Ashleigh Brilliant, author and syndicated cartoonist, once said, “Keep some souvenirs of your past or how you’ll ever prove it wasn’t all a dream.”
Souvenirs are memories of some wonderful cherished memories. It can be a handful of shells made of sand on the beach or a picture placed in front of a monument or a rare and colorful stamp from a distant land. When it comes to travel, souvenirs gain tremendous value, especially when people visit truly exotic destinations like Kerala.
Here are some ideas for the best travel souvenirs from Kerala after your trip.
1. Aranmula Kannadi: Aranmula Kannadi (mirror) is a handmade mirror made of metal alloy, manufactured in Aranmula, a village in Kerala. One of the most interesting factors of Aranmula Kannadi is that the secret alloy used in making the metal is still unknown to the general public; therefore it consists of only a select few families. Unlike the usual silver glass mirrors, which are a metal alloy mirror, it is a mirror on the front surface, which eliminates the secondary reflections and deviations typical of rear-view mirrors.
The most famous version of Aranmula Kannadi’s Sree Padmanabha Mirror represents immeasurable treasure and prosperity. It should be noted that the costs of Aranmula Kannadi start from Rs.2500 due to the amount of work that goes into it. It is best to buy it in the family workshop where it is made.
2. Mural paintings in Kerala: One of the most famous and richest artifacts that most tourists prefer are wall paintings. These paintings depict the legends and beliefs of Kerala and Indian culture. The walls of ancient temples, palaces and churches of Kerala can be seen decorated with wall art.
It takes a lot of dedicated effort to create this beautiful visual art. You can buy them in handicrafts or order them directly from famous wall art creators.
3. Nettipattam: a dazzling ornament worn on the head of an elephant called Nettipattam. It is most often worn during temple festivals, and is made in gold by a skilled clan of artisans. It should be taken into account that real Nettipattam consists of three and a half kilograms of copper and three sovereign (24 gms) gold.
Imitations are available in different prices and sizes that can be used as wall lights, and small for hanging behind the windshield of a car.
4. Nilavilakku: Another striking thing you will get in Kerala is the “Nilavilakku” (lamp on the floor) which is lit during every auspicious occasion in temples or homes.
It is a good idea to buy some of these lamps for a simple reason, ie. They look nice. You can buy such lamps of all sizes. They are cast in bronze or bells.
5. Kasavu Sari (Kerala Sari): This is an ideal souvenir to wear from Kerala, especially if you want to give something as a gift to women folkers in your family. Kasavu Sarees is a distinctive traditional sarela of keralite in white and gold, worn by women in Kerala. The fabric is made of fine cotton and trimmed with gold and copper yarn.
White and gold color symbolize the purity and divinity of a woman. The cost of 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 Kasawa Saris in any good textile shop in Kerala.
6. Spices of Kerala: When you are in Kerala, you must give yourself and your loved ones a package of spices. Kerala has been known since ancient times for spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cloves, dried ginger, etc. A mixture of black pepper and aromatic cardamom can be an ideal souvenir to wear from Kerala.
The best place to buy spices is Kumily which is close to Thekkadi and the second best place is Fort Cochin.
7. Kathakali mask: The famous dance form Kathakali originated in Kerala and you will get Kathakali souvenirs, everywhere, from fridge magnets, to Kathakali masks, hanging display cases, etc. Kathakali deserves special mention because it can be called the icon of Kerala. The mask is made of fibers, colored and decorated with shiny stones. Kathakali masks and figurines of various sizes can be purchased from handicraft stores.
8. Manual handling of coconut shells: It is true that Kerala is named after the abundant coconut tree throughout the landscape. Kera = coconut and alam = home. Keralites make fascinating use of every part of the coconut tree. From the roof of the house to the carpet, everything is made using a coconut tree. Craftsmen make useful and attractive items such as bowls, glasses and meals, table lamps, etc. Because coconut shell is biodegradable, these products are environmentally friendly.
9. Coconut products: As already mentioned, all parts of the coconut tree are used keralite, Coir fibers are extracted from the coconut shell. This fiber is most often used in the production of doormats, Coir Mats, etc. Which are popular and widely purchased. A quality rug will cost you somewhere around Rs.300.
10. Snake Boat Models (Chundan Vallam): Snake boats or Chundan Vallams have long been part of the Kerala tradition. These ships are made of Anjili wood and are said to resemble a cobra hood. Nowadays these snakes boast in all shapes and sizes. You can buy them in the form of a display case or spice container, etc.
11. Nettur Suitcase (Nettoor Petti): Some of the best wooden chests in the world are made in Kerala. A nettur suitcase is a handmade jewelry box with intricate patterns, and is usually made up of rosewood or teak which is further made from brass. The Nettur basket has multiple uses, except it can be a jewelry box that can be used as storage furniture, a coffee table or a decorative item in your display case, depending on the size. The cost of Nettur Casket starts from Rs. 4000 and is easily available in handicraft salons in Kerala.
12. Elephant figurines: Elephants are considered the state animal of Kerala because it is prominent on the emblem of the government of the state of Kerala. Moreover, the famous Guruvayur Temple has more than 60 elephants in captivity, and on the other hand most local festivals in Kerala include at least one richly decorated elephant. Therefore, the handmade Elephant model is an ideal souvenir for returning from Kerala.
On your next trip to Kerala, don’t forget to take these unique pieces of memory home. These souvenirs can convey memories of your travels better than even a thousand photos.