"Shopping in Trivandrum" was last updated on Feb 01, 2014
All information below is subject to change
Looking for shops in Trivandrum?
You'll find an array of shops along MG Road, anything from branded clothes, jewelry, watches to cameras.
There are a few markets in the city, but they're incomparable to markets in Delhi and Mumbai. The markets in Trivandrum are crowded, but smaller.
Me and my former class mates from development studies probably spent one week in total in Trivandrum, in connection with our field work.
So we had a lot of time to explore the shopping opportunities in the city.
Hope you find something you like! :-)
The first thing we did when me and my former class mates arrived in Trivandrum was to shop local clothing.
Our teacher had been to Kerala several times. There's this one shop she always takes her students to, where you can buy local clothes, like churidars.
That shop was Maharaja Textiles.
At this grand shop you'll find a large variety of churidars (pants) and kameez (top/tunic), from basic to exclusive looking. There were no other tourists there, only us. We were surrounded by mostly locals.
When I say churidars, I also mean the kameez (it's much more simpler that way :P). Most shops sell churidars and kameez together like a pair.
The cheapest churidars I saw at Maharaja started from Rs 495. You can get cheaper than this, but they were not the most appealing to me.
CLICK ON ONE OF THE PICTURES TO START THE PHOTO GALLERY!
The finest churidars cost between Rs 800-2000. The churidars we bought had a price range between Rs 695-1000. They're casual, but still nice. They're not screaming 'wedding' or 'colorful hippie'!
I paid Rs 2800 for four churidars.
How does it work?
You stand behind a bench and point out the churidars you want to try on, based on preferred colors and patterns. Three staff ladies are standing between you and the clothing. You point, they pull it out of the pile. It's complicated, I know.
It would be a lot more effective if we could just pick them out ourselves. And it's hard to see the actual patterns before they're laid out on the table. I think I asked them to take out 6-7 pieces before there was ONE I could imagine to buy. My class mates were pointing out around 10.
Well well, that's the system in Indian stores.
You can of course try them before you do the purchase. There are two or three small fitting rooms at the back of the store.
When you've chosen the right churidar for you, another employee (usually male) will pick up the churidar and follow you to a counter on the next corner. Here a couple of guys write out a receipt for you, then ask you to proceed to the next counter to pay (which is right across the receipt counter).
After you've paid, another male will pick up your purchase and follow you to the delivery counter located next to the entrance. Here the purchase will be wrapped in a plastic bag and the receipt stapled to it.
You can definitely say that there's a 'bureaucracy' system when you're at large shops in India. I guess they have to employ as many people as they can, due to the high-speed population escalation in the country. 'Everyone has to do something'. It's good, but frankly they also make it a lot harder for the customer.
If you wish, you can add sleeves to the churidar. Most of the churidars they showed us were sleeveless. It's totally free to do this, and only takes 5 minutes.
Something to remember:
Remember to check if there's a rope for the waistband. Many of the pants are HUGE! Even better, ask them to put the rope into the pocket waistband so you don't need to do it yourself. The pants they sell look like Aladdin pants or traditional fisherman pants.
It's also recommended to buy churidar of cotton because cotton breathes better than say, silk. When you're traveling in South Indian humidity, that's not a bad idea at all.
Where: MG Road
Parthas is more of a tourist's shopping place. It's an AC-mall filled with clothes for women and men, and also material for sarees. There are even security guards standing by the entrance. The mall is divided into five levels.
There's a separate department for XL-people, and a separate section for churidars.
They have tunicas, jeans, tights, separate Aladdin pants, ordinary dresses and much more. They have a a larger variety than at Maharaja.
You'll find clothes that are more suited to tourist taste. This is where I bought my tights. While we were in Trivandrum, I observed that many local women wear tights instead of the large Aladdin pants to their churidar. It's more flattering! ;-)
So I bought several ones in black, beige, white, dark purple and dark red, between Rs 225-385 each. The price depends on the material. These tights are excellent because you can also use them in your home country.
Churidars at Parthas range from Rs 495. I don't think I saw any churidars cheaper than this.
The power went off a couple of times while we were trying out clothes. It was creepy, so a flashlight is a good idea.
The purchase system is as complicated as at Maharaja Center; you choose the clothes from a one-meter distance, and there's the same 'bureaucratic' shipping system.
You pay on the 2nd floor, then you have to go downstairs to ground floor to pick up your clothes. They will ship your clothing in a special 'elevator'.
On the ground floor, you stand in a line, give the receipt and they will hand out your purchase.
Where: Power House Road, close to East Fort. From Manjalikulam road, we paid Rs 20 for a rickshaw to Parthas.
Chalai Bazaar is a wholesale market in East Fort. It's crowded, that's for sure.
A good place to stroll around and observe the local life that goes around in the small shops. We only went window shopping here, and found items of coir and brass, and loads of other handicrafts. Coir is an important source of income in Kerala, and they make beautiful baskets out of it.
Other stuff you'll find are incenses, spices and flowers.
Where: East Fort
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