Travel

Sri Lanka Shopping Gospel

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka? Make sure you take additional days with yourself for the sole purpose of exploring the markets to take home with you some souvenirs to remind you of this culturally bountiful country. Sri Lankan folk crafts are famous for ceremonial face masks, its batik, lace and gems. What to buy and where you will come to know all. Read on a brief guide from Insightguides.com to make your trip to Sri Lanka a memorable one with mementoes to carry along.

Arts and Crafts

In essence, wood, stone and ebony have been used overtimes for the purpose of crafting pretty much everything. You may find a good number of souvenirs on sale in many shops across the island, quite conventional and clichd in design with a not so pleasing quality of build or material. You can still find a lot of stores that sell authentic and excellent crafts for prices that are open to reason if you’re ready to dig around in the locales. For Arts and Crafts, Laksala, a state-owned emporium is a must go to place to have a glance at the variety of handicrafts available and to be acquainted with the prices. Laksala is spread over the island with a total of 13 branches across different cities. Kandy is known for having an overwhelming number of shops dealing in Sri Lankan Crafts. The city of Galle, situated on the southwestern tip can be roamed around looking for Gems and jewellery. You’ll find touts catching up on tourists on the Western coast, selling clothes and ornaments. Bargain hard and you’ll accommodate on a fair deal.

Sri Lankan Masks

Masks are widely used in Sri Lanka for various ritual dances telling elaborate stories performed by experienced dancers and a number of ceremonies and rituals. Most of these masks depict fearsome demons, which ruffle the bad spirits, as the locals here believe. A ride along the west coast will take you to Ambalangoda, one of the most famous places to visit in Sri Lanka if you’re looking to know more on Mask making. You’ll get to see countless workshops where you can step in and look at masks being carved and painted. The Ariyapala and Sons Mask Museum in one such workshop shop, selling fine quality masks at modest prices. Southland Masks, also in the same district, situated at 353 Main Road also offers a wide range of selection of masks bearing sublime quality.

Batik

Sri Lanka inherited the art of batik making from the Dutch who were influenced by this Indonesian art. Various factories and workshops around Sri Lanka manufacture batik articles. Batiks accentuate the Sri Lankan Handicraft. The detailing and skill involved in making these Batik sheets provide a meticulous look into beautiful depictions of landscapes, and vegetation. Kandyan era designs are also focused upon in these. Batik paintings or wall decorations and other items with aesthetic appeal among fashion can be bought at numerous places on the island. You can stop by Dudley Silva’s Home- workshop to look at some fanciable and beauteous Batik works at 53, Elpitiya Road, Ambalangoda. Jez-Look, at 12, St. Yehiya Road in Matara also offer excellent Batiks at apposite prices.

Lace Work

Lace making was bought into Sri Lanka by the virtue of the Portuguese in the 16th century. Lacemakers Bullock in an indefatigable manner just to process out a few inches of Lace, consuming hours of time. Along the South Western Coast, lacemaking has grown as a household occupation of relaxation, as well as a domestic industry. Lace making finds further application in the decoration of garments, table cloths, curtains, and trimmings for furniture fabrics. Galle is the hub for Lace making, and you’ll find shops selling you lacework at acceptable prices. Shoba Display Gallery in Galle exhibits the local lacemakers’ products. You can also visit the Dickwella Lace Centre in Dickwella village along the coast. It was founded as a women’s cooperative to enliven Lace making as an art. Weligama, a nearby town is also known for lace production. Hawkers may approach you around the fort area where your bargaining proficiency will be put to the test.

Metal Work and Lacquerware

Kandy is the centre for metal production in Sri Lanka. All the ceremonial lamps used in temples and weddings among other rituals come from here. Richly detailed decorative articles with delicate patterns are produced by Metalworkers. Pleasing metalwork showpieces or statues can be found in markets. Lacquer bowls and containers which were originally made in Matale can also be found nearly everywhere on the island. While varnish coated and painted stuff is more abundantly available, Lac finished work is also available in select stores in Kandy.

Gems

Sri Lanka enjoys ancient rock formations and mountains which reason for the origin of such precious stones here. This island is the oldest known source of Rubies and Sapphires. Aquamarines, tourmalines, Garnets, topaz, amethysts and zircons can be found in the river bed gem pits. If you’re planning on buying gems from here, remember you may be conned. You may be sold a few pieces of colourful cut glass in the name of precious stones. Always look for a reputed dealer or a Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry Association shop would be the best bet.