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    Mundum Neriyathum

    Map Academy

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    Made of handwoven, starched cotton, the mundum neriyathum is the traditional attire of women in the state of Kerala. It consists of two pieces of typically undyed, white or cream-coloured cotton. The first piece is the lower garment called the mundum, which is an unstitched fabric that is wrapped around the waist similar to the mundu. The upper garment, called the neriyathum, is another unstitched cloth that is worn diagonally across the chest and over the left shoulder, resembling the pallu of a saree, or wrapped around the upper body and tucked into the blouse in the traditional manner.

    The origins of the mundu neriyathum are believed to be two pieces of clothing from ancient India – the antariya, a lower garment resembling the mundu, and the utariya, a long scarf-like piece of fabric, from which the neriyathum was inspired.

    Today, the mundu neriyathum is usually of two kinds — the set mundu, which is for everyday use and features a variety of colours, and the more traditional kasavu mundu, which is worn for festivals such as Onam and has a gold zari border known as the kasavu. Another variant, known as the set veshti, does not include a pallu and comes with a third, smaller piece of cloth to cover the upper body.

    The mundum neriyathum can be worn by women and girls of all ages, and is usually paired with a blouse that matches its border. On special occasions, unmarried women typically wear it with a green blouse, while married women wear it with a red one.

    Another garment from the region, the kasavu saree, closely resembles the mundu neriyathum, but consists of a single piece of cloth.


    Krya. “Wearing your culture – the Nivi drape and the Mundum Neriyathum.” Accessed September 4, 2021.

    Utsav Fashion. “Kerala Mundum Neriyathum Saree – The Heritage Drape.” Accessed September 4, 2021.

    Utsavpedia. “Mundum Neriyathum.” Accessed September 4, 2021.

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