Masquerading in Local Attire in Kerala, India

One of my dear Indian friends back home begged Shawn and me to don traditional Indian attire, snap evidence of our foray on a makeshift catwalk, and then share the images of our masquerade here.

Since space is at such a premium in our luggage, we could not justify the added weight of a man’s traditional lungi (or white sarong-like skirt, worn long or rolled-up, depending upon the heat and humidity levels).

Instead of purchasing the cloth that is so popular with male locals in Kerala, we improvised, and borrowed our guest house’s bed sheet for just under an hour. (Yes, we had to sneak it out using our backpack, but the hotel owner can rest assured that it was unharmed.) As we stepped out onto the street looking for good photo spots, I was thrilled to have yet another excuse to wear my new kurta and stole, in one of my favorite color combinations – grey blue and white.

But it was Shawn who stole the show. Perhaps he showed a bit too much leg! The locals beamed smiles of epic proportions as they saw him attempt to twist and turn the white sheet into a proper lungi. Some men approached by boat (from the waters just behind our makeshift photo studio) while others begged to be in the photograph.

I love the ease at which the people of India smile; the zest for life and playful spirit with which they approach life is very special!

Hope you enjoy the pictures, Deepti! :) Thank you for the posting idea.

Indian Attire in Kerala Lungi Mundu Kurta
Indian Attire in Kerala Lungi Mundu a lesson in tying lungi

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • We used Kochi (Cochin) as our hub during our time in the region. From there, it was easy to book day-trips into Kerala’s backwaters, and to Munnar, which we explored next.
  •  Need more inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from India.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

22 thoughts on “Masquerading in Local Attire in Kerala, India

    1. Thank you for the cultural tidbit, Ruth! India has such a fascinating mélange of cultures – it’s such a challenge and a delight to learn about the languages and details. We’ve just left Kerala and have now returned to Mumbai. Trying to remember “shoukrias” instead of “nannie” and “nanndy” now. :-)

    1. :-) Thanks, Victor!

      It was quite a feat getting my husband to complete this mission. He was in good company since several other North American and European male tourists were also spotted sporting the lungi… Given how hot and humid it is in southern India now, I think it makes superb fashion sense!

  1. its great .. to live like keralite (indian) when you are on those soil ..
    perhaps that’s yours kindness and concern .. good to see and feel ..
    cheers !!

    1. Hello Subhash – I purchased a traditional Kerala sari while in Munnar too, but didn’t get a chance to get it tailored. It’s special that each state has their own special style and colors. What rich cultures…

    1. Hi Anna! Great to hear from you; we also wish that we could stow all our friends and family into our luggage and bring them along :) Your travels are also inspirational… So, last year was South Africa – what places are next at the top of your travel wish list?

  2. Hi Tricia, Just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. You might be familiar with it already but see my blog for details :)

  3. Hi just explored a few posts and I was thrilled to see some wonderful places and people from different parts of the world. Your ‘About’ too is fascinating.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Dilip, what a kind thing to say – thank you for such a nice comment with which to start the day! In which state in India do you live? Both my trips there have been so memorable, because of the kind and fun people we met.
      All the best.

    1. Sreejith, thanks for your comment, and for giving the apparel its appropriate names.

      Indeed, we had a fabulous time in Kerala. Not surprisingly, perhaps, our time cruising the backwaters was one of the highlights. In what part of India, or the world, do you call home now?

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