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Wear it like Kodava


Hustle-bustle of the city,honking horn,routine life at times makes your life monotonous and you feel the dire need to rejuvenate your soul.For soul-searching some prefer mountains,greenery and for some it’s sea and sand.Since I had time constraint,I thought of a road trip.So I drove to the land of flaura and fauna,coffee,pandi curry ,spices and honey.

Well,few must have understood the place I am talking about.

This is Scotland of the East,Coorg for you.Locally known as Kodagu or Kodavu from the Kodavas who inhabit this region.

It got many names with the changing time.But the warrior spirit and the simplicity of the people remained as it is.

Every time it mesmerized me with some new experiences,some new cuisines ,some new stories.The scenery is mesmerizing. The winding roads takes me through a maze of greenery . At every labyrinthine corner, I meet a collage of colors which explode into shades of greens, browns and yellows. The roads seem to have no particular destination . They just lead me from one part of paradise to another.

I cherish my travel experience with locals.So instead of staying in posh 5 star properties,I always prefer the local way.
So ideally home stay and Airbnb is my savior.
This time I chose a property amidst coffee plantation and my host was a beautiful loving couple.

Coorg for me a synonymos to good food,good Coorgi wine,authentic spices,pure honey and my favorite homemade chocolates. Every time I go with one luggage and come back with two.
But this time I have experienced something more which has motivated me to pen down about the authentic attire which each and every Kadava women love to adorn and flaunt.

Suddenly I have realized Coorg isn’t just a great tourist spot, it’s a culture hotspot too!

The people here are known for their rich culture that is meant to be kept strong down the generations.There’s something about the Kodava culture that makes Kodavas appear as warriors lost in a docile modern world.
The Kodavas have a unique fashion sense. Their attire exudes a certain air of pride and dignity; very princely I would say.

While enjoying my evening cup of coffee and never ending conversation,I gathered few interesting information about Kadava attire and style.

The men wear a black knee length over coat that reaches till the elbow (kupya), with a scarlet sash (Chaley) carrying a silver dagger (Peechekathi) and a gilded turban (Mande Tuni).

And the women have elegant saris that have been a part of Karnataka’s rich tradition for a very long time.

Saree draping in Coorgi Style saree is one of the unique ways compared to all other styles. It has been a part of Karnataka’s rich culture since a very long time and has not changed a bit since its origin. The Kodava women find it very convenient and comfortable to move around in the hilly regions and to climb trees.

In this Kodagu style the pleats are tucked at the back side unlike the other styles where the pleats come in the front.
The sari has pleats running through the chest from behind, the end of which is clipped with a traditional pin to the right collarbone.

This style suits Coorg women leading an active life while climbing up and down slopes in their mountainous homeland in the Western Ghats.

Accessories :
The Kodagu style saris are generally accessorized with shoes and socks.

Then she narrated a interesting story from Mythology related to origin of such unique drape and the inner child in me was lost in the story world.

Kavera Muni, a great sage, selected Brahmagiri in Coorg as a place suitable for meditation and there prayed to
Lord Brahma for children. Brahma gave him Lopamudra for a daughter.

Lopamudra, also known as Kaveri, married sage Agastya on the condition that her husband shall not leave her alone at any time. On one occasion, sage Agastya put his wife in his kamandala (water pot) and went for a bath. Enraged by the betrayal, Kaveri spills out of the pot and flows away as a raging river. Agastya tries to stop her. But Kaveri washes over Coorg women, pleading to stop her flight from their land, with such force, that the pleats of their saris were swept from front to back.


Isn’t it appealing???
We relate to such stories quite easily and our mind don’t search for logic.Thank god,at times being illogical is fun.

Now coming to covering the head which is pretty much there in all our tradition irrespective of the state or religion we belong to.

Coorgi women cover their head with with a rectangular length of cloth known as a Vastra.
One end of the vastra encircles the forehead and the other two corners are joined together at the back, allowing the rest of the cloth to fall elegantly over the back. This served as a symbol of her marital status (as well as a practical protection while working in the fields).The women also wore this while leaving the house and going outdoors.
This was first tied ceremonially on the eve of the woman’s marriage, usually by her mother.

She was kind enough to show me her Vastra.


And our conversation continues …What started with cup of tea ,finally(hopefully) will end with some Coorgi home made wine.

They Call Me Nari

Hi! I am Anushree Dash… Freethinker
1 Part Entrepreneur
2 Parts Writer
3 Parts Social reformer
4 Parts explorer
5 Parts photographer, Too many Parts. A free-spirited,non-conformist,,impenitent,independent,adventurous,boho soul and an admirer of life. Loves my Indian roots, Culture, Aesthetic Living, Saree, Poetry …


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