The decision was made by dzongkhag cultural officers during their sixth annual conference  

Culture: Women across the country will now have to wear only ada rachu on all occasions, according to a circular from the home ministry.

The circular issued to all dzongkhag cultural officers on February 16 states that respective dzongdags and cultural officers should monitor and ensure that women in the dzongkhags wear the ada rachu and not patterned rachu.

Similarly, women are mandated to drape only ada rachus for uniformity and to preserve the tradition.

The circular also states that only Royal Family members can use different patterned rachus.

Ada rachu is a simple patterned rachu that women used in the past.

Dzongkhag cultural officers said that they sent the copy of the circular to all the gewogs in their dzongkhags so that the local leaders will be able to sensitise women in the villages.

Some dzongkhags have started implementing the regulation by disallowing women staff of the dzongkhags to wear different patterned rachus other than ada rachus.

This way, the cultural officers feel that the message would be conveyed.

A female staff in one of the dzongkhags said that she had to change her rachu immediately as soon as the circular was out. “I bought an ada rachu from the town as the cultural officer asked me to change my rachu,” she said.

Tsirang’s cultural officer Sangay Wangchuk said that they started to implement the circular as soon as they received it. Tsirang dzongkhag’s female officials are allowed to wear only ada rachu, which he said is strictly being monitored.

Sangay Wangchuk said a copy of the circular has been issued to all the 12 gewogs in Tsirang. “I also make a point to inform women who I see wearing other patterned rachus,” he said.

Sangay Wangchuk said he would also educate villagers when he visits the gewogs.

Dzongkhag cultural officers said that the decision to implement the regulation was decided during their sixth annual conference held a few months ago. During the conference, it was decided that as the eight lucky sign patterns was entitled only for Royal Family members, women should wear only ada rachu.

Wangduephodrang’s cultural officer Shacha Gyeltshen said the dzongkhag is planning to implement the requirement of ada rachus from the dzongkhag first.

“We’ve already sent a copy of the circular to all the gewogs in Wangdue,” he said.

Chukha’s dzongkhag cultural officer Ugyen Chada said all gewogs including women representatives were informed of the new regulation.

Ugyen Chada said that in the past, common women wore ada rachus while only Royal Family members wore different patterned rachus that were more elegant.

Today many women can afford different patterned rachus, he said. “The cheaper versions are easily available from India,” he said. “Many women prefer different patterned rachus as they are not aware of the type of rachu they are entitled.”

Kinga Dema