Given its heritage of cultural and religious beliefs, its geographical diversity and its rich history, Sri Lanka is a gold mine as far as availability of excellent souvenirs is concerned. But if you would still like some help in finding a thoughtful souvenir from the tear drop-shaped island, here are our top picks:
Given the large population of elephants found in the jungles of Sri Lanka, they play a significant role in Sri Lankan traditional and religious activities for over 5000 years now. The early Sinhalese rulers remain known in the history for capturing and taming elephants and hence leaving a legacy of rituals associated with the great animal. Therefore, Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the world to buy elephant art in the form of soft toys, elephant gem stones, wood-carved elephants and elephant fridge magnets among other popular forms.
Carved and Painted Wooden Products
The traditional handicraft of wood carving has been around in Sri Lanka for many centuries, with locals still using wood carved and painted household products for the purpose of home decorations in large numbers. Tourists visiting Sri Lanka also don’t remain untouched by the elegance and simplicity of wood carved products sold in the country including ornaments and jewellery pieces, figurines, sculptures, lacquer products, boxes and toys. Though, found throughout the country, do visit Kandy when looking for best deals on carved and painted wooden products.
Originating in the Dumbara valley of the Kandy district, Dumbara is a hand-woven coarse fabric used to weave carpets, mats and rugs in geometric patterns. Found in a variety of different, shapes, sizes and colours, these mats can add personality and zing to any room they are placed in. Though, these mats can be found around the country, Kandy district is where you should go for the most variety and best bargains.
An ideal souvenir for a tea lover back home from the place that specialises in its production, the pungent, malty and nutty Ceylon Tea is a top choice souvenir amongst visitors from the UK. You could choose to visit one of the many tea estates in the Central Sri Lanka to handpick best quality tea leaves or visit the Tea Museum opened by the Sri Lanka Tea Board in Kandy where you can also learn about the history of tea production in the country.
If you or your friends enjoy baking or plainly love the aromatic and pungent flavours of cinnamon in your food and beverages, you will be right in the cinnamon-heaven when in Sri Lanka. The largest exporter of cinnamon in the world, Sri Lanka is the perfect place to shop for this versatile spice in heaps.
What if we tell you that Noritake, the renowned Japanese tableware company get its products made in Sri Lanka? That’s right. You can shop for tonnes of beautiful dinner sets, glasses, bowls and much more at a much smaller amount than what you would pay for the same products back home in the UK or even in Japan. Check out their large store in Colombo or shop from one of their factory outlets directly – no matter what you chose, you are going to return home with a happy souvenir.
The history of wooden masks in Sri Lanka dates back to the 17th century when these were used in the Sri Lankan religious and traditional rites to depict popular characters from folklores. Even today, the masks are used in dramatic adaptations, dance performances as well as to cure illnesses as per an ancient belief. Some of the common types of masks available here include the Raksha Mask, Sanni Mask as well as Kolam Mask. The town of Ambalangoda, known by its mask-making industry, is where you will find the best collection, if you want to bring back a little bit of Sri Lankan culture back home through this intriguing symbol.