(From the Newsletter of The Institute of Draped Clothes, Nov 2003 - URL : http://www.idcw.org.uk/ )
By Prof. Dattatray Parasnis
It surprises me that the Indian wrap-round male underwear known as 'langota' has not been described anywhere. If you let a search engine like Altavista.com or Google.com look for it you will find a number of pages where it is mentioned but nowhere is there any description of it or how it is worn. I am sending you a sketch of the 'langota' and a description of how it is put on (below). The word is pronounced as one would in English the combination 'lung-oat'.
The great Mogul Zahiruddin Muhammad Babar, the founder of the Mogul dynasty who ruled India, mentions in his fascinating memoirs for the Muslim year 932 (by our reckoning 18 October 1525 to 7 October 1526) that the peasants and simpler people of India wear no clothes but a 'langota'. The worn appearance of this garment seems to have been much the same as the present 'langota' or the Japanese fundoshi, but from Babar's description, it seems to have been a two-piece garment.
Unlike fundoshi, which seems to be disappearing in Japan, the langota is in use among a section of the male population in India. It is almost mandatory for traditional wrestling, gymnastics, asanas in Yoga, playing kabbadi, old martial art training in South India etc. When I was young it was the only underwear many men ever used.