A cosmopolitan city that is teeming with life also holds within it an old-world charm. Kochi is many things all at once. With deep roots in history, this port city straddles modernity and tradition effortlessly. The city that once welcomed traders from across the globe also enchants travellers with its estuaries and backwaters. If you're looking to escape to this coastal town, here's a list of souvenirs you must get your hands on
Coconut and Coir Products When you're in the land of coconuts, it is a no-brainer that you'll carry home a piece of the state with you in the form of coconuts and coir products, which make up the largest cottage industry in Kerala. Pick up rugs, carpets, and mats made of coir souvenirs made of coconut husk make for great decorative pieces.
Kathakali Masks Distinguished by their elaborate and colourful make-up and stunning costumes that still pale in front of the abhinaya (expressions) and mudras (stylised sign language) of actors, Kathakali originated in Kerala over 300 years ago. While a Kathakali performance is a must on any traveller's itinerary, we recommend picking up Kathakali masks from local markets. The masks, painted in vivid hues, light up any space they are put in.
Kasavu Saree and Mundu The state's traditional attire, like saris and mundus (sarongs worn by men), are a big part of Kerala's iconography. Three saree handloom clusters from Kerala (Balaramapuram, Chendamangalam and Kuthampully) have been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, and all of them together make up the Kasavu saris, which refers to the white saree with a border (zari in gold).
Spices Kochi is a foodies' paradise. When you're here, stock up on banana chips, cashew nuts, spices, tea, and coffee from the various tea and coffee plantations that dot the state. While spices can be picked up from local markets, we suggest you buy sealed packets or get them sealed to ensure that their fragrance lasts longer. There are options galore Cinnamon, black pepper, vanilla, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric.
Sandalwood carvings Kerala is also famous for its sandalwood handicrafts, sourced from Marayoor and Thekkady in the Idukki district. Sandalwood, rosewood and teakwood are carved into various shapes by master artisans. From models of animals, wooden idols, small boxes and masks, Kerala's wooden artefacts are many. If you're inclined towards souvenirs in the form of jewellery, you can also pick up trinkets and cosmetics made from sandalwood from Kochi's local markets.
Important markets to head to when in Kochi include Ernakulam Market, MG Road and Marine Drive.
Air There are daily flights to Kochi International Airport from Delhi to Mumbai.
Train Kochi has two stations Ernakulam Junction (South Station) for long-distance trains and Ernakulam Town (North Station) for intercity trains.
Bus Several air-conditioned private buses ply every night from Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.