Kerala is a treasure trove of antiques, jewellery, handicrafts, wooden and brass curios and the artisans of Kerala trace their linage to Vishwakarma, the architect of Gods and are called Kammalas. Truly, you can pick up the most divine Sandalwood carvings, Coconut shell toys and kathakali mask in the handicraft showrooms at Trivandrum and Kochin.
Souvenirs are meant to cherish memories of one’s experiences about a particular moment. These experiences can be anything from studies to family to travel.When it comes to traveling, souvenirs attain immense value, especially when people visit truly exotic destinations like Kerala and spend some happy memories while celebrating holidays in Kerala .Kerala has high quality products in jewellery and handloom, and there is a chance of picking in attractive and high quality indigenous souvenirs if you know what to buy.Here are some suggestion on the best souvenirs to carry back from Kerala after your trip.
Kasavu Sari -Kasavu Sari is the traditional White and Gold Kerala Saris which is the traditional clothing worn by women in Kerala.The kasavu or the golden border is either pure golden layer, copper coated or artificial. The fabric of mundu-sari is cotton and is always woven by hand. The Kasavu Sari for festive occasion has golden coloured borders and the colour for the blouse of the mundum neryathum for any occasion is determined by the age and marital status of the woman. Young unmarried girls wear green coloured blouse, while married middle aged mothers wear red blouses.This is an ideal souvenir to carry back from Kerala especially if you want to gift something to the women folk in your family. If you want to know how to wear a kasavu Sari, you can check this video
The cost of a Kasavu Sari varies from Rs.800 to Rs.1 lakh and depends on the width and material of the kasavu which can be thread or gold.You can buy the Kasavu Saris from any good textile shop in Kerala.
Aranmula Kannadi -Aranmula Mirror is a handmade metall-alloy mirror, made in Aranmula, a village in Kerala. The exact metals used in the secret alloy are unknown to public and is maintained as a family secret by the family making these mirrors for centuries; however metallurgists suggest the alloy to be a mix of copper and tin. Unlike the normal ‘silvered’ glass mirrors, being a metall-alloy mirror, it is a front surface reflection mirror, which eliminates secondary reflections and aberrations typical of back surface mirrors.
The most popular version of Aranmula Kannadi is the Sree Padmanabha Mirror. This unique mirror hails its origin to the symbol of travancore dynasty. It represents immense treasure and prosperity and the cost of an aranmula mirror starts from Rs.2500. The best place to buy the original version of the mirror is Aranmula, from the workshop of the family that makes this mirror.
Nettur Petti – Nettur Casket is the fully hand-crafted jewellery box designed in the Nettur region of Thalassery in Kannur district of Kerala. These boxes, which are now rated as a collector’s item, are fashioned out of rosewood (eeti) and countrywood. The brightly coloured boxes also feature intricate patterns and each and every accessory that goes into the making of our products are handmade including the hinges and nails which are crafted by hand. This jewel box is fully handcrafted and the casket is usually made of rosewood or teak and is richly decorated with brass. The cost of Nettoor Petti starts from rs.4000 and is available in handicraft showrooms in Kerala.
Coir Products-Coir Fibre is extracted from the fibrous outer cover of the fruit of the Coconut palm, with or without retting. Coir Fibre is graded based on its nature of extraction, colour, presence of long and short fibres, impurities etc and is used to create coir products.The Coir yarn is of different qualities/grades based on the quality of fibre used, the nature of twist, presence of impurities etc. Available in different forms like hydraulically pressed bales, spools bobbins, dholls, balls etc. cut length for various industrial and agricultural purposes. Coir Mats are the popular souveneirs collected by guests and the cost starts from Rs.300 for a good quality mat. These coirmats can be purchased from Coir Board showrooms in Kerala.
Nettippattom – The elephant, which is an integral part of any celebration in Kerala, is turned out in full regal splendour for any pageant or procession wearing a nettippattom. Nettippattom is the glittering ornament that adorns the forehead of the elephant during temple festivals and is crafted in gold by a skilled clan of artisans. Nowhere in India is an elephant decorated so extravagantly, or so befittingly. Three and a half kilograms of copper and three sovereigns (24 gms) of gold go into the making of a simple nettippattom. It takes not less than 20 days to craft this ornament. The size of the nettippattom varies with that of the elephant. An elephant of 9 to10 ft height would require an ornament of 60″ – 66” in length with at least 11 chandrakkala (crescents) on it.
