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Nettippattom – A Heritage of Kerala

Kerala is indeed the heaven on Earth, especially so for us Indians – the beautiful lakes, the breath-taking scenery, and the lush forests- all combine to give their charm of a country in the lap of God. In our admiration of the scenic beauty of the state, we often forget to appreciate the handwork of the locals in the form of the beautiful Nettippattom wall hangings available widely in the local shops.

Originally, the Nettippattom is not a wall-hanging but a piece of jewelry meant to adorn the foreheads of the Elephants during processions or festivities. The elephant is an animal intricately linked to the heritage of Kerala, and during all important festivities, elephant processions are a must to complete the celebrations.

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Being an important animal, the elephant is royally dressed up from trunk to tail, with beautiful cloth mats and jewelry. The Nettipattom is a piece of jewelry that adorns the trunk of the majestic beast.

Some common features of the Nettippattom are:
• It is crafted from 3.5 kilograms of copper and about 24 grams of gold
• The whole ornament is intricately designed and worked upon by men for at least 20 days.
• The gold carving has a minimum of 11 Chandrakkala (or crescent) designs in the body.
• The size of the ornament depends on the elephant that is to be adorned with it.

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The love of Keralites for gold is amply reflected in this magnificent and extravagant piece of jewelry for the elephants. Often the jewelry I surrounded by colored tassels of wool, to emphasize the contrast and other accessories such as a metal umbrella are added for comfort and splendor.

The making of this ornament is no easy task as a whole group of skilled craftsmen have to work hard on it for a considerable period of time to make it perfect and unique.In recent times, the Nettippattom are also kept at home as auspicious wall hangings – which enhance the décor of the house and give it an authentic Indian feel, bound to make everyone stop and appreciate this beautiful piece of elegant craftsmanship.