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Shopping in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka offers a wide array of shopping items, the most recognized being gems, batik, tea, and handicrafts. The most popular items among tourists are handloom fabrics, leather products, reproduction antiques, jewelry and ceramics. Ratnapura is the most famous place to find gems, including blue sapphires, the king of Sri Lankan precious stones.

Colombo Shopping

In Colombo The city has a bustling economy based on, among other things, tourism. There is a whole lot being done by the government to promote resorts and areas worth visiting in and around Colombo and when it comes to shopping there’s a lot more to Sri Lanka than merely Ceylon Tea! Plus there are great shopping malls in Colombo that help you pick up some truly memorable souvenirs.


Where To Shop

Laksala

Laksala

The state run-handicrafts emporium in Sri Lanka is called Laksala and has a number of branches all over the country. The one in Colombo is the biggest and the best and is located on 60 York Street. It is open from 09:00 in the morning to 17:00 in the evening. On Saturdays it closes an hour earlier and is closed all day on Sundays. You can pick up anything here and objects made from brass and silverware, wooden artifacts, buffalo horn, natural fibres, and even rush and reed abound. There are also products made from coconut shells, cane, and bamboo as well as toys, pottery, artificial flowers and costume jewelry.

Majestic City

Majestic City

The main shopping mall on Galle Road is the multi-storey Majestic City in Bambalapittiya. Most shoppers escape the heat of central Colombo by entering its air conditioned portals. There is a cinema on the top floor and a food court in the basement as well as a whole lot of varied shops in between. These sell everything from CD's, DVD's, books, clothes, and linen. You can even find a couple of internet cafes there.

Odel

Odel

Odel is located at 5 Alexander Place on Lipton Circus in Colombo 7 area. It is Sri Lanka’s best-known branded garment factory outlet. Here, you'll find garments from international houses like Gap, DKNY,and George, but the labels are removed. It is a classy departmental store that features clothes, accessories, jewelry, shoes, bags, cosmetics, home ware, tea, books, watches, sunglasses, chocolates and candy, toiletries, and a whole lot more. There is an ice cream parlor, hair salon and florist present as well. All in all it's a true shopping experience.

The Barefoot Gallery

Barefoot Gallery

Odel’s closest competition would come from the Barefoot Gallery which is located at 706 Galle Road in Colombo. Although it is not quite the same scale and has less to offer, it is worth visiting with a range of handloom products. Very cheerful, colourful and creative designs grace the handmade artifacts. You can pick up toys, notebooks bound in handloom fabrics, hand-painted wooden boxes, tote bags, skirts and blouses, costume jewelry, table linen and even bed linen. 

Arcade Independence Square

Arcade

The newest hotspot to hangout: shops and restaurants in two restored colonial buildings connected by a glittering piazza.
A complex of colonial style buildings housing a host of outlets and facilities for shopping, dining and entertainment. It’s the latest prominent landmark in the city with outdoor sitting areas, promenades, fountains and flowerbeds while inside are 24 retail stores ranging from clothing to electronics. Both local and international brands are represented here, including Nike, Levis, Giordano, Samsung, TITAN, Parfumerie, Kookaburra, Stone ‘N’ String and Amante. Sri Lankan, Indian, Thai, Japanese and fast food restaurants are among the dining options and there is a Cineplex for 3D movie

House of Fashions

House of Fashions

A department store with a difference.
A fashion centre of Southeast Asia replete with fabulous fashion, spread out across 250,000 square feet is a veritable shoppers’ paradise comprising some of the most well-known brands of clothing for men, women and kids, household items, fashion accessories and loads of gift items for any occasion.
Seventeen escalators operate for ease of access for shoppers as well as a 350 car park for customer convenience.
The ground floor has a vast lobby, information centre and ample cashier counters. Cosmetics, perfumes, and jewellery will capture the attention of any discerning shopper as they enter the first floor whilst women will be kept busy on the second floor dedicated solely to women’s wear. The fourth floor has a range of men’s wear and accessories including shoes, belts, ties and casual, office and high-end wear. An entire floor of this mega store is dedicated to kids ranging from infants to teenagers. Clothes, toys and accessories. The home ware section comprises a huge array of items designed to enhance the bedroom and the elegance of bathrooms. 

Aviraté

Avirate

Meaning 'sensuality' in Sanskrit, Aviraté, Sri Lanka's pioneer high-street fashion label, embodies the essence of the stylish woman in its exotic range of every day and evening wear, gowns, lingerie, shoes and accessories. Having launched in June, 2010, during the IIFA Film Festival, of which it was the proud sponsor, Aviraté today is fast becoming a legend in the global fashion platform with major expansion plans in India and other Asian countries as well as the Middle East and Far East. In today's competitive global fashion market, Aviraté has managed to hold its own, with its exclusive designs being featured in prominent Indian fashion magazines such as Elle, Vogue and Femina. The immense success the brand has enjoyed is due to the high quality of the designs and reasonable pricing with mid-range as well as high-range choices.

Cotton Collection

Cotton Collection

With a slew of branches dotted across Colombo, Cotton Collection has quickly morphed to an eclectic fashion destination. Housing mostly local brands, the store itself can be described as a hybrid of bohemian chic and urban elegance. To a certain degree, Cotton Collection represents the very essence of Sri Lanka; laid-back, tropical and mysterious the stores offerings will tickle almost every consumer’s fancy. Ethnic skirts, quality leather loafers and crisp linen shirts are just a few of the items that Cotton Collection has in store. Cotton Collection has ample parking and, as an added bonus, the property is just adjacent to a delightful little strawberry desert parlour. 

