Traditional Dress of Kerala [Men & Women]

Kerala is known for the lush green landscape, the culture, and of course, the people. Everything comes together to keep the culture of Kerala alive, and that is the main attraction for many to visit this state. The first thing you’ll notice when visiting Kerala is the attire or traditional dress that everyone wears down there. And today, we are going to take a good look at just that because today’s post is all about the traditional dress of Kerala for both men and women. Alright, here we go now.

Traditional Dress for Men in Kerala

1. Mundu


The Mundu is a key part of traditional men’s clothing in Kerala. It is a piece of long cloth, generally white or cream in color, wrapped from the waist down to the ankles. This simple piece of clothing is very important in Kerala’s culture. It stands for purity and the old way of living. The special border of the Mundu is named ‘Kara’, which is usually golden in color. Sometimes, the Kara is in another color, especially when it is worn at some events or celebrations. In men’s formal terms, it gives their classy outfit an addition when they don a Mundu with a Melmundu or a traditional shirt.

The mundu is worn rather loosely around the waist and spread from the waist downwards. It can be comfortably folded until just below the knees on a relaxed day or doing physical work to make movement easier. It is this kind of flexibility that has made the mundu popular not just for the cultural value it holds but also because it’s practical in the warm, humid weather of Kerala.

2. Jubba

The Jubba is another important part of the traditional clothing for men in Kerala. It’s exactly like a long shirt and is generally made of silk. Men wear it as a top. At times, the Jubba has a Kara, and this may be patterned or even decorated with fancy, colorful stones. But the thing is, this colorful and patterned Jubba is mostly worn in big events like marriage or any religious gathering, and again that goes to show the rich style of Kerala.

Traditional Dress for Women in Kerala

1. Mundum-Neriyathum

This traditional dress for women in Kerala, called Mundum-Neriyathum, is a beautiful two-piece outfit similar to a saree. The upper piece is known as the Neriyathum and is taken from the waist over the upper part of the cloth covering the blouse, draped over the left shoulder as the pallav or pallu does at the end of a saree. Generally, these pieces are white or cream with gold edges. This style matches the simple and clean look of men’s traditional wear, it’s like a perfect complement.

Though, the Mundum-Neriyathum is more of an everyday piece of clothing. It is essential for most of the celebrations taking place around Kerala, be it festivals or marriages. The material also changes, just like cotton for every day, because it is a warm climate, while silk, for example, is used for occasional functions and events since it has a fancy look and well-done designs.

2. Kerala Saree aka Set Mundu

The Kerala Saree, also known as Set Mundu, is another important traditional outfit. It pretty much looks like the Mundum-Neriyathum, but to give one the saree look, it is put on in a different way. This is particularly a sought-after dress during the big festivals of Onam and Vishu, and wedding celebrations. The Kerala Saree is known for its elegance and represents the cultural pride of the state.

Accessories and Jewelry

Accessories and jewelry are very important to complete the traditional look. Very famous in Kerala is the temple jewelry, which consists of details of necklaces and earrings, often showing gods and themes from nature, made out of gold. Women decorate these on special days which makes their traditional wear still more beautiful to look at. Menswear accessories are more straightforward and include the gold-bordered towel worn over the shoulder, it is called Melmundu and is worn to formal events.


That’s all for now. But if you want to truly feel connected to the lands of Kerala and its culture, you must try out these traditional dresses, and see why the local people love to wear these attire on a day-to-day basis.

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