Kerala Saree/ Kasavu Saree

Kerala Saree/Kasavu Saree – Traditional Wear of Kerala!

Sarita’s post on her Saree collection is the inspiration behind me writing this article, and in that hope you remember seeing Rani Mukherjee wearing a white saree with golden border- yes that is nothing other than the traditional wear of Kerala- Kasavu Saree/Kerala Saree!!Kerala Sarees are symbolic of Kerala culture and tradition and is not seen anywhere else in India.  The elegant Kerala Sarees, which are off -white in color with golden border is unique for their natural colour, texture and golden border. Every Malayali woman possesses at least one Kerala saree in her wardrobe and it is a must have for women especially during festivals like Onam which is celebrated by all irrespective of Religion.

settu mundu and kerala saree
settu mundu and kerala saree

Traditionally women in Kerala used to wear a two piece cloth named ‘settu mundu’, also known as ‘mundum neriyathum’ with natural body color and golden or numerous other shades in border, which when worn, exactly look like a saree (upper left pic). The modified version is the Kerala Saree which comes in a large variety of designs, embellished with thread work, stones or sequins, fabric painting and golden with contrasting colors as borders… The typical Kerala saree is hand woven and is 100 % unbleached cotton. It is known for its fineness of count in weaving. The traditional design of a Kerala saree had a 1 inch to 6-7 inch pallu while the body remained plain. But now the pallu goes up to one meter and the border and pallu is decorated with variety of designs including that of peacock, flowers, and many more. The Kasavu or the golden border is either pure golden layer, copper coated or artificial.The price of an original Kerala saree is very much based on the quality of this “Kasavu” (Zari) Border and starts from around Rs 1000 and goes up depending on the Zari and designs.  Men in Kerala wear Kasavu mundu or dhothies during festive occasions. In all places of worship, especially in temples, the most preferred dress is the dhoti. This light pure cotton handlooms edged with golden thread is some times touched with contrasting bright colors.

Here are few Kasavu sarees: some with motifs of peacock, flower, window design, Deer, Katahakali, and also Mural hand-painted:

Kasuvu Sarees
Kasuvu Sarees
Kasuvu Sarees
Kasuvu Sarees


The Handloom fabrics of Kerala follow a tradition about 150 years old. Initially such fabrics were woven by specialized weavers exclusively for the members of Royal Family. Gradually, the tradition spread from them to the local weavers all across Kerala. Now, different locations in Kerala have mastered its own specialized technique of weaving and are famous for their uniqueness in quality and design; the fabrics are known by special names based on the location in which they are manufactured.

kerala saree handloom
kerala saree handloom

The history of export trading practice of handloom fabric in Kerala can be traced back to the15th century when handloom cloths of excellent qualities were exported to Asian and European countries. In Kerala, almost 2 lakh weavers are earning their livelihood from the handloom industry, 75% of them in the co-operative line.

Kerala Saree as Festival Attire

Though Kerala Saree/Settu Mundu is worn by many as an everyday costume, it is during the festivals, especially Onam and Vishu, that one can see the typical Kerala dressing when the women in ‘Kasavu sarees and blouse matching the saree border color could be seen with men, who prefer white dhoti with ‘kasavu’ borders for such occasions. It is a real feast to the eyes when ladies dress up in this elegant attire and dance to the beats of traditional music, an art-form called “Kaikottikkali” performed during Onam celebration. Even in corporate world such celebrations are not complete without this attire, and mostly competitions are conducted to choose the ‘Best Traditionally Dressed’ which stresses the importance of this textile masterpiece.

kerala saree in festivals
kerala saree in festivals

Nowadays many bollywood actresses are seen sporting this elegant look in Kerala Saree:

kerala saree on celebrities
kerala saree on celebrities
kerala saree on celebrities
kerala saree on celebrities

Undoubtedly, this traditional attire of God’s own country is getting lots of publicity all across India especially when our most wanted actresses like Sonam Kapoor(in Aisha), Aishwarya, Sonakshi, Vidya Balan and many more have already made style-statements using this!

