Your tour to Kerala would not be complete if you don't take back souvenirs to relish the unforgettable moments of this sojourn. The main cities have shopping arcades and malls while there are local markets and shopping fairs in smaller cities.
Kerala handicrafts are well known worldwide as exquisite souvenirs and gifts! Kerala spices, coir and coconut shell craft, sandalwood and rosewood carvings, metalwares, Kathakali masks, Nettoor jewellery boxes and Kottayam silks are all much sought after souvenirs.
Coconut Shell Craft
As copious coconut trees dominate the land of Kerala, coconut shell craft is exclusive to Kerala. Coconut tree is so useful that almost everything, from fruit to the trunk and leaves can be utilized to create many utilitarian artifacts. From the hard coconut shells itself, extraordinary crafts like flower vases, snuff boxes, sugar basins, nut bowls, powder boxes, cups, and spoons embellished with brass are made. Calicut district in Kerala is well-known for producing such coconut shell crafts.
Metal Inlaid Wood Craft
Fragments of white wood and rosewood are cut and shaped into diverse patterns and pasted on a plywood base. Brass metal pieces are affixed inside the various designs to make Dancing Ladies, Candle Stands, Key Stands, Peacocks, Butterflies and Kathakali Heads. You can shop these artifacts in the Ernakulam district in Kerala.
It is a main industry in Kerala and the coir is drawn out from the husk of the coconut. A wide array of coir wares such as Doormats, Floor Mattings and Rugs, Flowered Mourzouks, crush-proof pile carpets and other floor coverings are made in different designs and colors. Apart from these coir is also used to make mattresses and cushioning. The main coir products manufacturing centers are at Kollam, Calicut and Alleppey.
Horn Carving is one of the oldest crafts of Kerala. Craftsmen belonging to Viswakarma Community of Thiruvananthapuram exhibit large expertise in this craft. Stunning artifacts such as flower vases, figurines of birds and animals, toy furniture, minute replicas of snake boats, ornate combs, hair pins, pen stands, small boxes, buttons, trays, ashtrays, paper weights, lamps and cigarette cases are carved out of animal horns.
Kerala boasts of the richest wood- carving tradition in India. Wood carving skills of Kerala are displayed in the Temples and Palaces of Kerala. Striking woodcarvings are made from sandalwood, rosewood, cedar wood and teak. Other carvings include elephants of varied sizes and shapes, lamp stands, paper weights, Nettoor jewellery boxes etc.
Bamboo Mat Paintings
Bamboo Mat Painting is a major craft in Kerala. The native artisans exhibit extraordinary skills in this art.This particular art necessitates knowledge and concentration more than mere painting. These mat paintings are available at Kochi and Ernakulam.
Kerala Aranmula Metal Mirror
Don't miss out the Kerala Aranmula Metal Mirror which is a typical Kerala handicraft and is a huge hit among the tourists. The mirror is made from the alloy of copper and tin and shines like a mirror due to its polished surface. Shop this souvenir at Aranmula, a village near Chengannur.
Kathakali mask is another famous artifact of Kerala and is a must for all art lovers. This mask reflects the illustrious performing art and culture of Kerala and should be in your souvenir list. You can get these masks from Trivandrum, Cochin, Thrissur and Palakkad districts.
The aromatic spices of Kerala lured the Europeans and other Westerners to India in the medieval times. Your trip to Kerala would remain incomplete if you don't shop for the best quality spices of Kerala. Kerala spices would improve the taste of your food considerably!
You can shop for great fabrics at Thrissur, Cochin, Calicut, Kottayam and Trivandrum. Kerala is famous for its silks. Besides the established attires, you can also shop for the Western wears.