Apart from the regular weaves and patterns, Pattamadai paais are made to order for wedding ceremonies. The bride and the groom's names and the wedding date are woven in to the mat make the occasion memorable. This particular handicraft is original to Pattamaadai, a small village in Thirunalveli district of Tamil Naadu, and hence its name. It is also called Korai or Gorai paai as it is made of a special kind of grass called "Korai/Gorai".
Conventional method of mat making involves lengthy processes of drying, soaking, splitting and dyeing the grass. The harvest season fall during the months of September/ October and February/March . The grass is cut while it is still green. Strips of grass are sun-dried and are not to exposed to humidity as they tend to turn black with the exposure. As the dried grass strips turn a yellowish green, they are boiled in a pot of water and then dried again. Bundles of dried grass are then soaked in running water and kept below the surface of the water for three to seven days. This process makes the grass to swell up to three times its original size. After it is then dried again and then taken to a floor loom. Finally a woven mat is dried in the sun for a short time before being polished.
There are three different categories of the silk mat available in the market and the classification depends on the weave: Coarse weave, medium and the fine weave. The outer skins of the grass is stripped to bring out the fine strand from within for weaving the finer variety.
In the picture below, you can see the supportive mukali and the mat (a work-in-progress) on the floor.