Evolution of Coir Mats
The first recorded history of coconut in India dates back to 3 rd century BC in the Vedic Hindu story “Ramayana”, written by the great Valmiki. The references in this book refer to the coconut trees of southern India and its varied uses in human society. It is believed that coconut was introduced in India during the post-vedic period.
The coir manufacturing industry producing Coir Mats and Coir Floor coverings was initiated in India when the first factory was set up in 1859 at Alleppey, a small city of the state of Kerala, along the coastal waterway in Southern India by Mr. James Darragh, an adventurous Irish born American citizen who saw the many features and benefits of Coir fiber, yarn, rope and an entryway doormat. The company thrived through the years inviting other European nationals including the British owned East India Company. Most of those International manufacturers eventually left leaving the industry to Indian nationals.
The State of Kerala is the home of Coir, a tropical paradise of waving coconut palms along the coast of Arabian Sea and wide sandy beaches. Almost everything from Kerala’s culture to its mouth watering dishes is evolved around the coconut tree.
Alleppey is the nerve centre of Kerala’s famous coir industry where many factories thrive in this labor oriented industry. In this cottage based industry, one can see coconut fiber being extracted from husk for spinning the yarn by women to make beautiful Coir Mats and other Coir Floor coverings. Both women and men are actively involved in this industry making it a livelihood for their families for generations in the making of Coir products. The women are mainly involved in coir yarn spinning sector and men in product weaving sector.
Coir Industry enjoys the status as the largest cottage industry in the state of Kerala.