The Meiteis are mainly populating the main valley.
muscular and stout with well developed chest and hard limbs. They possess
enormous stamina and muscular power. The improvised Mongol features distinguish them from other Mongolian races. Hairs are generally coarse
and black. Very few grow beard and moustache is not in fashion. The women
are beautiful with improved Mongol features like slightly sharp facial features.
Meitei women can be easily distinguished from a hill woman. The instant
identification is the improvisation in the eye sockets of the
flatness of the nose, the thickness of the lips and the progression of the
cheeks. The complexion varies from dark to fair but in general the woman are
either fair wheatish or dark. The hair growth of the women is luxuriant. Some
unmarried girls prefer to bob their hair and across the forehead cut in circle.
Some others keep long hair, parted at the centre and combed backward.
The dress of a man is white
dhoti and pagari (old man). Their dresses are distinct and specific for particular ceremonial occasions.
The woolen or endi or silk shawl is wrapped round the body over the white Kurta
and dhoti. No other dress is allowed on ceremonial occasions. Pants, shirts and coat are also common especially with young and office-goers.
The women dress themselves with choli to cover the
upper portion of the body and a skirt type garment called 'Fanek' which is
wrapped around the waist up to the ankles. Under Fanek no portion of legs
is kept bare. It is tied at the waist by a simple adjusting knot by arranging
the wrapping ends of the cloth. It is not adjusted with the help of a belt .The
knot can be united easily at any time to adjust the skirt properly.
A cotton chadar is wrapped around the upper body.
ceremonial occasions the white fanek and white chadar are worn and on some
other occasions the pink coloured Fanek and chadar are felt essential. The craze for imported skirt is very common in unmarried
young girls. They wear Knee-long modern skirts. These skirts do not serve
the purpose of covering the cylindrical calves as is done with the fanek.
Another old style of wearing the fanek is that the cloth is folded round
the body, at bust and on their back and it goes under the armpits over the
breast keeping their portion of body upward the neck bare, it is kept in
position by a knot at the side of the body.
Women are fond of gold ornaments.
The possession of
gold is considered as the sign of richness. Tattooing is not done in Manipur.