Nilavilakku – The Nilavilakku is integral to all the rituals and ceremonies in a Keralite’s life. As dusk creeps in, young girls of the family bring the lighted lamps (nilavilakku) to the verandah of the house. Nilavilakku is a lighted bell metal traditional lamp used commonly in Kerala, South India. Nilam in the Malayalam language means ground and Vilakku means lamp. Nilam and vilakku have exactly the same meaning in the older cognate Tamil language.Lighting the nilavilakku on any occasion is believed to be auspicious. Nilavilakku play an important role at the presentation of various art forms. The art forms are performed after lighting the nilavilakku.
Kuruppam Road in Thrissur, is a great place to buy those famous bell-metal lamps like Arathy deepa (prayer lamp). The mile vilakku(Peacock lamp) or the towering Deepa-sthambha ( tower of light in a temple). Prices start at Rs. 80 and can cost upto Rs 50,000 or more! But, for something extraordinary, hurry down a lane in the heart of Trivandrum and youll find Karalkada- a shop that has been here for over 150 years and has the most equisite Kerala saris called neryath with the classic gold edging.
Kathakali Masks – Kathakali, the much admired classical art form of Kerala, has become the most popular icon of the state. This attractive kathakali mask is made of fibre and is studded with artificial stones. The mask will make a marvelous wall hanging when you return back after a Kerala Experience. Kathakali Mask models accurately render the various Kathakali characters with the same exacting standard a Kathakali artist adheres to in his make-up and costume. Kathakali masks are generally available at all the handicraft showrooms all over Kerala. If you are visiting Kochi, you can try out the handicraft showrooms opposite Taj gateway in marinedrive or in Mattancherry and fort kochi.
Pepper, Cardamom & Spices – Black Pepper is the world’s favourite spice, historically known as “Black Gold” thanks to the Roman’s obsession with them as both an ingredient and as a form of commodity money.A blend of black pepper with aromatic cardamom can be an ideal souvenir to carry back from Kerala, to create a delightful shower solution when all you want is to sit by the fire and watch the snow fall. Best Spices in Kerala include Ginger , Turmeric , Star Anise, Cambodge , Black pepper, Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon etc
Snake boat Model– Kerala has always had a wide range of snake boat races which has been a part of the tradition of Kerala. There are instances in the history of Kerala when disputes between kings and chiefs were settled by boat races. The most grandeous among all the boats in Kerala are the chundan valloms or Snake Boats. The boat races of modern Kerala have legends associated with them. When aristocracy was prevalent in the state, the rulers of various kingdoms would be accompanied on their journeys by quite a few boats – each for a particular purpose like carrying food, clothes and vessels, servants, women, arms etc.
Elephant model-As the State Animal, the elephant is featured on the emblem of the Government of Kerala state, taken from the Royal Arms of both Travancore and Cochin.Most of the Hindu temples in Kerala own elephants, the majority of which are donated by devotees. The famous Guruvayur temple has more than 60 captive elephants. The world’s only Elephant Palace is constructed in Punnattur Kotta, 3 km from the Guruvayur temple, to house the temple’s elephants. A famous elephant, named Guruvayur Kesavan, belonged to this temple.Most of the local festivals in Kerala include at least one richly caparisoned elephant. Elephants carry the deity during annual festival processions and ceremonial circumnambulations in the Hindu temples. The temple elephants are decorated with gold plated caparisons (“nettipattam”), bells, and necklaces.An Elephant Model which is handcrafted is an ideal souveneir to take back from Kerala.
Pulpaya or Traditional grass straw mat – Pulpaya is a traditional straw mat and is one of the oldest hand woven products of the State. Smooth, cool, red and black designed, the traditional Pulpaya or grass mats of Kerala have even found mention in the Atharva Veda(3500 – 1500 BC), one of the four Vedas (philosophical treatises of ancient India). Used to sit on as well as to sleep on depending on their size and shape, these mats were at that time used mostly by the elite when ordinary people used wooden planks to sit.