5 Best Souvenirs to buy from Sri Lanka
When you fall in love with a particular place, you always feel nostalgic once you go back to your own motherland. But you can bring a little piece of it home with you-in the form of souvenirs. Whether it’s a box of local sweets that you cannot get enough of or an exquisite piece of antique, it will bring back the memories of your cherished destination. Perhaps you may gift it to your loved ones as you regales them with your intriguing stories about this teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean. Here are some of the memorable keepsakes for which you have to save room in your suitcase. You will find plenty of stores, markets and little shops to grab your Ceylonese treasures.
What better way to show your family and friends you care than sharing the greatest brew of the island with them? Ceylon tea is like the lifeblood of this island nation. Whether you want some tea to make your own cuppa back home or share the taste of this refreshing brew with your loved ones, you will be spoilt for a choice. The island teems with tea boutiques that sell tea and non-tea fusions. There are premium and special teas such as Golden Tips, Silver Tips, and Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings. When it comes to infusions, you will can choose from a range of tea infused with cinnamon, dried fruits, herbal varieties as well as local spices. Most of them come in beautiful caddies that you can reuse once your tea stock is over.
A traditional mask
An integral part of Sri Lankan folklore, masks are a vibrant element of the island’s cultural identity. The vibrant masks on display in many shops dotting the roadside are hard to miss when you drive along Ambalangoda. The deft hands of local craftsmen in this coastal town breathe life into a simple log and come up with exotic masks that feature intricate details. Most of the local artists use a delicate brush they make themselves with cat hair to paint the mask. The traditional devil masks which are used in folk dances have now become a great piece of decorative art. If you are looking to add a splash of colour to your living room, go for a ‘Mayura Muhuna’, a striking mask inspired by the peacock.
As vibrant as the island itself, batik is a local craft with a Javanese origin that has been handed down from one generation to another. You would spot local men in batik sarongs and women in rainbow-hued batik sarees as you travel around the island. Making batik is a painstaking process and every piece you would see is made using pure cotton or silk fabrics. Every Sri Lankan batik garment is handcrafted-from waxing to dying. No two designs are the same, even if the same design is being replicated. Therefore, it’s safe to say that batik is somewhat like Sri Lanka’s very own haute couture. You can also grab a piece of batik decorative items such as paintings and wall hangings with dainty Sri Lankan touches.
If you fancy freezing your island memories into a magnificent piece of jewellery, there’s no other better option than buying yourself a Ceylon sapphire. The rich soil of Ratnapura also known as ‘The City of Gems’, yields a bounty of precious gemstones that catch the eye of many. Of all Sri Lanka’s gemstones, the Ceylon blue sapphire reigns supreme. It’s not a secret that the St. Edward's Sapphire set in the Maltese cross on the top of the Imperial Crown of State of the Queen of England was mined from Ratnapura. While the world’s largest blue sapphires are native of Sri Lanka, the stunning 18-carart oval blue sapphire engagement ring worn by Kate Middleton is also from Sri Lanka. Do not forget to get your hands on one of these dazzling blue stones before you leave the island of gems.
The Sri Lankan elephant is a graceful symbol of the island as well as a national treasure. Although you cannot literally take a baby elephant with you (the ideas sounds very tempting), you can still pick yourself a fabulous memento of your visit to the elephant country. Among various collections of wood carved products sold in trinket boutiques and antique shops, elephant figurines are the most sought-after ones. Starting from simple wooden figurines to gem studded tusker figurines, there’s a wide variety. Visit one of the local craft villages or souvenir emporiums in Colombo laden with objects d’art and meander through the stores to find your miniature jumbo to take home with you.