Shopping in Sri Lanka – 15 Best Souvenirs

Sri Lanka has always been a customer’s paradise. It is a leading textile and apparel exporter. Among us Indians, Sri Lanka has been known for shopping for clothes. The name of Odell market has been included in the Sri Lanka itinerary list especially for the purchase of clothes and apparels.

Sri Lankan Gifts and Souvenirs

During my two trips to Sri Lanka, I saw clothing as well as many other items which are particularly symbolic of Sri Lanka’s culture and heritage. You can buy these as souvenirs during your trip to Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka these symbolic souvenirs are available in a variety of price ranges to suit every type of customer. According to my conclusion, apart from clothes, there are other 15 main items that you can buy as souvenirs.

gems and gems

Let’s start this list of souvenirs with the most adorable and most valuable item. There are many gem mines in Sri Lanka. Chandrakanta mine is the main among them. I also had the privilege of seeing a Chandrakanta mine here. Here I got an opportunity to see firsthand the method of carving and polishing gems by quarrying and sorting them. Jewelery was also being made by inlaying these shiny gems in various metals. My heart also got fascinated by these gems and I also bought some Chandrakanta gems.

priceless gems of sri lanka
priceless gems of sri lanka

You can buy these gems anywhere in Sri Lanka. There are many small and big gem shops in Unawatuna and Kandy, famous for tourism. What did you say? You doubt your gem-loving eyesight! You can visit many museums located here, where literature and short films are told to test them. After seeing these, you can fearlessly shop for various gems.

Yes, let me warn you! Do not forget to bargain while shopping for these gems in every small and big shops.

famous lanka tea

Sri Lankan tea has always been famous. This can prove to be the best gift brought from Sri Lanka for tea lovers. You can visit the tea gardens to see their factory and get your favorite tea from there. As far as I am concerned, whenever I go to the tea gardens of any area, I bring fresh tea from there to satisfy my few months tea supply.

famous lanka tea
famous lanka tea

Apart from tea gardens in Sri Lanka, you can also buy beautiful packaged tea leaves from markets and souvenir shops.

Sri Lanka’s most famous tea is sold under the name Dilma Chai.

Chinese pottery

Very few of you will be aware that the most famous ceramic items available in Japan called Noritake are made in Sri Lanka. If you want to buy your favorite utensils at reasonable prices, then you can buy them from the factory’s sales center. Apart from this, one can also buy them from the huge exhibition hall in Colombo. Their products are also available in other Odell type markets in Sri Lanka.

porcelain made in sri lanka
porcelain made in sri lanka

Porcelain pots bought during my visit to Sri Lanka 12 years ago continue to adorn my kitchen even today. Some people here told that when Mrs. Ambani was getting the decorations for her new home in Mumbai, she had gone to Sri Lanka to buy porcelain utensils for her kitchen.

Sri Lankan Cinnamon

cinnamon sticks
cinnamon sticks

Almost all the spices grown in South India are also grown in Sri Lanka. The main reason for this is the similarity of air to water. Cinnamon is the main in this. Did you know that Sri Lanka is the largest exporter of cinnamon in the world? So it’s obvious what spice I would have bought! I bought cinnamon pieces wrapped in a delicate bun type. It looked different from the cinnamon commonly sold in India.

Cinnamon is also available in powdered form apart from pieces. You can also buy beautiful bundles filled with many other spices including cinnamon. Along with your kitchen, it can also be a useful gift.

attractive wooden masks

unique wooden masks
unique wooden masks

Wood carving is a handicraft practiced throughout Sri Lanka. This carving done in many Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka will fascinate you. Beautifully carved wooden masks are the hallmark of Sri Lankan artists. These colorful masks can be a part of your home decor. It is believed that red colored masks protect, yellow colored masks bring prosperity and blue colored masks help in your business.

Read More – Anuradhapura – Sightseeing of the Ancient Capital of Sri Lanka

What I wanted was a pure wood carving with no extra paint on it. So I had chosen for myself the statue of a fisherman sitting on a wooden pole, holding a flute in his hand. I had also bought a mask of Ravana. In my opinion it was a symbol of the ancient relation between India and Sri Lanka. It is a major part of my collection even today.

Dumbara mats and cane articles

cane articles
cane articles

Dumbara weaving is a rough weave made on a handloom. It is called Dumbara weaving after its origin area near Kandy. Mostly black, black and red colors are used in this weaving made in geometric shapes. In Sri Lanka, I saw attractive wall decorations, tablecloths, baskets and bags made by this weave. These items are also available in souvenir shops. Available in many shapes and sizes, these items give you ample choice of choices.

Read more – Polonnaruwa – The Best Ancient Town in Sri Lanka

Similarly, you can also buy beautiful baskets and boxes made of cane.

Sri Lankan sarees

Sri Lankan Saree
Sri Lankan Saree

Like in South Indian cities, Sri Lanka also has the traditional feminine dress saree. Like Kerala, there are two types of Sri Lankan sarees. The first type of saree has two more parts along with the choli. The first dupatta and the second waist fringed lingerie which is wrapped around the waist. The second type of sari is five yards like the Indian sari but it is worn in a manner contrary to the Indian tradition. Wearing starting from the pallu, the pleats of this sari are taken out instead of inside, giving it the form of a fringe at the waist.

