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Kodavas stand out in a crowd because of their distinctive attire. A Kodava man’s traditional formal attire is called Kupya.


Kupya is a collarless, short-sleeved coat wrap-around that reaches below the knees and worn by Kodava men on formal occasions. It is usually made of black thick cotton material and is secured at the waist by a chele, a red gold-embroidered silk sash.

The white colored Kupya is ritually superior to the black one. Only a man who is in a position of honor wears a white kupya. During the marriage ceremony the bridegroom always wears a white kupya, with a chele (sash) and a brocaded white turban (mande tuni). Unlike the black one, this is long sleeved.