Munnar is primarily a hill station. Therefore, there is very little in terms of shopping in Munnar. It is a preferred destination for people who want to relax and escape the dreariness of city life. However, some of the best shopping places in Munnar are actually street shops. There are no high-rise shopping complexes, with the local markets, sell mostly fresh food and other intrinsically local items.There are, however, quite a few shops that sell some of the best local handicrafts, which can be gifted as souvenirs to family and friends.
1. Street Shopping in Munnar Done Right
Munnar is renowned for its many tea and spices plantations. If you are looking to take back something from your visit here, you can buy different varieties of spices, homemade chocolates as well as different varieties of tea. Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and pepper packed in small pouches are also readily available.
2. The price is right- Abbas & Co. Tea Merchants
If you are looking for the best shopping places in Munnar for tea or coffee, Abbas & Co. Tea Merchants should be your go-to place. While they are wholesalers, they also make an exception and sell to visitors. You can expect to get a good price for tea, coffee, green tea, cashew nuts, home-made chocolates, spices, aloe vera gel. All of this on a budget, ensuring it doesn’t set you back by much financially.
3. Local flavour
Shopping in Munnar can be quite a fascinating expedition. The hill station comes alive when you traverse its roads in search of things of local interest. A majority of the bazaars here are privately owned, but there are a number of government-owned shops as well. You can sample the luscious strawberries here, which Munnar produces locally. Therefore, for the best street shopping in Munnar, visit the local markets. However, ensure you brush up on your bargaining skills to avoid being charged exorbitant rates. Strolling through the hill station’s bustling bazaar will give you the opportunity to see a bevvy of colourful fruit and vegetables displayed alongside plastic toys and rice. The market is pitched at locals as opposed to tourists. However, it is a nice place to wander around.
4. Supporting a cause at Aranya Naturals
Physically-challenged children at Aranya Naturals, a welfare project aided by the Tata Tea company, make use of natural dyes and traditional techniques to create colourful, bold fabrics. You can browse through their batik and block-printed designs at the Srishti Sales Outlet. You can also find photo frames, greeting cards made with paper from eucalyptus trees as well as lemongrass plants.
If the shopping does not end… Coir and metalware and handmade soaps are also some of the things that people buy here, especially when they are out on a shopping spree. It is also possible for you to buy affordable and quality local handicrafts to take home as a souvenir. Some of the well-known shops in the hill station that sells these items include Deeja Gift House, Misha Jn and Johnson’s Wood Craft shop, among others.
Apart from scouring the best shopping places in the city, here are some of the items you must buy from Munnar:
5. Sink your teeth in cashews
While the Portuguese may have brought spices to India, especially Kerala, they also introduced a lot of other items from South America, including cashews (Anacardium occidentale) from Brazil. While the cashew Feni may be a popular drink in Goa, cashews are popular in Munnar. Here’s a quick tip when purchasing cashews: opt for the split nuts that break during processing. These cost less and taste as good. Also, you may want to examine the nut before purchasing it. If it comes with a comma or semi-colon shape, buy it! Shopping markets in Munnar will definitely have a good stock of cashews.
6. Something’s brewing
If you are not a tea drinker, no worry; there’s always coffee. Munnar grows some of the finest coffee in the world. No trip to the south is complete without sipping on hot coffee in a steel tumbler. Here’s a tip when buying coffee in Munnar: Opt for the variety because as it is something you won’t find anywhere else. Also, try and buy the coffee as close to the source of the plantation.
7. Going bananas over chips!
Who doesn’t like the crispy texture of banana chips? In fact, it goes well with a nice cup of tea or coffee. Banana could probably be the second most popular plant the state, and it is popular in Munnar as well. Always ask if the banana chips are fresh. Also, you might want to ask the locals where they get their chips from. Never settle for stale chips. The fresh variety comes with a better bite.
All the spices Munnar is famous for has another use. They are used to make aromatic oils. Do you know what the benefits are of using this oil? They can be used for the treatment of a number of ailments — – ranging from Asthma to chronic dermatitis, migraines and joint and back pain. However, it should be noted that not all shopping markets in Munnar will have these oils.You need to ask the locals to point you in the right direction.
8. Gooey delight at Pristine Chocolate Store
As stated earlier, Munnar is famous for its handmade chocolates. Want to know where to get them? Head over to Pristine Chocolate Store for your fix. The shop is run by a group of farmers and offers a wide variety of delicious and yummy homemade chocolates. The chocolates on display in the store are made from fresh ingredients that are mainly grown in the farms in Munnar.You should definitely taste the milk and cashew varieties. Do you know what else? They also offer discounts on their products every once in a while.
The ideal time to visit, and shop, in Munnar is during October and November. Being the peak tourist months, shops usually stock up on new and fresh products.