A Guide to Local Handicrafts and Souvenirs in Kodaikanal
Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experiencedLeo Tolstoy
Kodaikanal, known as the ” Princess of Hill Stations ” is a popular tourist destination located in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The hill station is famous for its natural beauty, including waterfalls, lush green forests, and stunning viewpoints.
Besides being a natural paradise, Kodaikanal is also famous for its unique handicrafts. Handicrafts in Kodaikanal are an essential aspect of the local culture and a source of livelihood for many communities which offers a range of unique and traditional souvenirs for tourists to take home.
Types of Handicrafts
One of the best ways to remember your visit to Kodaikanal is by bringing back a piece of the region’s local culture through souvenirs. Here are some of the most popular handicrafts to bring back from Kodaikanal :
1. Hand-Woven Fabrics
The handloom industry in Kodaikanal produces a range of fabrics, including sarees, shawls, and dhotis. The hand-woven fabrics are made using traditional techniques, and you can see weavers working on their looms in the villages around Kodaikanal. The fabrics are often adorned with intricate designs, and the colors are inspired by the natural beauty of the region.
2. Handmade Accessories
Another popular handicraft in Kodaikanal is handmade accessories such as beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. These items are often made using locally sourced materials such as beads, shells, and stones and are a great way to add a touch of Kodaikanal to your wardrobe.
3. Home Decor
Kodaikanal is renowned for its beautifully crafted home decor handicrafts. The craftsmen of the region specialize in carving intricate designs on wooden artifacts such as idols, showpieces, and kitchenware. You can also find wooden toys, walking sticks, and furniture. including wooden furniture, hand-woven carpets, and colorful pottery. These items are often made using locally sourced materials such as teakwood and clay and are perfect for adding a touch of Kodaikanal to your home.
Kodaikanal is famous for its unique spices, which are a popular souvenir among tourists. Locals harvest and dry spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, which are then packaged and sold in attractive containers. These spices not only add a unique flavor to your food but also make for a great gift for friends and family back home.
5. Handmade Paper Products
Kodaikanal is also known for its handmade paper products such as notebooks, journals, and greeting cards. These items are made using locally sourced raw materials, such as cotton pulp, and are often adorned with unique designs that reflect the cultural heritage of the region.
6. Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Products
Kodaikanal is also known for its essential oils and aromatherapy products. You can find a variety of oils like eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree, as well as other aromatherapy products like candles and diffusers.
1. Potter’s shed
Potter’s Shed is a workshop and store run by a local potter in Kodaikanal. The potter creates a variety of handmade pottery items such as cups, plates, bowls, vases, and decorative items.
The workshop also offers visitors the opportunity to learn about pottery making and try their hand at creating their own pottery. Many people also take pottery-making classes or workshops here, which can range from a few hours to several days.
Kodai Chocolate Factory is a family-owned chocolate factory in Kodaikanal, producing a range of chocolates using high-quality cocoa sourced from nearby farms.
Visitors can take a guided tour, sample chocolates, and purchase them at the on-site store. Chocolates come in various flavors, and the factory has a café where visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and other chocolate-based treats.
3. Kodai Cheese
Kodai Cheese is a small dairy farm and cheese-making facility. The farm produces a range of cheeses, including gouda, cheddar, and camembert, using locally sourced milk.
Visitors can take a tour of the facility, learn about the cheese-making process, and sample the cheeses. The farm also has a store where visitors can purchase cheeses and other dairy products.
4. Shalimar Weaves
Shalimar Weaves is one stop place to buy beautiful and intricate saris, shawls, lungis, kurtas, Mundus and other traditional clothing. These items are often made from high-quality fabrics such as silk, cotton, and linen and are adorned with unique designs that reflect the cultural heritage of the region.
Kodaikanal has a rich tradition of textile making and is known for its vibrant and colorful clothing. Visitors to the town can experience this unique culture by trying on traditional garments.
5. Spices Corner
A wholesale manufacturer and supplier store of all types of Indian spices. Kodaikanal is known for its unique spices, which are a popular souvenir among tourists. Locals harvest and dry spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, which are then packaged and sold in attractive containers. These spices not only add a unique flavor to your food but also make for a great gift for friends and family back home.
6. Kurinji Mini bazaar
Kurinji Mini Bazaar is a popular shopping destination located in Kodaikanal. Kurinji Mini Bazaar is a great place to shop for unique and traditional handicrafts. The bazaar is known for its wide range of local handicrafts and souvenirs, including handmade shawls, pottery, jewelry, and spices.
Tips for collecting and preserving handicrafts
Kodaikanal is a treasure trove for collectors. However, collecting and preserving these precious handicraft items can be a challenge.
1. Proper Storage
Store your handicrafts in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Exposure to sunlight can cause fading and discoloration, while moisture can cause mold and mildew. Keep your items in a cabinet or shelf where they will not be knocked over or damaged.
Transporting your handicrafts and souvenirs from Kodaikanal can be tricky, but there are a few things you can do to protect them. Wrap fragile items in bubble wrap or tissue paper and place them in a sturdy box. If you are traveling by air, carry your items with you as carry-on luggage, rather than checking them in. This will ensure that they are not damaged during transportation.
Cleaning your handicrafts and souvenirs is important, but it is important to do it properly. Use a soft, dry cloth to gently wipe your items, and avoid using harsh chemicals or water. If your items are heavily soiled, take them to a professional cleaner who specializes in cleaning handicrafts and textiles.
Displaying your handicrafts and souvenirs properly can add to their beauty and value. Consider placing them in a well-lit area where they can be seen and appreciated. You can also use them to add a touch of cultural authenticity to your home decor.
Positive Impacts of Buying Products From Local Artisans
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of supporting local artisans and buying their products.
1. Local Economy
When you buy products from local artisans, you are helping to create jobs and supporting the local economy. This is because most local artisans in Kodaikanal are small business owners who rely on their sales to make a living.
2. Preserving Traditional arts and culture
Many of the handicrafts found in Kodaikanal have been passed down from generation to generation, and buying these products helps to ensure that these traditions are not lost.
These handicrafts are a reflection of the cultural heritage of the region, and preserving them is a way to honor and respect the local culture.
3. Sustainable and Ethical choice
Many local artisans in Kodaikanal use eco-friendly and sustainable handicraft materials in their crafts, which helps to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing. Additionally, buying from local artisans ensures that they are paid fairly for their work, which is important for promoting ethical business practices.
4. Support individual creativity and talent
Kodaikanal is home to many talented artisans who create beautiful, unique, and high-quality products. By buying their products, you are supporting their individual creativity and talent, which helps to promote a diverse and vibrant creative community.
Kodaikanal offers a range of unique and traditional handicrafts and souvenirs for tourists to take home. From wooden crafts and hand-woven fabrics to pottery and jewelry, there is something for everyone. Make sure to visit the local markets and shops to explore the region’s rich handicraft culture, and bring a piece of Kodaikanal home with you.