SUNDAY MAGAZINE

Shopping? Serendip beckons

LEISURE

KANCHANA BANERJEE

WELL STOCKED: Most outlets have everything you want.

WELL STOCKED: Most outlets have everything you want.  

Most outlets have everything you want.

THE island country of Sri Lanka has amazing surprises in store for you, making going shopping to Dubai, Singapore or Hong Kong pass�. Colombo is the place you should come to if shopping is a priority on your holiday itinerary. Not too far and certainly not too expensive a flight from India. The thing to remember when packing your bags is to take the biggest you can imagine, and making sure you carry them empty.

If clothes, accessories and shoes are what you like splurging on, then Colombo has more options than you can possibly handle. There are clothes in sizes `L' and `XL'. But if you're slim and trim, then you can have a blast. The not-to-be missed shopping shrines for clothes, accessories and shoes are "Odel", "Mondy", "Arena" and "Cotton Collection".

"Odel Unlimited", one of Colombo's most successful entrepreneurial ventures, gives every shopper the total shopping experience. Housed in a huge split level mansion in prime area in Colombo, it is where you can find clothes for the family, cosmetics, home ware, kitchenware, books, local craft and much more. The sushi bar, the wine lounge and the caf� are places to unwind after a round of hectic shopping. Not to be missed is the section where you can buy beauty packs."Mondy" and "Arena" are more exclusive and expensive, but if you compare the prices with what they actually cost in the West, it's a steal. These two outlets are well stocked with international labels of repute. Don't forget to check out the footwear too — shoes, slip-ons, sandals and boots. "Cotton Collection", "Disaj" and "French Corner" are also some of the places worth a visit.

The thing about shopping in Colombo is that you may be disappointed in some shops. This is the land of export rejects and clothes come in lots from manufacturing units.

Do you want to splurge on costume jewellery? Though many of the outlets have stuff that is made in India, in places like "Stone `n' Strings", you might strike gold. Again "Mondy" and "Odel" have a good collection of tribal jewellery and junk stuff that looks adorable with anything. Your shopping is incomplete unless you pick up luggage, scarves, and costume jewellery from Colombo. Try "House of Fashions" (an otherwise disappointing place) for this.

Reddha

SUCCESSFUL: Odel.

SUCCESSFUL: Odel.  

Odel.

Places you can't miss are: "Barefoot", "Paradise Road Gallery", "Hermitage" and "Suriya". Pick up candles, artefacts, collectibles, cutlery, paintings, statues, linen, tableware and bed spreads. Go beserk seeing the range and the prices at which they are available.

"Barefoot", a fascinating space (you can't call it a shop) with its range of durries, spreads, cushions, sarongs and innumerable knick-knacks will mesmerise you. It is the dream child of Barbara Sansoni, a Dutch lady who dedicated her life to uplift local craft and encourage craftsmen. The Reddha, or simply the piece of cloth as it is called, has been revolutionised and reintroduced as a style item by Barbara and her team. Hang it on your window and watch the sun filter through casting a magical world of colours in your room; or throw it on a low sit-down arrangement or table or wear it like a sarong.

Yet another shopper's delight is the "Paradise Road Gallery". For home d�cor, Sri Lanka is the place to shop for candles, if lighting aromatic wonders is your kind of style. And it's tableware, linen, cutlery and collectibles galore. There are even cinnamon and clove candles.

"Suriya" and "Hermitage" are also wonderful places for collectibles. Many foreigners carry back humungous boxes of antique artefacts from these shops. But no shopping spree is complete without splurging on gorgeous dinner plates.

The famous Dankotawa and Noritake (Japanese brands) are manufactured in Sri Lanka; stylish and magnificent at an unbelievable price.

But don't just get in and out of stores. There are countless natural wonders too awaiting to be explored.

Anyway, happy shopping!

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