Also Read:

Saree and Blouses Collection, Blouse Styles
The Bengali Bride – Wedding Rituals, Sarees and More
Indian Bridal and Wedding Wear


131 thoughts on “Kerala Saree/ Kasavu Saree

  1. Hehheee..I wanted to do a post on this toooo….:D 😀 😀 You have one of those mural-painted kinds?? Have never seen those in any shop…how much do they cost?

      1. Ya…I hate it..I look most horrids in that…is atrocious..and shorter and fatter people than me look so good in it. I am an alien for sure :alien: :alien: :alien: :alien:

        1. :pain: :pain: :pain: :pain: :pain: :pain: :pain: :pain: :pain: but rani mukherjee is short too, it looks soo good on her :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove:

    1. If u are from delhi then i think Trade fair at Pragati maidan is the best option to find these saree. I saw them there bt dn know price, next yr will surely own one, they r sooo elegant.

        1. Rati setu mundu is available in local malayali stores in delhi.. I have loads of setu mundu and sarees…..

          MEOW!! :cat2:

  2. I love love love that settu mandu saree…. :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove:

  3. Gorgeous Sareeeeeeeees..and Gorgeous Divassssssssss :chic: :chic: :chic: :chic: …Awesome article Shyna!! /…. :yes: :yes: :yes: :yes: You’d have put your own pic too here, wearing your beautiful sari!! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

    1. Oh ya i wanted to put my pic, but unfortunately i dont have any such pics in my pc :-(( ..the only snap is in print and that too in my wedding album

  4. I have a kurta made from this saree…. I don’t wear sarees… :(…. I mean yes I do once in a while but not soo regularly….

    1. i really wanted to post my collection, the thing is my entire stock is at my mom’s place…i rarely wear sarees and this one i wear only once in a year, during onam; so have kept them safe with mom since she can also can use it…probably i can send the pics to rati later on

  5. Wow.. Superb collection.. Kavya madhavan is so pretty in dat kasavu mundu.. Me also want to c u in kerala saree.. 🙂 🙂

    1. Sanjeev i have mentioned the price in the article..starts from around INR 1000 and goes high probably 20K, 50K, 1 lakh even more…ha ha i dont want to scare you more… 😯 🙄 🙄

        1. Don worry Sanjeev ji…that rani mukkerji waali saree is not at all expensive-would cost only around Rs 800-1000 and you can get even cheaper versions of the same at around 500 bucks, with artificial Zari..

            1. Oh no Rati i thought you had gone out or something and sorry i was trying save some money for your hubby!! 😀 :rotfl: :rotfl:

            2. You will get a lovely one – good thread count – and proper zari – for less than 3000. You can get these much cheaper too, but it won’t look subtle classy like this.

  6. shyna m so glad you did this post,waiting to see your collection 😀 😀 😀 😀

    i am hunting for that rani mukherji wala saree but in black , black as in dark dark darkest black , you have any idea where can i find it ??? anywhere in india no problem , i ll manage to get it :chic: :chic: :chic: :chic: :chic: :chic: :chic: :chic: :chic: :chic:
    have been looking for it even before that rani wore it 😛 😛 😛

  7. you mean black saree with golden border????? 😕 but see naina, kerala sarees will come only in one single colur-off-white..but i have seen black kanjeevaram saree with golden border,looks gorgeous!!

    1. what i want is darkest black saree with around 6 inch matte gold border …. :-* :-* :-* :-*
      have tried stores like Nalli and all but cant find a plain black one … :pain: :pain:

      u wont believe but i have even bought tribal jewellery to wear with that saree , if i ever find one that is .. :idk: :idk: :idk: :idk: :weep: :weep: :weep: :weep:

      1. I have..plain black…but the border where the zari will come it has a dark pink base with zari on it..not plain black with zari but close enough naaa to make smug faces at you :evilgrin: :evilgrin: :evilgrin: :evilgrin: :evilgrin: :evilgrin: :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump:

      2. Naina u r from which place?See here in Kerala major textile shops take orders of kanjeevaram saree based on customer specification, so you can easily get the one u have in mind…or else plan a trip to kanjeevaram in chennai, u will not regret since it is a lovely place and mesmerizing sarees to choose from

        1. :-* :-* :-* thank you shyna , i ll make sure our next holiday is somewhere in south only , then i ll go running running to look for that saree…

          m from bhubaneswar , orissa ,, its kinda famous for sambalpuri sarees … has anyone heard of it ????

