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South Indian Traditional Dresses

Pavada Davani Half Saree South Indian dresses are known for its simple and graceful look. The four South Indian states, namely Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are famous for many reasons. Temples and the sarees of south India top this list. Although there are minor variations in the costumes and ways of wearing, the traditional dresses of South India do not vary too much. In fact, Indian sarees can be called the common traditional dress of all women in South India with variations in the style of weaving and draping.

Traditional Dress of Kerala

The traditional dress of Kreala is the 'Mundum neriyathum' or 'mundu and neriathu'. It is worn by both, men and women of Kerala. The mundum neryathum consists of two pieces of cloth- mundu which is the cloth draped on the lower part of the body and neriyathu which is worn over a blouse. Mundu is a hand woven cotton cloth which is very comfortable in the summers. It is of white or cream color with a colored strip known as 'kara' meaning border. Traditionally, the Neriyathum is tucked inside the blouse. Sometimes, it is worn over the left shoulder just like the sarees of north India are worn.

Mundum neriyathumMundum neriyathum is worn by women from all communities of Kerala. However, the style of its wearing is different among the Christian women. They fold the mundu in multiple folds that resembles the shape of a fan. This portion is hung at the back. The mundum neryathum for festive occasion has golden colored borders or a broad zari border known as Kasavu, lending the costume another name- the "Kasavu Saree". Nowadays, these festival sarees of South India also come with borders of copper coated or artificial color (instead of golden color) with peacock or temple designs. The blouse worn by the women of Kerala differs according to the age and marital status. Young unmarried girls traditionally wear green blouse while married women wear red blouses. With time, the mundum neriyathum has been replaced by the 'Set-sari', which is a single strip of cloth and is famously known as the 'Kerala saree'.

Traditional Dress of Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is a representation of true soul of India as it is the home of diverse cultures of India. This South Indian state is most famous for its rich handloom sarees but women here can be seen in other dresses too. While the Hindu women wear different types of sarees, Muslim women can be spotted in burkha or the hijab. The prevalence of IT sector in Hyderabad have made the western womens wear like jeans, skirts and shirts, and ladies kurtis also popular in the state. However, the traditional dress of Andhra Pradesh still is the ethnic handloom sarees that are made at different places and are mostly famous by the names of these places.

Ikkat Pochampally SareeThe silk sarees made in Dharmavaram of Andhra Pradesh are the coveted sarees for ceremonies and festivals. The Dharmavaram sarees have plain borders without much contrast. However, the brocaded gold patterns or butta designs on the borders and the exclusively designed pallus are the features that make the Dharmavaram silk sarees so special for Andhra women. Yet another handloom saree- the Gadwal sarees are manufactured in Gadwal region of Andhra Pradesh. These sarees are famous world over for their cotton body with pure silk borders and pallu. The Ikkat saris were first woven in the Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. However, now they are famous by the name of Pochampally sarees due to their vast scale production in the Pochampally region of Andhra Pradesh. These sarees are also made in Puttapaka, and Chautuppal villages of Andhra Pradesh. The unique feature of Ikkat saris lie in the weaving -pattern wherein the yarn is arbitrarily dyed in zigzag or geometric structures. The Mangalgir saris, which are fine cotton sarees, are made in the Mangalgiri region of Andhra Pradesh. The Venkatagiri saris are hand woven with locally made jalas. They are fine examples of the jacquard weave. The body of the Venkatagiri sari is in sheer cotton, embellished with gold motifs like dots, coins, leaves, parrots, or simple geometric designs.

Apart from sarees, there are some tribal costumes too in Andhra Pradesh. The women of the tribe Lambadi wear attractive, colorful and heavy wide skirt like garments famous as Lambadi dress. Their bright shaded red, orange and blue attire have lots of mirrors and beads studded on them. These women carry a scarf which they throw over the shoulders and on the head. An embroidered choli with long sleeves is worn by them to cover their upper body. This choli is tied at the back with the help of bands.

Traditional Dress of Karnataka

Karnataka Silk SareeKarnataka, particularly Bangalore and Mysore, is the silk hub of India and as such Karnataka silk sarees are its traditional costume. However, the different drapes of sarees make these sarees unique. The Coorgi style of draping a saree in Karnataka involves tying the pleats in the rear instead of the front and a small portion of the pallu is placed over the shoulder. Mysore silk sarees are made with lustrous zari and rich silk. The extraordinary sheen of the fabric and the purity of the zari make these saree an elegant women dress. The Kornadu saris are a mix of cotton and silk. The Konrad sarees are woven with a blue cotton yarn and silk yarn in several colors other than blue. The motifs at border are varied and the body of the sari has checked or striped patterns. They are mostly used as daily casual wear sarees. The handloom Irkal saris have the beautiful Kasuti embroidery on them. Kasuti embroidery is a special craft practiced mainly in Uttara Kanara district or North Kanara district of Karnataka. The motifs on Irkal saris include architectural designs, cradle, elephant, squirrel among others. The Mysore crepe silk sarees are used as office wear sarees due to their light-weight, and easy to care nature.

Traditional Dress of Tamil Nadu

Kanjivaram sareeThe basic and the most traditional women dress of Tamil nadu is the 'Pavada Davani' famous by the name of half saree. It is a three piece clothing which includes a long lower garment resembling a petticoat or a long skirt; a choli blouse; and a long 'dupatta' like strip of cloth which is about as long as a half saree. It is usually worn by the village girls in Tamil Nadu. However, the Kanchipuram or the Kanjivaram sarees are the most famous traditional costume of Tamil Nadu. The designs on the body of the sari are woven with gold thread and the saree have varied motifs on it, ranging from figures to temples, along the border. The rich silk fabric, elaborate weaving designs and contrasting borders have made kanjivaram sarees popular not only in Tamil Nadu and India but all over the world.

Many traditional Indian sarees of Tamil Nadu, apart from the famous kanjivaram sarees, constitute the traditional costume of Tamil Nadu. The Kodalikareppur or Karpur saris made in the village of Kolli Karpur is a mixture of hand painting, block printing and brocade weaving. The Kora cotton saris, woven widely in Coimbatore district, have a self-designed jacquard pattern all over. Kurainadu and Kodambakkam saris are made by blending cotton and silk with beautiful geometric and floral designs. The Poornakumbham cotton saris are the fine cotton textured saris woven with rudraksha motifs and highlighted with pearls and cross lines. The Chungadi sarees of Madurai are basically made with the technique of tie and dye. Bright colors like red, purple, blue and black are used in these srees which have unique kolam (geometric) or rangoli patterns with borders in contrast colors. The Tribhuvanam silk saris are made by highly skilled weavers and have floral and animal designs on them.

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