Read more – Ramayana related sites in Sri Lanka

The first type of saree is very easy to wear. I also learned to wear this saree from a woman there. It is reminiscent of the Mekhla saree of Assam. It is said to be inspired by the redda-hatte originally worn in the Java region of Indonesia. This can be a beautiful gift as a souvenir of Sri Lanka.

antiquities

If you are interested in the collection of antiques, then you can buy these items from many shops located in Galle. A strange coincidence happened to me that it was raining during my visit to Gaul. So I spent all my time in the shops. Many shops of gems and antiquities are located here.

There are many items available here like ancient utensils, clocks, musical instruments, items of worship house. It takes a lot of patience to find the favorite item among these. It is no less exciting than finding treasure.

Maps, drawings and paper objects

While walking through the shops of Gaul, I noticed a group of shops selling pictures and maps of ancient Sri Lanka.

old maps and posters
old maps and posters

He had beautiful pictures of Sri Lanka and Gaul. Some of those pictures were many years old. Yet they were kept very well. If you are interested in ancient paintings, then your wish will be fulfilled in the streets of Galle.

Read more – Places to visit in ancient Jaffna city of Northern Sri Lanka

Some artists in Sri Lanka are doing paper recycling in a very attractive way. I saw colorful baskets made from recycled paper. I had a strong desire to bring these adorable baskets with me to India and get them copied here. The purchase of these paper items directly means our cooperation towards protecting the environment.

colorful painting on stones

You must have seen the pictures painted on smooth stone. But you must have seen beautiful elephants and dancers painted on rough stones.

stone painting
stone painting

If your mind is fascinated by the stone paintings of Dambulla and Sigiriya, then buying them as the best souvenirs of Sri Lanka can enhance the beauty of the house. In the course of time, the style of these paintings may have changed, but their original nature is stable.

engraved colored wood

colorful wooden boxes
colorful wooden boxes

There are many workshops in Kandy where exquisite wooden sculptures and home furnishings are made. I also got darshan of one such workshop. I was fascinated by all the things made there. However, one box in particular attracted me. This was a wonderful painted chest.

I was made aware that all the workshops here carry their works of art to every corner of the world. So you can easily get the selected items delivered to your home.

Sri Lanka’s iconic paintings

You can also take pictures of the iconic style made here as a souvenir of Sri Lanka. These are bright and pure paintings made in bright colors. Most of the paintings are based on mythology. Among them, the princely rides and the characters of the epics have priority.

Seeing these pictures reminded me of the reefs of Tambekar Wada.

Cinnamon Tree Bowls

Cinnamon Wood Bowl
Cinnamon Wood Bowl

Although you can buy bowls made of wood, smooth white and cinnamon colored bowls are very beautiful and unique. According to the seller, the bark of the cinnamon tree is first separated from the stem for cinnamon spice. After that these bowls are painted with the dust of the inner part of the stem.

A bowl colored with cinnamon, the main spice of Sri Lanka, is a unique identity of Sri Lanka, and a perfect souvenir for you.

Clothes

Sri Lanka is famous for its textiles. You can buy your favorite clothes from Odell and many other such huge shops.

gajcraft

elephant sculpted from elephant bones
elephant sculpted from elephant bones

Elephants are found in abundance in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan residents are proud of their elephants. That is why the pictures, figures, crafts etc. of elephants are visible everywhere. The souvenirs related to elephant that you can pick up are-

  • Elephants made of cotton and cotton are great gifts for babies.
  • Elephant shaped gems for gem lovers.
  • Attractive Gajacrafts and sculptures made by Gaja Asthi.
  • Wood carving sculptures.
  • Wooden decorations with elephant pictures inscribed on them.
  • Elephant magnets to stick on the fridge.
  • Unique paper made by Gaj Ke Mal which also protect the environment.

Tips for Buying Souvenirs in Sri Lanka

  • Bargaining is essential for purchases in Sri Lanka. The marked value on the items may be several times the original price. Although we are often unaware of the extent of bargaining, try to bargain as much as possible.
  • Lakshala is a sales store established by the Government of Sri Lanka, whose branches are available all over Sri Lanka. The price of souvenirs available in this store is fixed. You can rest assured that you can buy the items you want from here.
  • There is a huge shop called “Barefoot” and many similar shops where specially made items are available. But these things are more valuable.

Most of the above souvenirs are also available at the airport of Sri Lanka. Although their prices are high and bargaining is not easy. However, due to the lack of time, souvenirs can also be purchased from here.

Translation: Madhumita Tamhane

About India Travelz

We at India Travelz have one thing in common: love for India and passion for traveling. We have been living & traveling in India for long periods, have guided geographical tours to India, studied and taught many academic courses about Indian culture, history, religion, and languages; now we are excited to take this opportunity to share our insights and experience!"

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