The traditional festivals in Kerala are incomplete without Kerala saree or set mundu. The Malayalee community all across the world take pride in wrapping these for special occasions. These have become an indispensable part of Kerala culture. From time immemorial, the women folk of Kerala feel a sense of happiness and pride while they are clad in this tradition. The elegance associated with these sarees is also a class apart.


Significance

During the celebrations such as Onam, Vishu, and Kerala Piravi, the traditional clothing of women add colours and a special spirit to the celebration. Along with conveying the simplicity of this crisp cotton material with cream colour with golden border, it emanates an aura of richness and elegance which only a Keralite can experience. Even during the wedding ceremony, this Kerala set saree is sure to capture the attention.

The saree has gained great significance even historically as it has appeared in numerous beautiful paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. These have also travelled into traditional dance forms such as Mohiniyattom, Thiruvathirakkali, and Kaikottikkali. This is the significance of the Kerala saree in the state. Even though the fashion industry has undergone sweeping changes, the importance of traditional wear has never diminished.


A Bit of History

Set mundu or kasavu mundu’s history can be traced back to the origins of the Buddhist era. The saree is known to be introduced by His Highness Maharaja Balaramavarma at the beginning of the 19th century. The mundu is believed to have started a revolution in the handloom industry. The revolution was started on account of leaders inviting the people of the Shaaliyar weavers community who lived in Nagarcoil in Tamil Nadu. The leaders treated them with respect and the weavers, in turn, expressed their gratitude. They used the cotton that was available in the market in order to produce cotton garments that are handwoven and presented it to the royals of Travancore. And this led to a sudden demand for hand-woven sarees. This captured the attention of Portuguese and Dutch exporters.

The barter system was seen as an opportunity to make use of gold. They introduced gold into the hand-woven saris. This came to be known as Kerala kasavu, whose origins can be traced to ancient Buddhist literature.


Identity

A variety of traditional wear such as saree, mundu, and set mundu is commonly called ‘kavithai’, meaning handloom. Depending on the various geographical clusters these are associated with, these have gained different identities. In Kerala, three clusters have been identified by the Indian Government. These are Balaramapuram, Chendamangalam and Kuthampully - named according to the places. They are also given a GI (Geographical Indication) tag. All these clusters make Kerala kasavu saree.

Balaramapuram cluster originates from Trivandrum and the artisans of this cluster are from the Shaaliyar clan. They were basically from Tamil Nadu and it was the Travancore royal family who brought them to Kerala. The place is famous for pure zari and fine thread counts. Chendamangalam cluster is notable for Mundus and saris are woven using half-fine zari. They were sponsored by Paliam, an aristocratic family. What makes the last cluster different is that, in the Kuthampully cluster, patterned and jacquard borders are included that feature figure motif. The aristocratic community associated with this cluster is called Devanga.






Updated: Nov 16

Product: Radhakrishna hand painted mural handloom Kerala tissue kasavu saree


Our gorgeous customer Harsha Sanio looks like a real show stopper in one of our most loved hand painted Kuthampully kasavu tissue set saree. She has chose to pair it with a simple printed cotton blouse with a contrast piping. She has accessorized it with a statement oxidized silver neck piece and jhumkas.

Harsha has worn bangles complementing the pop of colors in the saree. The golden bangles match the gold kasavu saree border. It also matches the piping used on the blouse design. She has moved out of the conventional Kerala saree blouse designs by opting for a simple cotton blouse from the kasavu border blouses. But still shines through by accessorizing it with her choice of jewelry. The saree she has worn is also know as kerala silk saree which is famous across the globe.

Get your mural painted kasavu Kerala saree online from haradhi.com

Kerala saree or Kerala Set Saree is traditionally known as Mundum Neriyathyum. Times immemorial have witnessed the Malayali Mangamar flaunting this attire during the festivities of Onam and Vishu. The apparel was a symbol of prosperity. Every woman wearing her Kerala saree felt the awakening of the goddess in her wrapped in gold kasavu and the purity of white finery.

Women belonging to the upper segments of society had the privilege to adorn themselves in this gorgeous piece of clothing on other occasions as well whereas the members of the royal attired in their kasavu pudavas daily. Down the line, the Kerala saree got refashioned and adapted itself to fit into every occasion and individual style preferences. This gives the women in you a wide range of options to choose your statement wear. Starting from a simple and comfortable handloom cotton saree with multiple color options in kattikara to an embellished handloom wedding collection.