Traditional Dress of Kerala, What is the Traditional Dress of Kerala

by Surojit Palmal
Traditional Dress of Kerala

Kerala the God’s Own Country is known for a variety of reasons. If there can be an attractive tourist spot that offers a lot to its visitors then it would be Kerala. However if there can be one thing that will let you delve more into the culture of a state, it is their traditional outfits. And Kerala is no exception either. The traditional dress of Kerala is classy as well as sophisticated. Like any other state, even these old traditional dress of Kerala speak about its rich history.

Next time when you visit Kerala other than sightseeing, you can observe the traditional dress of Kerala. You will be able to get a greater insight about how the state functions. Also the traditional dress of Kerala is getting popular even outside Kerala nowadays. Keep on reading this article to know what is the traditional dress of Kerala. In this article I will mention everything that you need to know about the traditional dresses in Kerala. It will help you understand the culture and tradition of Kerala even more.

Traditional Dress of Kerala

Lungi or Mundu

It is one of the most popular bottom wear that is worn by Kerala men. This traditional dress of Kerala is something that you can see in other parts of India as well. Especially in many other southern states Lungi is a popular outfit. In Kerala another name of Lungi is Mundu. It is one of the most comfortable outfits for men. For a whole day this can be worn with utmost comfort without any hassle. It is basically a long piece of cloth wrapped around the waist and the bottom is left loose.

One of the most important factors that make lungi an essential outfit is the hot and humid temperature in Kerala. Given the temperature in Kerala, lungi proves to be one of the most comfortable dresses. By wearing this outfit one can get rid of sweat and sweat related issues like itching, fungus or any infection. Even these days women have started wearing lungi casually at home. That is how comfortable this traditional dress of Kerala is.


This is basically a piece of cloth worn around the torso. It is like a towel or shawl and previously a Jubba was paired mostly with lungi. Previously this was a popular outfit for occasions like marriage or cultural events. But with time the popularity of lungi remained. But Jubba slowly lost its charm. In recent times Jubba is mostly worn by villagers. Furthermore, Jubba is also replaced by shirts and T-shirts. People in Kerala prefer wearing white shirts mostly as it is like the most worn colour in the state. During older days Jubba was made of silk material. However nowadays it is also made of other materials.

Silk Sarees

Sarees in Kerala are very popular. Here women love wearing sarees. And if there is one particular variant that is very popular it is the silk sarees. Kerala women take a lot of pride in wearing their silk sarees. Furthermore these sarees are lightweight, comfortable and look elegant. Even a lot of women choose these sarees as their wedding outfit too. For bridal silk sarees a huge variety is available. Most of the time, these sarees are more intricately woven and embroidered. They are also available in vibrant shades. In Kerala the silk sarees are believed to be an intricate part of the Hindu culture. This traditional dress of Kerala woman looks elegant, classy as well as beautiful. If you ever visit Kerala do not forget to check out the beautiful silk sarees there. You can even grab one for yourself and bring back home

Mundum Neriyatham

Mundum Neriyatham

This is one of the most extensively worn outfits for Kerala women. Mundum Neriyatham is a traditional dress of Kerala worn both on regular days as well as on occasions. It is basically an attire made of three different pieces of clothes. One cloth of this outfit is wrapped around the waist just how a lungi is worn. But just like saree there are some plaits or folds in the front here. Then there is the second piece of cloth that is worn around the upper body a lot like Jubba. Furthermore it is worn over a blouse or a choli. The outfit looks quite similar to a saree. However the separate pieces of clothes make it look different. It is one of the elegant Kerala traditional dresses that the women love wearing.


This is a piece of cloth that is paired with Mundu in Kerala. It is an attire worn by the men in Kerala on their upper body. It is draped around the upper body like a towel or a shawl, goes over the shoulder and covers the chest area. However in recent times very few people wear a Melmundu with a Mundu. Nowadays a white shirt is paired more with a mundu as it seems more convenient.


Kasavu Sarees

The Kasavu sarees don’t really need an introduction I feel. This type of Kerala saree is popularly known as the Kerala sarees in the rest of the states in India. That is how popular they are. Basically this is an elegant traditional dress of Kerala. This is a saree with white or cream coloured base along with a golden border. It looks extremely elegant and poised and stands for simplicity. Furthermore Kasavu sarees are also an embodiment of the heritage of Malyali culture as well.

