The name Kerala is synonymous with silk. The area has ideal conditions for the growing and manufacturing of this commodity and with a local tradition of silk production stretching back for generation after generation you can be sure that the quality of Kerala silk is second to none.
Cotton is another textile that is in abundance in this part of India and many of the hip T-shirts, jeans, jackets and sweatshirts bound for Western boutiques and shops end up on market stalls here at prices a fraction of what they would command in the west. Other good buys are spices and so-called antiques along with the real articles. Gold is very popular among Kerala’s womenfolk so do check the golden jewelry option, too.
Silk – Kerala silk is very famous. The traditional bridal sari is made from raw material and has a border which is made of gold thread. The gold thread is hand woven into the silk at the looms. The thickness of the gold border decides the price of the sari; the more gold thread that is used in the sari the more expensive it will be.Even if you are not looking for saris, you can pick up silk and have it tailored. If you have some time, a local tailor will be able to finish the work and present you the finished product in anything between two to six days depending on the season. The shop that sells you the material will also be able to get a tailor organized for you as well.
Antiques – Not only is Kerala a great place for picking up furniture, it has many antiques to offer as well. There are beautifully carved boxes, temples, miniature snake boats on offer as well. These are usually replicas of antiques and will not cost as much. If you are going in for antique artifacts remember that you can not legally take out of India any object that is older than a 100 years.
Also if a person is selling what he calls an antique very cheap, you should suppose it to be a fake. There are a few shops that have a good reputation, and it is best to deal with them. If you are a novice and just want something interesting, go in for any of the replicas that are available. They will not cost as much and still give you a unique souvenir of your visit to Kerala.
Spices – The country’s only Pepper Exchange is located in Jew Town on Fort Cochin in Kochi city. The trading hours witness frenzied activity that rivals any major stock exchange in the world. It is an interesting experience in case you are interested. The spices that Kerala offers are what had Europeans hunting for shorter trading routes to India in the 16th and 17th century.
While you do not have to sail across half the world today to pick up exotic spices, you might still like to pick up some as gifts and souvenirs.
So, enjoy your shopping in Kerala.