Indian old hand, Lakshmi, tells you everything you need to know about shopping in Kerala’s bustling port
OK… I know… those on the spiritual path SHOULD have a ceiling on their desires. I have a ceiling… it’s just a very high one! Anyway how can a girl resist the wonderful shopping on offer in Fort Kochi, Kerala. I definitely couldn’t start lowering the ceiling here in shopping paradise.
So where to start?
Well, all visitors to India need a great Indian outfit or reasonably priced gifts for friends back home. Anokhi is perfect for all these needs (and more… they even have jewellery!) Anokhi can be found on the corner of Lilly and Parade Roads, Fort Cochin. The bag above is from Anokhi and contains a beautiful tablecloth and dress.
If you pop just around the corner, you will find the divine Manvi the Handmade at 1/282 Napier Street. They sell beautiful white hand embroidered shirts, dresses and pants and have a delightful shop assistant who will help you shop up a storm.
Just down from Manvi the Handmade is Fabindia. You can buy terrific kurta tops for men and women here. They also sell lots of cute knick-knacks that make great gifts.
A short five-minute walk from here you will find the upmarket Cinnamon Boutique at 1/658 Ridsdale Road. This boutique sells divine dresses, scarves and is very swish but still well priced.
Keep on walking – remember you are working off that lovely breakfast from Kashi Art Cafe in Burgher Street. They also have divine art installations here to view and sometimes purchase.
Up at 1/615 Pater Celli Street you will find Play Clan. This cutie is open seven days a week from 10am till 7.30pm. This is the place to get gifts for that hard-to-buy-for friend. Their original t-shirts, diaries, key rings or coffee mugs are sure to impress.
In Rose Street you will find the lovely Neemrana Shop, attached to the Tower House Hotel. It has nice dresses, shirts and gifts.
Just around the corner is the fantastic Idiom bookshop in Bastion Street. They have a huge array of books, prints and those much-needed postcards.
Keep walking and you will find Preethi Stores just in Princess Street. This is a wonderful small supermarket for all your needs. They also sell a lovely array of well packaged spices that are extremely cheap.
In KB Jacob Road you will find the Amrita Life Ayurvedic Shop. They sell a vast range of Ayurvedic cures and treatments (all in liquid form). They also sell lovely rudrukshas, bracelets and malas that have been blessed by the“Hugging Mother” ~ Mata Amritanandamayi.
If you are after a traditional sari or a place where they will make up a ready-made sari for you, look no further than Malabar Sarees at 1/323 Church Lane. Ashwin will help you to select something divine and they will make it up for you the same day.
If antiques are more your style, take a short auto rickshaw ride to Jew Street where the choice is endless. There are many perfume and gift shops here too. Don’t forget to drop in and visit Mr Thomas at the Little Queen Embroidery, 542 Synagogue Lane. They sell beautiful hand-embroidered tablecloths, napkins and hankies.
If you are after an Indian puppet, trinkets, ink stamps or necklaces, there are some interesting stalls near the Fishing Nets. I bought a stunning peacock comb here, hand-carved out of a buffalo horn.
Finally, just walking around the town is a delight in itself. You will find countless other small shops in the sweet laneways. There is not much traffic which is perfect for browsing and chatting as you wander through lovely old Fort Kochi.