Often the border of the Kasavu saree is woven in pure gold silk threads. It also symbolizes purity and prosperity. This is the reason that this outfit is worn most extensively during festivals, weddings and important cultural events. Furthermore the Kasavu sarees are a representation of the cultural values, heritage as well as aesthetic aspects of Kerala. From many generations Kasavu has been a favourite among women in Kerala. At present even people from other states also really prefer wearing these sarees. On your visit to Kerala don’t forget to get your hands on traditional Kerala Kasavu saree.

Set Mundu

It is a traditional dress of Kerala that is a two piece outfit. Obviously there is Mundu which is the bottom wear. It is white or cream coloured plain piece of cloth worn as a Dhoti. Along with that there is the Neriyathu that is the bordered cloth worn in the upper body. Like always mundu is won here around the waist. Furthermore the Neriyathu goes around the shoulder. It is a traditional Malayali outfit for both men and women. The beautiful golden border on the Neriyathu adds a quintessential elegant touch to the outfit.

Since the set mundu is worn by both men and women it is distinct in its style of draping. This outfit is a popular choice for people of Kerala during their festivals or religious and cultural gatherings. Also this traditional dress of Kerala stands for the simplicity and elegance of the culture.


This is a very popular traditional dress of Kerala man. Veshti is an outfit that exudes the pride of Kerala. It is basically a plain piece of cloth either in white or in cream colour. This is an unstitched piece of cloth primarily made of cotton or silk. Worn like a dhoti, Veshti is neatly wrapped around the waist and legs. Furthermore the outfit is pleated neatly and therefore gives an elegant look.

For weddings, cultural events, functions and gatherings Veshti is a common outfit for men in Kerala. Also Veshti is just not a dress. It is also a symbol of the rich culture, heritage, respect and identity of the land. The men in Kerala wear Veshti with a lot of pride.

Accessories/ Jewelleries in Kerala

Mulla Motu

This is a type of necklace that is very popular in Kerala. Kerala is known for its intricate designs when it comes to jewellery. The Mulla Motu is no exception. Also it is an elegant piece of jewelry that is a must have for every bride. It is made of jasmine petals and arranged in sequence. Furthermore this piece of jewellery further enhances the beauty of the bride to another level.

Karimani Mala

This is another must have item for the brides. As I have mentioned Mulla Motu is a must have for every bride, but it is not possible for the brides to keep on wearing the jewellery all the time throughout their lives. For that purpose there is Karimani Mala. It is basically a mangalsutra worn by Kerala women. However the design is different though and looks very beautiful. After some days of marriage the women of Kerala prefer wearing the Karimani Mala. It is lightweight, elegant and beautiful at the same time. 

Manga Mala

Without an accessory a look can never be complete for a woman. Especially when it is the festival time, jewellery has an important role to play. The Manga Mala is one such intricate piece of jewelry loved by married women in Kerala. Most of the married women in Kerala prefer wearing gold jewellery if they can afford it. The Manga Mala is one such jewelry. This is a long necklace that comes down to the stomach portion. From ancient times this has been a popular jewellery in Kerala. With tiny mango shaped pendants the design of this necklace looks even more elegant. If you are in Kerala or if you are attending a wedding in Kerala you will be able to see this jewellery. So keep an eye on that.

Wrapping Up!

So tell me what do you think after checking out the traditional dress of Kerala pictures? Did you notice how vibrant yet simplistic these outfits are? The traditional dress of Kerala takes forward the cultural values of the land. Furthermore the people living here take a lot of pride in the kind of outfits that they wear. Their rich traditions, glorious past and cultural variety are very well reflected in their outfits.

As a state Kerala is one of the most sophisticated and educated states in India. However with modernity they have not forgotten their culture or age old traditions. Maybe that is the reason you will see all Kerala men and women dressed in Kasavu or Mundu or Veshti during any festival. If you are interested to get the most of the old traditional dress of Kerala then you need to visit there during any festival. And you will be able to witness how closely the people of Kerala hold on to their tradition.

 So when are you planning a visit to Kerala? Also let me know if this article is helpful for you. And don’t forget to tell me if there is any outfit that attracts you the most and you need to have it in your life. I would love to know that.

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