The Markets of Munnar – A Journey of its Culture and Cuisine
Every major tourist destination has its own shopping locations. These shopping locations are unique in their own way. Munnar too, has a few shopping locations where you can find some of the most exotic and traditional products. As a traveler, you must remember that Munnar is different from the more cosmopolitan shopping destinations. The markets of Munnar will offer you the local specialties that make Munnar a one of a kind shopping destination. Do not expect shopping complexes while looking for places to shop at Munnar. Whatever shopping you do at Munnar will take up very little of your time. If you want to spend your money and time wisely, you should be aware of what unique products to look for while shopping at Munnar. It goes without saying that the word ‘tea’ is synonymous with Munnar and it is one of the most commonly found item across all the markets in Munnar. In addition to tea, the markets of Munnar are also home to some of the finest homemade chocolates you can lay your hands on. Apart from this you may also indulge yourselves in shopping for some of the exotic spices and handicrafts that are unique to Munnar. Most of the markets or bazaars are privately owned, while you may manage to find a few government run shops here and there. The markets here mostly sell handicrafts and fresh food based or cultivated products.
The next time you visit Munnar be sure to check out these products and the best places in Munnar where you can find them:
As mentioned earlier, the words tea and Munnar go hand in hand. The Europeans brought tea to the lush green hills of Munnar because of its viable climate and immense commercial potential. Today the consumption of tea has become more of a necessity than a luxury in every household in India. Munnar with its numerous tea plantations has become a major player in the tea market. You can visit many of these plantations to get a first hand view of how tea is cultivated and processed. Whilst at these plantation factories you can also shop for the various varieties of tea they have to offer. Ranging from the most luxurious and exotic varieties to the most commonly consumed grades, these tea plantation factories are a tea connoisseur’s dream come true.
The next best alternative to tea, coffee cultivation too finds its place on the plantation map of Munnar. As a traveler you can also shop for some the finest, locally grown coffee at many of the shops in Munnar.
Kerala also popularly referred to a as the ‘spice coast’ by early European travelers, still holds true to the famous name even today. A region like Munnar is no different. Munnar is famous for its exotic spices. A large concentration of spice plantations exists in this region. Popular spices like cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla are found in almost every other shop across Munnar. You can shop for these spices among many others in Munnar. You can be rest assured about the high quality of these spices compared to the spices that are available for sale in the supermarkets in major towns and cities in India.
Herbal Aromatic Oils:
Though not as famous as tea, coffee or spices, the markets of Munnar also offer herbal aromatic oils such as eucalyptus oil. The eucalyptus tree is one that thrives in the climatic conditions of Munnar. The eucalyptus oil is one of the best aromatic oils and provides a variety of benefits.
Step into any small shop in Munnar, you would be amazed to find the different varieties of homemade chocolates that are on display. It is one item that is surely going to find its way into your shopping bag. Everything from dark chocolate to milk chocolate is available at these stores. Be sure to check out Abbas & Co. Tea Merchants located at 25 Bazaar, Munnar. They offer some of the most competitive prices for tea, green tea, coffee, cashews, homemade chocolates and spices.
Dyed Traditional Kerala Clothes:
A culturally rich and diverse state like Kerala has a lot to offer when it comes to traditional fashion. The traditional Kerala attire of set saree for women and mundu for men is quite a sight to behold. Usually worn during festivals, these traditional attires are available for sale at many of the handloom shops in Munnar. Fashion and culture aficionados can find a large variety of interesting attires and materials at Aranya Naturals. A natural dyeing unit, formed as a part of the Srishti Welfare Centre – a Tata initiative in Munnar. The idea behind its formation took birth in 1994, when the need to save the rich Indian craft of dyeing clothes naturally came into force. One can purchase saris, shirt materials, shawls and various other apparel at this centre. Designed using ethnic dyeing techniques and vibrant colors, these clothes are a testament to the heritage crafts like Batik, Tie and Dye, Shibori, Mordant Painting and Block Printing. These techniques are used to create meticulous designs on the fabric. Raw materials used for the coloring include catechu, lac, manjista, turmeric, eucalyptus and other natural ingredients.
Handmade Paper Greeting Cards:
You can encourage the local artistic talents by purchasing some handmade greeting cards that are made by some of the differently abled children. These children, who are mostly the children of the plantation workers, are uniquely gifted when it comes to making these one of a kind greeting cards. One can buy these cards from Tata Tea's Shristhi Welfare Centre. The proceeds from the sale of these cards go towards the welfare and education of children and make for a memorable souvenir as well.
You can indulge in some local handicraft shopping at one of the many roadside shacks that sell these items. Some of the more famous handicraft shops in Munnar are Johnson`s Wood Craft workshop at Kunjithanni and Deeja Gift House at Misha Junction Munnar.
The next time you visit Munnar, be sure to check out some of these markets and try a few of these special products. We remind you not to seek anything opulent or luxurious, because you will be disappointed. But if you are looking to find out moiré about the local culture, lifestyle and cuisines, the markets of Munnar will never disappoint you.