Buying an authentic Kerala Sari

Buying an authentic Kerala Sari

The grace and appeal of the pure gold borders of the Kerala “kasavu” sari contrasting with the off-white handwoven fabric has come to symbolise Malayali women. Its origins trace back to the pre-Hindu, Buddhist-Jain culture that once flourished in Kerala. All authentic Kerala saris are handcrafted in a few villages outside the state’s capital of Thiruvananthapuram, mainly in the village of Balaramapuram where the weaving community is located. Woven in various homes spread across the village, each piece has its own story.

A traditional sari is made with handwoven cotton and pure gold thread. Now, cheaper alternatives are available—instead of pure gold, silk thread is dipped in silver and then gold plated. Before you head out to buy, here are a few tips on what to look for:

  1. All authentic Kerala saris are handwoven and are made with pure cotton and pure gold zari. Cheaper options exist, but I would recommend sticking with the traditional zari that has been around for centuries. These handmade pieces will last for decades and the zari can be repolished if you feel it has lost its original lustre.
  2. Kasavu saris are typically worn only on special occasions and more specially for the harvest festival of Onam. Since it is not an everyday piece, there are only a few stores that specialise in them.
  3. Prices fluctuate based on the international market rates for gold bullion.
  4. An authentic piece will have identical designs on both sides.

Credits : CN Traveller

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