Traditional Dress of Kerala (Men and Women)

Dressing styles vary from region to region across India. South Indian states differ a lot in terms of dresses from North Indian and other states. Even among the Southern states, the traditional dresses are markedly different from each other. Kerala is known for its lush green serene landscape, backwaters and a rich culture. While Western outfits dominate the present generation, traditional dresses of Kerala are still worn especially during special occasions, such as festivals and weddings. The elegant traditional costume of Kerala is of white or off-white colour which reflects the peaceful and pure atmosphere of the state.

1. Mundum Neriyanthum

Mundum Neriyanthum

Mundum Neriyanthum is the traditional dress worn by women in Kerala. Mundum is the lower piece of garment made of two pieces of cloth, usually cotton. It is hand woven and particularly comfortable during summers. The style of wearing Mundum is beneath the hips and around the navel. A coloured strip present on the border of the Mundum is called kara.

Neriyanthum refers to the upper garment which is worn over the blouse. Its one is tucked inside the mundu while the other end is worn across the front torso. Thus, Neriyanthum is worn like a saree in a diagonal manner from the right hips to the left shoulder. Colour of the blouse indicates the marital status of the women. Married women drape the Neriyanthum over red blouse while unmarried girls wear Neriyanthum over green blouse.

Kasavu Mundu and Kasavu Neriyanthum are worn on festive occasions such as Onam. These are highly delicate and made of pure cotton handloom fabric. They are bordered with glossy golden threads, contrasting colours of various designs or copper colour. Apart from cotton, Mundum Neriyanthum can also be woven of silk to impart a more glossy appearance.

Christian women wear a special kind of mundum called pleated mundum. Muslim women also wear mundum but pair it with burkha or hijab.

2. Mundu

Mundu is an important part of the traditional dress for men in Kerala and is a symbol of simple and pure way of living. It is a long piece of fabric which is wrapped around the waist and flows down to the ankle. The border of the Mundu is called kara and is usually golden in colour. Kasavu Mundu is a variant of Mundu which is popular in the rural and remote areas of Kerala. It is a 3-4 metres long cotton cloth having a silk border.

Traditionally no garment is worn over the Mundu. However, a towel like cloth can be draped over the shoulders. Mundu can be easily folded below the knees during physical labour or a hot and humid day. Thus, apart from cultural significance, Mundu also holds practical value for the men to combat the sultry climate of Kerala.

Muslim men traditionally wear the Mundu, but also wear kurta or shirt to cover their upper body. Christian men wear Mundu and shirt during special occasions.

3. Jubba

Jubba is another important part of the men’s traditional clothing in Kerala. It is basically a long shirt worn on the upper body above the Mundu. Jubba is generally made of silk and has a border called kara. The border or kara can be patterned or decorated with colourful stones, as in jubbas worn on festivals and other special occasions.

4. Pattu Pavada

Pattu Pavada is a traditional dress worn by teenage girls between puberty and marriage in Kerala. This dress features a long skirt or langa and a blouse. The long skirt, made of silk, is pleated and tied around the waist, and it hangs down from the waist to the toes. It has a contrast border at the bottom.

Blouse is the upper garment which is customized to fit the body. It has a styled neckline and short sleeves.

If you are interested to know about other culture dress than see this Traditional Dress of Ladakh.

Spread the love


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *