Paalum Pazhamum: Boxed Tradition!!


Checked Kanjeevaram sarees have been popular for generations. No wardrobe was really complete without at least one…

Checks – Kattam in Tamil - form an enclosed, defined space associated with a sacred space. The geometrical foundation of the layout and the mathematical precision in arranging the colours results in the appealing checked drapes.

Paalum pazhamum, a name derived from a 60s Tamil movie title - is the name given to the multi-coloured checks created on the saree by using combinations of colours in the warp and the weft. The checks could be created using two colours or several more. Translating to “milk and fruit” checks, the traditional Paalum Pazhamum combination is in the auspicious colours of red, yellow and green. 


Paalum pazhamum checks are not restricted to silks. Lighter fabric like silk cotton lend well to this traditional boxed design. Innovations in number and choice of colours for the warp-weft interplay creates variations that appeal to the senses and sensibilities. The checks appear on the body, sometimes with little paisley or floral buttas, with one of the colours forming the border, pallu and blouse. In some cases, the body remains plain, and it’s the border, pallu and blouse that bear the checks. 


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