Ten Things To Buy When Visiting Thiruvanthapuram
A tour to Thiruvanthapuram or Trivandrum in Kerala is sure to be a memorable one since it is a place with varied interests. Once you visit such a wonderful place, you would always like to take sweet memories back home.
Things You Must Buy From ThiruvanthapuramThe best way to cherish the experience from your trip is to take back souvenirs. The rich history, culture, art and crafts of Kerala are worth sharing with all your near and dear ones. Thus when you visit Thiruvanthapuram, there are ten exclusive things that you must buy and make your trip worthwhile!
Aranmula KannadiAranmula Kannadi is the famous metal mirror that had been in vogue few centuries back when these were invented by the skilled craftsmen of native Kerala. The bronze workers of the Pathanamthitta district’s Aranmula were especially skilled and had the expertise to make this globally acclaimed cast metal mirrors bearing handles. These have been named as Aranmula Kannadi.
Kasavu SariKerala is famous for its cotton fabrics. ‘Kasavu Mundu’ and ‘Kasavu Neryathu’ are the names of the pure cotton handlooms which are extremely light and bordered with attractive golden thread. In order to add a tinge of extra brightness, sometimes the golden borders are given a touch of stark contrasting hues. These traditional saris and dress materials of Kerala are worn with great delight and are of immense popularity all over the country and overseas where people are fond of wearing Indian national dresses. You could buy the Kasavu sari and dress like a typical woman from Kerala with a hairdo adorned with jasmine garland. This could bring out an extremely fashionable look and make you stand out amidst a huge crowd by virtue of the elegance and chastity of the attire.
Gold OrnamentsGold ornaments are some of the must-buys from Thiruvanthapuram. Te ardent love for gold amongst the people of Kerala can be traced back to bygone days. Even during the ancient times, every community could be found to cast its own jewelry design and the goldsmith was found to make the final ornaments. With the coming of the modern times, the trend has changed but the love for gold has remained the same. You could find a host of jewelry shops with exclusive ornaments and varied designs and patterns.
Wearing gold is an integral part of the social and religious occasions in Kerala and in compliance to this women belonging to the different social strata don gold jewelry. The sacred bond of Hindu marriage in Kerala is marked by a gold plate in the shape of a tiny leaf called a thaali. In the Christian weddings held in Kerala, this thaali bears a cross engraved on it. The Muslim women in Kerala are fond of wearing unique earrings and other embellished ornaments like neckpieces and more for their waists.
The most popular gold ornaments found in Thiruvanthapurama and all over Kerala are gold necklaces like Ilakkathali, Mangamala, Poothali, Chuttiyum Chelum, Manonmani, Palaykkamala, Dalamini and Puliyamothira; rings called Payyannur Pavithra Mothiram ; stone pearls; bangles like Kappu; ear studs like Kannuneerthulli, Jimikki and Thoda and also bracelets of painted enamel. The Aranjanam is the famous ornament ornament that is worn around the waist inside the attire and is usually thin. But the ones that are worn by the Muslim women over their attire are broad with intricate designs and are known as Odyanam. You could buy such traditional jewelry and gift it to yourself and your dear ones.
Bronze WaresWhen you learn the history of India, you would discover that the most renowned bronze craft in the country has been the primitive statue of Lord Shiva in a dancing posture, named Nataraja. In the state of Kerala, bronze, locally called Odu is mainly used to make vessels of various sizes and lamps. In fact, the houses in Thiruvanthapuram have hanging lamps and other wick lamps by different shapes and sizes. The names used locally for these are Nilavilakku and Thookkuvilakku. With rich religious and cultural heritahge, Kerala is known for making various items out of broze. Some of the famous bronze wares include Thattu or plates, Uruli or the wide and shallow cooking vessel and Kindi or the water container bearing a sprouting nozzle. The rituals and religious ceremonies in Kerala remain incomplete without the use of the bronze wares.
Kathakali Models And Kathakali ShowpiecesThe world famous 300-year-old classical dance drama form called Kathakali has become synonymous with Kerala. In today’s world, a Kathakali mask or a Kathakali model is believed to rightly represent Kerala. Miniatures representing the dance form made of wood or plaster of paris have become famous souvenirs from Kerala. You could find these at random in Thiruvanthapuram and gift your dear ones. The Kathakali puppets represent the typical costume of Kathakali dance and the sizes of such puppets ranges from tiny to humongous. Following the traditions of kthakali dances, the costumes of the puppet too follow certain rules. You would find the face paintings and the conventional headgears, the full sleeve blouses, huge ornaments, the typical skirts resembling billowing umbrellas intricately done even in the models.
