My grandparents came from the villages around Kumbakonam but lived most of their adult lives in Maharashtra and Bihar.  My great grandparents had a house in Tiruvidaimarudur, they moved here in the 1950s from Mumbai. Given their long lives, we visited them a few times as children. I went back for a brief visit after many many years. It refreshed my memory and I added new ones and came away with my heart and mind full of the images of Kumbakonam, despite a later visit to Goa.

A few pics of the girls and women in and around Kumbakonam. 1: A fresco at the Darasuram temple, this temple was astonishingly beautiful and I was a little surprised to find that a number of frescoes feature larger women; 2: Also at the Darasuram temple,  a dressed idol of Vishnu Durgai: 3 & 4: A handloom nine yard sari  and mill made polyester six yard sari on older and younger members of my family 5 & 6: Aruljyoti in the morning on her way to work 7: A man’s shirt worn over a sari on Andhra immigrants. Commonly worn by women who work in the fields or do manual labour in the state as far as I can see 8 & 9: Salwar kurtas on girls at the river – this has replaced the pavadai and the half saree for young unmarried women in all but the more conservative families. The convenience of hooking safety pins to a chain/beads remains:) 10& 11: Tinsel and Sequins are the new black of India, it is fairly common in rural Tamil Nadu on young girls as well as older women 12: This pushy young girl got about 20 pictures taken of herself with a friend. Her puff sleeves rival Anne Shirley’s.

About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in 20th century, Contemporary, Culture, fashion, Flowers, Girls, Indian Dress, Indian fashion, Indian Women, Salwar Kameez, Sari, Sari Blouse, Tamil, Village, Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Kumbakonam

  1. It must have been a deeply moving visit for you, so many memories and such a rich culture. On a lighter note: what a great pity that polyester has reached India…

    • Anu M says:

      Yes it was a lovely visit. Polyester has been around for a bit at least since the 60s-guess they see it as easy maintenance and value for money. But otherwise yes a pity.

  2. yogamardi says:

    I was so excited to see this post Anu, as I will be visiting Kumbakonam and surrounding temples in February! It looks like a very special place… and so lovely to see your imagery and read a little about your family and experiences there. I absolutely love the handloom nine yard sari (and image of Vishnu Durgai)…

    • Anu M says:

      That is so wonderful, that you are going to my neck of the woods!!! I hope the weather holds up. It was remarkably pleasant when I was there. It was a wonderful experience for me given my family roots. I hope you enjoy it as much, the temples there are quite lovely and often undocumented given there are so many. I went to our family temple in a small village and its pretty basic but even on its walls there are inscriptions in the old Tamil script.

      The Vishnu Durgai was quite beautiful.

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