Tuesday, March 30, 2010


An old picture of my son playing in a thazha paya(mat made from kaitha leaves)

Kaitha leaves have thorns on two sides. We must be very careful when handling these leaves. These thorns are poisonous.

Kaithakkadu from Cheppanam

Kaitha is a plant grown near rivers and paddy fields. I had read many malayalam stories in which kaitha had also a part. We had lot of malayalam film songs about this plant.

'Kaitha puzha kayalile...'

'Kakka poo kaitha poo...'

Leaves of this kaitha are used to make special mats known as 'thazha paya'. Its recommended for small children because of its cooling effects. The luxurious type of paya is known as 'metha paya'. Its leaves are now used to make various handicrafts.

My father hailing from Kuttanadu have a great knowledge about nature. Today I had called him to know about kaitha, he told me lot of things about paya. Every material has a story behind it, a strong connection with nature and some hands make them beautiful for us.

A type of paya used in Kuttanadu was 'Chicku paya' mainly used to dry nellu. It was very big and quality will not be of so good. Nellu will have to dry under sun after steaming (puzhunguka) during this process to get equal dryness for each grain we have to stir them occasionally, this is done by feet, this process is known as 'chikkuka'. They will slowly walk through the mat with a rhythatic movement. After season we can see this paya correctly swirled and hanging from the roof of every home waiting for its turn in next year.

Images of nellu from Alappuzha-Changanacherry road side during the koythu kalam.

I had seen such type of paya in highrange also they use this for drying kurumulaku. Its also called as 'Parambu'.

Another one is metha paya. It is of the highest quality. Can we imagine such sponge type material from thorny leaves??

For this after removing the thorns they steam the leaves to make them soft. These mats are exporting from India. According to my father the leaves to make metha paya is from a particular region in Kerala.

Another variety is 'Thazha paya' which is shown in the above picture.

A detailed picturisation of a fellow blogger about making of paya from kaitha ola.

Gift box from kaitha ola


Ummer R V said...

Beautiful pics; wonder if Kaitha still grows in some place in Kerala.

AswathiBabu said...

thanks for inspiring me ...Pictures are taken by my husband. These are from cheppanam a remote village in Ernakulam district.


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