Romafour

Romafour

Romafour has taken the local shopping scene by storm. With an impressive building located down Galle Road, Romafour is joyfully over the top. This fashion kingdom is comprised of four floors and caters to the entire family. Most of the clothes here are deliciously loud; sequins, glitter and bold colours makes Romafour truly different from the rest of Colombo’s shopping destinations. As such, the store is catered to largely young audience, but don't be fooled by its youthful appearance, Romafour has a wide selection of formal suits, evening gowns and other grown up attire. Prices are moderate for what you get and the staff is attentive fashion savvy. Take heed, parking can be a little tricky.

Mango

Mango

The elegant MANGO store features a range of women’s wear, from trendy casual wear and smart wear to glamourous evening wear. The single floor at street level has excellent visibility, ample access and parking facilities. The MANGO flagship store in Colombo has a range of accessories for the fashion tourists in town. MANGO epitomises style, convenience and versatility and is a must-stop for all ladies especially during the festive season.
The interior design of this store combines functionality with aesthetics, an ambience characterised by its rustic simplicity, combined with a minimalist make-up with the warmth of objects originating from nature. Brand MANGO is Spain’s second largest exporter of women’s fashion, that embraces a concept that is based on an alliance between a quality product in accordance with the latest fashion trends, at an affordable price. 


Spice Gardens and Spices in Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka is famous for its spices and spices gardens. These spice gardens offers tourists memorable visits to various spice plantations in Sri Lanka.
During early historical times Sri Lanka Known as Taprobane, was world renowned for its quality spices. During ancient times the Greeks, Romans and the Arabic maintained there links with Sri Lanka through the spice trade.
There are some 4,000 different species of plants at Peradeniya Gardens. The 10,000 or so trees, which are the stars, are mature, lofty giants, many of them tropical timber trees. Highlights of the collection include the Giant Bamboo of Burma, capable of growing to 40 meters’ height (130 feet), with a 25-centimetre (10-inch) stem diameter. And it can grow by a rapid 30 centimeters a day (12 inches).

Cinnamon (Kurundu)

Cinnamon

The Dutch started the cinnamon industry in Sri Lanka, and even today the island is the biggest producer of this, the most delicately scented of spices, which is used in curries and rice dishes.

Cardamom (Enasal)

Cardamom

Cardamom is an excellent in moderation to flavor curries, for sauces, and to give aroma to confectionary, especially wattalapam, atypical Malay egg pudding.

Lemon Grass (Sera)

Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass, as its name implies, has a strong taste and smell of lemon. The bulbous part of thr plant is used to flavor meat and fish dishes.

Pepper (Gam Miris)

pepper

This pungent berry, the earliest spices known to human kind, is used as a substitute for red-hot chilies. The world famous soup Mullingatawny (Tamil pepper water) is made from this spice.

Cloves (Karabu Nati)

Cloves

One of the best known of all spices, but also one of the most difficult to use because of their pungency, cloves are used in many types of curry and confectionery.

Coriander (Kottamalli)

Coriander

Coriander is a basic ingredient used daily in Sri Lanka to add flavors to curries. Normally only the seeds are used, which are usually roasted before being ground.

Turmeric (Kaha)

Turmeric

Turmeric, which is often confused with saffron, is used as a condiment in curries. A little turmeric and salt are all that is necessary to preserve fish and meat.

Fenugreek (Uluhal)

fenugreek

Fenugreek, which has a rather unpleasant scent and a bitter taste, is used to flavor and give the necessary binding or thickening effect to curries.

Sweet-cumin (Maduru)

Cumin

This is spice is used in the preparation of curry powder together with coriander and cumin, and also as flavoring for sweet dishes and alcoholic liqueurs.

Cummin (Suduru)

Cummin

Cummin, which has a remarkable pungent and aromatic flavor, is one of the ingredients of curry powder together with sweet-cummin and coriander.

Curry Leaves (Karapincha)

curry

Curry leaves are generally used fresh in most rice and curry dishes, giving a very distinctive flavor and fragrance.

Gamboge (Goraka)

Gamboge

Gamboge, usually ground with a little hot water, is used as a souring and thickening agent in white curries, fish and meat preparations, and certain vegetable curries.


Gems Of Sri Lanka

Gems

Sri Lanka’s gem industry has a very long and colorful history. Sri Lanka was affectionately known as Ratna-Dweepa which means Gem Island. The name is a reflection of its natural wealth. Marco Polo wrote that the island had the best sapphires, topazes, amethysts, and other gems in the world.Ptolemy, the 2nd century astronomer recorded that beryl and sapphire were the mainstay of Sri Lanka’s gem industry. Records from sailors that visited the island states that they brought back “jewels of Serendib”. Serendib was the ancient name given to the island by middle – eastern and Persian traders that crossed the Indian Ocean to trade gems from Sri Lanka to the East during the 4th and 5th century.
Sri Lanka, geologically speaking is an extremely old country. Ninety percent of the rocks of the island are of Precambrian age, 560 million to 2,400 million years ago. The gems form in sedimentary residual gem deposits, eluvial deposits, metamorphic deposits, skarn and calcium-rich rocks. Other gems are of magmatic origin.
Residual deposits are mainly found in flood plains of rivers and streams. The metamorphic types of gems constitute 90% of the gem deposits in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has the highest density of gem deposits compared to its landmass. Ratnapura contains the most gem deposits and derived its name from the gem industry. Ratnapura means “city of gems”.
The blue sapphires from Sri Lanka are known as Ceylon Sapphire. Ceylon Sapphires are reportedly unique in colour, clarity and lustre compared to the blue sapphires from other countries.