            1. me toooo … handloom looks so sexy …..
              i also love those single hues tussar silk saree , the kinds deepa mehta wears .. 😀 😀

              radhika , i louuu uuuu for loving handloom stuff…

          1. 🙂 sambalpuri sarees?i have been to one trade fair for handlooms from orissa…i really liked the ones with some special embroidery in them, dont know the name but

    1. looking naaaaaiiiceee cali … :beauty: :beauty: :beauty: :beauty: :beauty: :beauty:

      looking at your photo ,i also feel like sharing my saree photo with u alll :-/ :-/ :-/ :-/

            1. hey i was just reading that . i so wanted to buy such white kerla sarees with golden border as u look pretty xpert on that. i wanted to know whats thier r ange .. what do u call them ??do u get the same saree in tissue/organza

        1. he he..I told you na..they had typical mela waala set up there… :-D..that candy man was making amazing toys using sugar candy gum..he made a flower for me, then a helicopter, then a crocodile and then a peacock!!!..It was soooooooooper fun to watch him making that…!!! :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-))

    1. 😀 😀 😀 😀 Me too like it….!! he he…When I reached office that day..people said..I was looking typical retro kinds… :shy: :shy: :shy: :shy:

      People anyway tell me that I look like some old movie character kind!! :-/ :-/ :-/ :-/

              1. Thats quite pretty picccccccccc Naina!!!…..Your hairstyle is sooooo stylish……. :-* :-* :-* and what Sari style is that? it is looking quite different…..You looking sooo fresh fresh!!! :lashes: :lashes: :lashes: :lashes: :lashes: :beauty: :beauty:

                1. :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* …. thank uuuu …

                  “dusky beauty” made my dayy … :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*

  8. wow… evn i have one 🙂 and i love it soooo much 🙂 its so elegant na…. and i equally the traditional bengal cotton one in white and red…. have seen a few of them… they are also very pretty 🙂
    naina…. u can try rmkv too…. i think they can order and get it…. black and gold is an awesome combination… 🙂

  9. Lovely post!! I didn’t know about these sarees at all before aishwarya,rani et al started wearing them. But I think they look prettier in these than they look in designer sarees. Can we buy these online?

      1. Nooooooooooo… looking good and I liked that sari…but ya you don’t look anything like the profile I am assuming you lost a lot of weight 🙂 Your house seems like the kinds I see in Kerala with that place to sit and a big cemented yard kinds…

        1. Oh but I don’t like hearts anywhere…not on clothes…not on rings, pendants..nothing…me no like hearts :smug: :smug: :smug: Black is your fav for saris??

        2. hehehe .. this is my college , 😛
          yaaa i go crazzhhhyyyyy for black sarees … 😀 😀 😀 😀

          whats with this anti heart thing ????? me curious curious ?:-) ?:-) ?:-)

          1. Me no like….no hearties anywhere…in college all these girls used to have heart pendants and heart teddy bears and heart everythings….so pukkkkkkieeeeeeeeeeee…some would say sour grapes cos well nobody gave me any hearty stuff..but if my hubby ever gets me something like that I would die of embarrasssssment….dont ask me …me no likkkkkkkkkkke heartiesssss…get me normal squares and circles please.

