Karaikudi is a city in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu State. The crafts of Kariakudi are well known in South India and also famous for art, architecture and culture. Palm leaf Basketry is one among the well-known crafts. Palm tree also known as Palmyra tree is one of the important trees in Tamil Nadu, whose basketry is the major source of income for the rural communities.
Palm leaf baskets are made of very intricate designs, which have a special attraction. The products are mainly used for local or daily activities. The palm leaf basketry is locally called as "Kottans" in Tamil Nadu. The experienced and skilled artisans develop new varieties of designs according to the taste of the local people and market. The products made are durable, which lasts for longer time.
It is believed this craft is originated from the particular community of people called Nadar (and the other community of villages near the Keelayapatti village in Karaikudi) who used to climb the Toddy Palmyra trees to collect the toddy (kallu) from the plant. One fine day it accidently led to the folding of the leaves as a vessel to drink water and as a flat vessel for food. This led to the idea of weaving these leaves as a carrier to carry goods in the farms and also carry the rice to the relative's houses during the weddings and functions. Later the designs of the baskets were improvised and explorations happened in shape, sizes, and forms of the final product.