schools and on formal occasions.
The gho is a long robe hoisted to the knee and held in place with a ‘Kera,’ a woven cloth belt, wound tightly around the waist. This forms a large pouch above that may be used to contain particular items, traditionally a bowl and betel nut. The kira is a floor-length rectangular piece of cloth wrapped around the body over a blouse called wonju.
The kira is held from the shoulders by broach-like hooks called ‘Koma’ and is fastened at the waist with a kera. The dress is complete with a short, open jacket-like garment called ‘Toego.’