  10. Me louing that sambalpuri saree now!! :hypnotized: :hypnotized: :hypnotized: :hypnotized: ..You wore it in some different style na, Naina? It is looking quite hatt ke!!…..Me liking it veryyyyyyyyyyy muccch!!! :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove:

    1. no no , i wore it like any normal saree , but properly pleated cos i was the speaker in our college banking finance meet … so hd to be all formal formall… the only thing hatt ke was that i got a clutch bag stitched with the blouse ka kapda … wore a plain black blouse… the bag kind of mixes up in the pic…. :wilt: :wilt:

      i hate matchy matchy blouses… so make use of them and get clutch bags or potlis stitched to carry with that saree :-)) :-))

  11. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh….is so well camouflaged…reallllllllllly..couldn’t you keep it on that ledge or something so we could see properly!!! I had to search everywhere in the photo and that too only because Cali said she saw it..I was like huhhhh Cali saw and I couldn’t….and what are you wearing like a beads chain kind…that also she covered with the bag…..serioussssssssssssssslyyyyyyyyyy……go take that pic properly and post :reallyangry:

  12. Hi naina, had been to fab india store, its besides CCD. Not unpacked n dispalyed complete range till now. Wd b visiting again sunday evng.

    Bt hv 1 good news, CORAL GLOW FACE PACK NOT DISCONTINUED. Bought 1 coral glow face pack (the SA rummaged through the unopened packs & found 1 for me), though did’nt find the Lemon intensive hand creme.

    Saw ur pic, looking lovely.

    Now will start reading the comments above, cd’nt wait to share this.

    1. i love youuuuu ….. guess today is a good day .. i ll go grab the coral thing ASAP … :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*

  13. i also dont like hearts overdose , but am fine with it … theres one lady she stitches my poylis and bags … like i have to keep her bribed all the time … taht is a beaded necklace , multi strans kind of thing ..

    i had to no patience to pose or something, patafat photo litya nd rannnn to change … will hunt for a better pick jahan sab dikhe …

    sab matlab bag and chain .. :giggle: :giggle: :giggle: :giggle:

  14. Looks like misd a lot of discussion on our sambalpuri sarees.
    But am very happy coz got d coral glow face pack, was upset yday when u said it was discontinued. Now waiting ofr the lemon intensive hand creme coz hands got badly tanned, as travelling these days by 2 wheeler. Denting painting work over of my car. now leaving for bringing my car from workshop.

    My husband was posted in sambalpur for 2 n 1/2 yrs, got transferred last month only to berhampur.

  15. oh my god! these sarees are so beautiful. i wantttttt one. are they available in kolkata? some1 plz tell me. and oh, aishwarya and rani are looking sooooo gorgeous! :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*

  16. I guess there’s 1 more dabba in the whole sack he rummaged, but then they hv not unpacked cosmetics or other items till now. Only fabrics r unpacked n displayed.
    The manager told, coral glow is not discontinued n i was very happy n cd’nt wait to reach office n let u kno.
    I was d 2nd visitor to d store & hv mentioned my phone no. n mail id in d visitor’s book. if u want u can get it from there n we can b n touch.

  17. my frd whos a mallu got married recently…..n its der tradition dat all d sisters have to wear dat white n gold kasavu sarees…..
    dey looked so fab !!!
    dat white n gold combi looks awesum n so classy… :inlove: :inlove:

  18. bt actly my frd married a maharashtrian guy n d weddin was maharashtrian she dint wear it…she has other 3-4 maharashtrian style sarees to wear..
    but all her sisters did….

    1. oh ok..i was wondering why only the sis’ were wearing it n not the bride herself..we consider this costume as auspicious esp when the bride enter the guy’s house after marriage for the first time

  19. OMG Kerala sareees are GORGEOUS!!!
    I wore this kind of saree when i went to Guruvayur (at that time it was compulsary saree for girls, now salwars are allowed), it looks STUNNINGGGGGG !!!
    I just loooooove how simple and elegant these look. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L !!!!!!!!!

  20. me too love to wear saree…
    i have same saree as rani’s saree…
    but the boarder of saree have touch of sky blue color it…
    got lot of compliments when i wear it as i m having dusky complexion… 😛 🙂

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