Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coir rope making - Kerala

What caught my attention were 2 Indian women each with a big pouch  hugging  their waists. In it was filled with coir. Curious and interested to find out more about this activity, I walked closer to the women.  First I watched as these ladies proudly displayed their skill for all to see and participate on the lawn at Kumarakom Lake Resort. One of the ladies in  a blue sari was eveready to show. It's a 'delicate' art to 'feed' the rope and let it go. Any jerky movements and  heavy handedness will cut off the continuity of the rope. Needless to say I broke it! Then came the repair which was nicely joined by my teacher.

Think of all the coir ropes you have seen and used. It is highly probable that some would have come from India as coir rope making is an important  thriving cottage industry especially in the coastal region of Kerala. Womenfolk support this industry

Say ' Coconut' when in Kerala!  You'll love the tall sway of the trees. In almost every home, coconuts are grown. Even before the plane landed in Bangalore, the palms are beckoning a warm tropical welcome down below ! The clime suits this versatile plant and has blessed  Kerala with so many spin -offs. Coir is one of the by - products of this plant. It is a natural fibre extracted from the husk between the hard internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. One hundred per cent natural, eco- friendly and water absorbent without weakening its strength, the coir is used for numerous products e.g.door mats, floor mats, mattresses, brushes, etc.

Joey! I thought but Kerala women have different ideas

A lesson in the light touch -' feed' the rope from the tangled coir  and it will lengthen

One of the ladies spins the wheel. 
In the background, a huge pile of fibres.

Two ladies making the length of the rope. The women walk backwards several  hundreds of times a  day!

Patiently she sits and spins.  Coconut fibres are attached to hooks.
The wheel is turned by hand.  In the process the coir is twisted. 

The lady approaches the wheel with a block of wood which brings the 2 ropes together. It is then unhooked and ready for the pile.
2 strings entwined as one rope  - a strong rope is ready for use. Job accomplished.

All in a day's work

 Lighter than carrying a baby !

 The pouch(basket really!) is  a piece of cloth wrapped round the lower part of the body.
One of the ends is  brought up to be a basket to hold the fibres.


  1. Hello Keats :) This is a very good and educational post, very interesting and to see it done the traditional way. I certainly want to go to India, hopefully this year. ..and a belated New's Chinese NY and so soon too. Hugs.M

  2. Absolutely fascinating! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Very interesting and enjoyable,nice sharing,stay well.

  4. Another interesting portrait of people, places and activities, Keats! Who would have known that coir rope was still made by hand? I thought they just dumped the fibres into a machine which spins them out as rope! I have tried making cordage out of tree bark and wild ginger fibres during Bushcraft (survival classes) before. It was fun but hard work and took me ages just to make a decent 2- 3 metres.

  5. Oh what an interesting post. I always wonder how they made this.

  6. C-0-C-O-N-U-T..Wonderful and informative entry..tQ Namaste!

  7. Thanks for sharing informative pics and article. :)

    Rope making is an interesting art.

  8. wow, great post and beautiful pictures!
    Greetings from Helsinki, again, back to Casablanca tomorrow.
    Have a great weekend!

  9. Another post that is interesting and full of life and color. I'm awarding you the Sunshine award today on my blog (not quite yet posted). Seemed like a great fit for you! Cheers!

  10. An award is waiting for you on my blog now. Thanks for all your sunshiney posts!

  11. Very interesting and fascinating for sure! I would be captivated too to watch this whole process..Great photos!

  12. This is intriguing. The other thing that caught my attention is the grass. It's so lush and green.

  13. This is very interesting! Thanks for yet another educational post, Keats.

    Have a nice day!

  14. Wonderful pictures.The coir industry is facing real problems these days.

  15. Coconut trees provide income for many families. Very interesting captures and well related.

  16. That must be tough to get the hang of! Thanks for sharing the process.

  17. Wow, what an interesting process to witness! Have a wonderful week :)

  18. Hello!
    What an interesting post!

  19. My blog is
    Now I do not use the


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