Kalutara has a plethora of historic and cultural sites to see, and apart from the views and visits, there are shopping opportunities too.
Of all the local markets and stores in Kalutara, the Kalutara Basket Centre is the most popular one. It is known for the collection of unique Sri Lankan souvenirs and handmade items it has. We highly recommend this market for those who love artsy items.
Handwoven baskets in every size and colour, this market are a heaven for those who love pretty things and organizing items for their homes. While shopping, you can also look at the native weavers at work, while their skilled fingers move like lightning; creating the magic that is the basket. These baskets are not just sold at the local markets, many weavers have their products exported and it gets sold all over the world. The stock is not limited to baskets. Handmade purses, hats, coasters, lampshades are available to buy.
How it is made
Centuries ago, palm fronds were used by Buddhist monks for Ola Leaf writing. However, the craftsmen at Kalutara seem to have found a whole different purpose for these leaves. The palm fronds, mainly ‘indikola’ and ‘Watakeiy’ goes through a lengthy process of bleaching, dying and drying to create the end products. When visiting the centre, you will be able to experience the entire process of the baskets being made.
The usual baskets are made with Watekiya Palm leaves (Pandanus kaida), coloured or normal, and some weavers also use coconut fiber to strengthen the baskets. Watching them at work is a fun thing to do, and you can even take a few photographs if that’s your style.
Out of the many places to visit in Kalutara, The Basket Centre would be one that adds colour to your journey! Located in the heart of Kalutara, this place is known for its handy work of weaving clolourful baskets of all shapes and sizes.
You will be able to see how the skilled local weavers transform palm fronds, watakeiya bushes and various other types of dried leaves into a number of products such as; bags, purses, hats and baskets. These woven items are exported around the world.
Visiting the basket centre will not only give you the opportunity to shop for these beautifully woven products but will also give you an understanding of one of the oldest crafts of Sri Lanka. Visitors also have the opportunity to purchase these products which will be a memorable gift to your loved ones back at home and also, in turn, contribute to the livelihood of these talented craftsmen.
Located right in the middle of the town, this is a colourful market that has baskets in every shade imaginable.