I am finally beginning to put my thoughts together on my amazing trip to India. For some reason it has been harder than usual to put down the experience into words , perhaps because it was just so incredible and I am afraid I can’t possibly do it justice. India was always a big dream for me, and though I only explored a tiny section of the vast country, every moment was spent in total awe with a smile slapped on my face. I faced challenges that pushed me physically and emotionally to the edge, and my heart was overflowing from the kindness of strangers I met along the way. So until next my next post when I begin to share the life-changing adventures during my time in Kerala, India- I thought I’d begin with a loose packing guide to the region.

 

What to Wear in Kerala: Munnar, Thekkady, and Fort Kochi {City Style}

Kerala is a conservative state and local women are more or less covered shoulders to toes, quite the feat considering the hot and humid temperatures.  For ladies travelling solo- what you are wearing may need to change in an instant. (I found this out the hard way coming down a mountainside into the borders of Tamil Nadu.) In the more tourist friendly cities, it won’t much matter. I saw girls donning shorts and tank tops- although I advise you to use a little more sense than this, respect for the local culture can go a long way. In Fort Kochi, Thekkady, and Munnar you will be more than fine in long skirts or loose pants and sensible tops. If you plan on venturing out into the countryside or more rural areas, be sure to wear a top that covers your shoulders or you may draw unwanted attention.

 

INDIA

 

indiaclothing

 

What to Wear in Kerala: Hiking and General Outdoor Adventures {Off-the-Beaten-Path Style}

I did a lot of outdoor activities in Kerala: hiking, mountain climbing, cycling, and just general walking through the jungle. There are two very important things to consider before you go off on any tiger seeking/bird watching/ tea plantation excursions.

1. It can rain. A lot. Like more rain than you have ever seen in your life with very little warning. This is particularly the case during the monsoon season from May-November.

2. Leeches are everywhere. They are disgusting, and almost unavoidable. Luckily, they are small and long socks and pants can go a long way. At the Periyar Tiger Reserve you will be provided with very sexy leech socks which do an amazing job, but if the idea of pulling one of the little creatures off your skin is too much too handle you may want to invest in a pair yourself. If you are too cheap like myself, the leech wounds make great talking points back home 😉

3, Wear a hat. Seriously. I didn’t and I left with a horrible sunburn on my scalp that made it look like I had the world’s worst dandruff. While this may not be necessary in the jungle areas, I highly recommend it if you are mountain climbing as the sun gets very intense at the higher elevations.

 

Hiking India

 

What to Wear in Kerala: Do it Like a Local {Traditional Style}

The traditional dress in Kerala is absolutely gorgeous, white fabrics embellished with shining gold threads. Pure elegance. As I was in Kerala during the festive period of Oman, I was able to see all the locals parading around town in their newest ensembles. If I have one regret about my trip, it is that I didn’t make the time to get a beautiful Keralan sari to bring back home. Obviously, these are the outfits pulled out for the specialist of occasions, you won’t see men in the rural areas in more than a rag tied around their waist. Here is a guide on local dress, so you can put a name to the outfit.

Women in Kerala:

The majority of women in Kerala wear traditional saris, a piece of cloth wrapped around their bodies like a long dress with a blouse on top. In the cities, you can see women wearing long pants with a blouse, usually with some kind of matching scarf wrapped over their shoulders. Wealthy women, and those celebrating special occasions, may wear the Kasavu- the traditional white and gold sari of Kerala like you see below.

 

Men in Kerala:

Men in Kerala have it easy. More or less wearing skirts, I assume they have a much easier time than their female counterparts dealing with the hot weather. The typical dress is called a Mundu, a piece of cloth that is wrapped once or twice around the waist. Shirt-wise most wear just a basic short sleeved button up or loose blouse. Similiar to the women, for special events the men wear a Kasavu style of Mundu- with the same white fabrics embellished with gold thread. In the more rural areas, it is common to see men wearing the Mundu folded into more of a short skirt. It is actually kind of funny watching them, ahem, adjust when the fabric gets too loose.

 

Kerala Dress

 

If you plan on trying out the mundu for youself, this instructional video may help you avoid any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions.

 

 

Obviously, I am not expert on what you should be wearing in India, but based on my experience these tips should give you a better idea on what you may want to pack before exploring Kerala. Safe travels!

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