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This gallery contains a collection of pavadai chattai photos - South Indian Girls Traditional Dress (pictures).


Already, the pavada (skirt) and blouse, which was the traditional dress of a schoolgirl until at least she attained puberty, is out of vogue. The dress that girls and women commonly wear in Kerala is the salwar-kameez. It is a different thing that most Malayalis consider churidar and salwar as synonymous.

Small girls wear half pavada and long blouse. Full skirt with long blouse used to be the traditional teenage dress of malayale girls. It is fast disappearing now.

The pavada has almost vanished from the Malayali girl's wardrobe. This traditional pleated dress has been replaced by jeans, trousers and salwar kurtas.

The girls wore frocks when very young but switch to pavadai-chattai, as they grew old enough to go to secondary school.

IF THE songs, `Pavada prayathil' and `Pavadai davaniyil', were to be written today, the lyrics would not be the same.

For, the pavada has almost vanished from the Malayali girl's wardrobe.

This pleated traditional dress has been replaced by jeans, trousers, salwar kurtas, midis and skirts.

In Kerala, only the `bold' wore the salwar kurta two decades ago. And then came the invasion of the electronic media and salwar kurtas found their way into the hearts of Malayali girls.

If you want to see Malayali girls in pattu pavada-blouse sets today, then you have to be invited to a wedding. Or you should visit a temple or wait for November 1 (Kerala Piravi Day).

The pavada has its western counterpart: the skirt. What had flowed down over the ankles during the Victorian era has, over the years, transformed itself to the midi, the mini and the micro skirts, all of progressively decreasing length. Micros and minis may be the rage in Indian metros, but Thiruvananthapuram is yet to catch up with this trend.

Traditionalists, however, need not worry. A few still prefer the pavada. "I wear jeans, skirts and salwar kurtas to college," says Saumya, a student at the LBS College of Engineering "But I do wear pavada and half-sari (davani) occasionally. I recently got a pavada stitched. But it's unrealistic to think that pavada will be worn as it used to be 15 to 20 years ago. But things have improved from the way it was five years ago, when the pavada or the half sari was hardly seen."

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