5 Traditionally South Indian Things That Transcended State Barriers

Written by , BA (Media & Communication) Niharika Nayak BA (Media & Communication) Experience: 4 years
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Every culture in India is unique in its own way. A lot of people like to think that South India is only famous for dosas, idlis and filter coffee but there is so much more to it! A lot of people believe in stereotypes about South; India thanks to movies like Chennai Express with such non-stereotypical lines like, “coconut mein lassi milake” *rolling eyes*. While we’re all for fusion and trying different things, who in their right mind would actually mix coconut water with lassi! The combination sounds utterly preposterous. However, we do know that not every North Indian sees us as the same and that there are many people out there who really do appreciate our culture. As a matter of fact, we have adapted to living with one another so much so, that certain parts of our cultures have blended with one another. So let’s take a look at things that are traditionally South Indian but loved by all:

1. Coconut

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Sure you may think that coconuts aren’t just unique to South India but did you know that the Southern part of our country is the perfect environment for coconut trees to flourish? South Indian states have an absolute advantage in terms of cultivating coconuts. The four states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh apparently make up for more than 90% of coconut cultivation in India. South Indians are often teased for “putting coconut in everything” but this wonder fruit has numerous benefits. There is a reason why so many South Indian women have such beautiful, thick, and dark hair. Every South Indian mom will oil her daughter’s hair with coconut oil in attempts to make it healthy and long! After all, we do place a lot of pride in having lovely hair! Even Coconut water is really good to replenish our electrolytes and more. This is why they’re so popular by the beachside in South Indian states!

2. Silk

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Although people usually think about China when they think of Silk, India too is well known for producing silk. Some of the most exotic silk products come from South India. From Mysore to Kanjeevaram to Maheshwari. Although even North Indian states have really good silk products, the spectacular Kancheepuram sarees require a special mention! According to some legend, when the Chinese came to India they taught the art of sericulture to their South Indian compatriots. As of now Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu are the main producers of silk in the country.

3. Chattai (Mats)

Chattai (Mats)
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Every one of us has a chattai in our house. It is an integral part of being Indian and can be found in all kinds of Indian households. It doesn’t matter if you live in a hut or a large mansion, chattais are found everywhere. The mats are traditionally made in a small town called Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. The weavers specifically use a type of dark grass called Goorai Grass. They split the grass into fine strands and weave them together.

4. Sandalwood

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Nearly every Indian home knows the incredible fragrance of Sandalwood. The pleasant tree bark is used in everything from face packs to soaps to shampoos and even incense sticks. The incense sticks have been a part of our culture for many years now and are extremely popular in both North and South India. Indian Sandalwood is usually preferred over foreign competitors because the Sandalwood trees in India have a higher amount of Santanol. Santanol is a naturally occurring chemical that gives sandalwood it’s pleasant fragrance. The trees are mainly grown in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka. So the next time you find yourself in Mysore, make sure you pick up some authentic Mysore Sandal soap!

5. Masala Dabba

Masala Dabba
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South Indians love their spices. From spicy Coorgi pork fry to scrumptious prawn varuval from Tamil Nadu, we value herbs and spices and make sure we add it in our cooking. It doesn’t matter if you live in Bombay or Boston, your mother probably stocks some of her best masalas in this “dabba”. Before they took a sleek steel turn, spices used to be stored in wood in order to protect the spices from the harsh humidity of the South. The wood also allows for ventilation. The dabbas are now made of really good quality materials like plastic, steel, and iron.

It is important for us as Indians to support and appreciate each other regardless of which state we come from. The beauty of our country is that it is so diverse. Whether you live in Kashmir, Tripura, Gujarat, or Kerala, every state has its own unique culture and cuisine. Do let us know if anything on this list came as a surprise to you in the comment section below. Do share this article if you learned something new today!

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Niharika Nayak
Niharika NayakBA (Media & Communication)
Niharika has a passion for all things art, music, and travel and has over 4 years of experience in writing for social media. During her spare time, she likes experimenting in the kitchen, playing video games, and hanging out with stray animals.

Read full bio of Niharika Nayak
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