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Cochin has four main markets. They are in Ernakulam, Kaloor, Thevara and Kadavanthara. The main shopping stores are on MG Road on the mainland, including emporia and private showrooms. There's the huge GCDA (Greater Cochin Development Authority) shopping complex and the Pioneer Towers shopping centre on Marine Drive, which should be explored at leisure. Quite close to the Pioneer Towers are a cluster of little, makeshift shops where you can get anything from clothes to electronic goods. Aggressive bargaining is recommended as the shop owners themselves fix the prices.

antique shop

The Esplanade shopping complex, which houses international brands like Nike, Reebok, Adidas and Lacoste along with premium Indian clothing brands, a bowling alley and pool parlour, Baskin-Robbins ice-cream joint and Dominos Pizza under one roof is located nearby. Shops are generally closed on Sundays. They open at 10 am and close by around 8 pm.


Cochin is a great place to shop for typical Kerala handicrafts. Ornaments made of coconut shells or bamboo cane, rosewood elephantsminiature models of snake-boats, intricate wood carvings and the brass lamps that can come up to waist level or higher make terrific buys. Cochin's antique market, particularly the Jew Town in Fort-Kochi has some good finds. There are several good shops clustered on the small lanes in Fort-Kochi and Mattancherry where one can find an abundance of exquisite items made during the century, which make affordable and extremely worthwhile purchases. Look especially for unusual bronze pieces and unique decorative items, such as the traditional, intricate old locks (manichitrathazhu), jewel boxes and betel boxes. Coir mats and carpets are cheapest in Cochin than perhaps anywhere else except probably Alleppey (Alapuzha). A trip to Gundu Island to watch the entire process of coir processing, starting from coconut husk fibre, will be of interest. You can also select and buy mats and carpets in brightly coloured designs. Handicrafts made from metal are also of interest, especially Kerala's famous polished metal mirrors or Aranmula kannadi. Items worth taking home include rosewood artefacts, coir floor coverings and tablemats, old dowry boxes from Travancore, gold jewellery exclusive to southern India, cotton saris, traditional khadi (handspun and handwoven) attire and antiques from Jewtown. Kerala has aromatic spices and exotic cashews; and its salty snacks like jackfruit chips and banana chips are great to take home.

aranmula kannadi



Government Emporium, Kerala State Handicraft Apex Society, MG Road 
Kerala State Handicrafts Development Corporation (Kairali), MG Road - This is run by the Government and has a fair collection of Kerala handicrafts and curios
Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, MG Road
Cochin Gallery, CC 6/116, Jew Town Road - Offers various collectibles
Spices Board, NH Bye Pass, Kochi 
Indian Arts and Curios - This is one of the oldest and most reliable shops if you are searching for genuine antiques
Surabi, MG Road - Run by the State’s Handicrafts Co-Operative Society
Coir Board showroom, Mullassery Canal Road


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