There are many versions as to how needlework came to Kerala. Many credit the Christian missionaries and nuns from Europe with popularizing the skill by sharing it with the women of Kochi. Some are of the opinion that it was the Syrians who brought needlework to Kerala while some others believe it was the Egyptians.
From the 9th century onwards, Kerala, especially Kochi, became a main production centre for clothing made or embellished with needle work of various kinds. By the 19th century, the products began to be exported to Europe.