You could buy Kathakali masks as interesting souvenirs for your dear ones which would be the best icon of the culture you have experienced in Thiruvanthapuram. Clay, paper mache and plaster of Paris are used to make such curios. On the basis of the traditional color of the faces, the shapes of the beard and the headgear, five types of Kathakali can be found. The green or pacha costume represents the noble and virtuous; the knife or kathi represents the proud, unrighteous and aggressive; the red beard or red thadi represents the demonic and the aggressive; the white beard or the white thadi represents the mythical; the black beard or the black thadi represents the cave dwellers, foresters and tribesmen. The polished characters or the minukkus represent womenfolk, Brahmins and sages. Usually for adorning their homes, the people of Kerala prefer to display the good and positive characters of the Kathakali figures.
NilavilakkuNilavilakku is the metal lamp akin to the culture of Kerala which is an integral part of the ceremonies and rituals performed in Kerala. Being an integral part of the Hindu religious ceremonies, Nilavilakku can be seen in all the socio-cultural activities performed in Kerala. If you look into a typical house in Kerala, you would find the family members lighting up these meal lamps in the balconies as soon as the sun sets. The significance of these lamps lies in the chanting of the religious hymns by all the family members where even children join in the evening prayers. Nilavilakku is considered to be extremely auspicious and its presence in the presentation of various art forms makes a huge difference. You can buy such a lamp and adorn your house. The light of the lamp would remind you of the times you have spent in Thiruvanthapuram.
Coir ProductsKerala has made a carved a special place for itself in the hearts of art lovers by virtue of the artistically made coir products. The elegant and attractive coir products extend a touch of aesthetic appeal to the places wherever kept. The womenfolk of the picturesque coir villages craft these products and product objects like rugs, wall hangings, mats, bags, door pieces, beds, hammocks, cushions, blinds and floor or ceiling furnishings. Coir craft is a lengthy process and the products are worthy purchases. A huge number of women are engaged in the making of coir products, it is one of those traditional industries of Kerala which is still surviving with splendor. You can buy these environment-friendly objects and present them to your friends and folks.
Sandalwood Oil And Sandalwood FigurineSandalwood oil, fondly called ‘liquid gold’ has been a popular perfume in Thiruvanthapuram since long. This oil, which is extracted from the wood and roots of sandalwood is a very expensive item and gets marketed only in some selective outlets in the state of Kerala. As a tourist, you could opt for visiting the sandalwood factory run by the Forest Department. This could be one of the best purchases from your visit to Thiruvanthapuram. When you plan to buy souvenirs, sandalwood figurines would definitely be the expensive ones but the enigmatic aroma and the mesmerizing fragrance is worth the price that you pay. Popular souvenirs include the icons of the elephant-headed God called Ganapathi, the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, model elephants and miniature snake boats. The state handcraft emporiums would sell such sandalwood sculptures where the golden color of the wood adds to the richness of the product. Once you buy such a souvenir, the pleasant memories of your visit would be stronger when you sprinkle a few drops of water on the article and your room would remain perfumed for a couple of days at a stretch.
Products From Hay Art And Fiber CraftThe exclusive features of Kerala like the backwaters, the magnificent evening sky, the snake boat race or vallamkali, the rural fairs and festivals, the valleys, the hills and the hamlets and every other spellbinding wonder is brilliantly captured and given lively expressions and translated into straw pictures called vaikkol chritrangal. Hay art forms a popular cottage industry of Kerala and is in great demand during festivals such as Christmas, Onam and New Year in the form of greeting cards. The craftsmen re mainly the rural people who translate their aesthetic excellence into straw surface and create elegant presentations which are widely sold in the state emporia.
Fiber art is also famous in Thiruvanthapuram. Purses, feather dolls, bangles, wall hangings, bags and parts of dresses are some of the exclusive fiber articles which are artistically created by the craftsmen. As products from the cottage industry of Kerala, these are sent to the cities across the state of Kerala. Such fibers are usually obtained from banana plants and pineapple leaves and are white in color. The soft and silky texture of the fiber brings a glaze on the finished product. The state owned handicrafts emporium at Thiruvananthapuram and also street vendors at different tourist destinations can be the possible sources for buying these inexpensive articles which generally last a lifetime if handled with care.