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Shopping in Kerala

Kerala, like most other states in India, offers a mixed bag of shopping to its visitors. While the major cities have shopping malls and large departmental stores, the smaller towns offer market streets and shopping fairs. The spices are strong and sometimes overbearing, the local produce rife in all markets, the colourful array of products on display often catch the sombre European by surprise! Shop for some beautiful traditionally woven saris or the lungi, best described as a male wrap around skirt!

Shopping in Kerala is fun. Don't miss the sandalwood or coconut shell carvings, the fragrant incense sticks or the delicious deep fried banana chips!

For information about things to see & do, our Kerala Destination Guide can help you out. For more general information about India, take a look at our India Destination Guide & India Shopping Guide. If you get hungry during your shopping spree, stop for some finger food or indulge in one of the Restaurants in Kerala along Kerala's shopping streets, or simply relax at the Kerala Hotel of your choice

Special things Buy from Kerala
Things you can shop in kerala - Aranmula mirror, gold and silver brocaded fabrics and silks, silverware, metalware, wood carvings, items fashioned from coconut husks, screw pine mats and antiques,Teakwood statues, brightly screen-washed fabrics and grass and coir-woven mats

Aranmula mirror:-
An unusual product is a metal mirror made out of an alloy of copper and tin. It has a lovely reflecting quality, which closely resembles glass. Aramula, a village near Chengannur is the home of this product.

Coconut Shell Craft:-
Making use of the abundant coconut available in the state, the Keralites have made coconut shell carving a popular craft. The artisans have to be quite skilled since the coconut shell is rather hard. Flower vases, snuff boxes, nut bowls, spoons and sugar basins are some common end products.

Coir Products :-
Coir making and then converting it into different products is a major cottage industry in Kerala. Doormats, carpets, floor rugs, crush proof pile carpets are some of the products made from coir. They are made in different colours and designs. Rubberised coir is another product. Here, coir and latex are blended to make mattresses and cushions. Kerala's coir products are exported to several countries. Alleppey, Kollam and Calicut are the biggest producers of coir products.

Horn Carving :-
This is an ancient craft perfected by artisans mostly belonging to the Viswakarma community. Thiruvananthapuram is the centre of this art. Flowers, birds, combs, lamps etc are the usual products carved out of horn.

Metal Inlaid Wood Craft :-
The end products of this intricate craft are figures of dancing ladies, peacocks, Kathakali heads, key stands, butterflies etc. Rosewood and White wood pieces are cut and shaped into the desired design, pasted on a plywood base and polished. Brass pieces are then fixed to make the final product

Metal Work:-
Bell metal, an alloy of brass, tin and copper, is one of the materials used in this craft. This is also an ancient art. Temple bells, lamps, different types of cooking vessels such as the majestic "varpu", tumblers for drinking etc. are some products made from bell metal. Bell metal work is done mainly in Thiruvananthapuram, Irinjalakuda and Kasargod.
Another well known art in Kerala is the production of religious icons. An eye-catching icon is the "Gaja Tandava"or "Gajasamhara" which depicts the "Tandava" dance. Here Shiva is seen crushing the evil demon, which is in the form of an elephant.

Screw Pine Products:-
Another ancient craft in this long list is screw pine mat weaving. This is practised mainly in certain villages of Kollam, Alappuzha, and Kottayam districts. Screw pine leaves are woven into mats, hand embroidered, and made into household linen, straw hats, and bags.

Wood Carving:-
Kerala is famous for its wood carving. The best places to see the impressive wood carving styles are temples, palaces, and ancient houses. A very intricate art, wood carving requires a high degree of craftsmanship. Rosewood, Sandalwood, Cedar and Teak are the usual varieties of wood used in this craft. Life size mythological and religious figures stylised with gestures and postures are frequently carved out of wood.
Intricately carved elephants, paperweights, lampshades, decorative furniture and jewellery boxes are the more common products these days. Kerala's Sandalwood and Rosewood carvings are distinctly different from those produced in other states.

Other Crafts
Making products out of Paper Mache is another popular craft of Kerala. Masks of dancers, especially Kathakali dancers, is the most commonly made product. Other natural materials used for various crafts are floor mats woven out of banana fiber


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