Bangalore gets all kinds of travelers – business travelers, heritage travelers, friends and family of the old and new residents. I am sure everyone is looking for Bangalore Souvenirs to take back with them. It is not easy to find quintessentially local souvenirs in a city dominated by all things new age. While you can pick up the startup air, the youthful energy or the old-world charm the garden city, for tangible souvenirs read on our recommendations.
Souvenirs Shopping in Bangalore
There are several options for shopping like Sandalwood products, wooden handicrafts, Chennapatna toys & puzzles, spices and traditional gifts like local sweets.
Sandalwood Souvenirs from Bangalore
Bangalore, before it became the IT hub of India, was garden city close to Sandalwood forests where Veerappan lived. Sandalwood was its most famous export closely contested by Mysore Silk Saris. Now, you get a whole lot of things in Sandalwood that you can pick up. We have tried to put a list of popular sandalwood souvenirs you can buy in Bangalore to suit all kinds of budgets.
Sandalwood Incense Sticks
This is the easiest and simplest of the souvenirs to pick. You literally pick the essence of Sandalwood for the family and friends. Most Indian homes use them for aromatic purposes in their homes while a lot of people use them for our daily worship too. No matter what the purpose, this is easy to pick a souvenir. You get packets of anywhere from 50 to 300 sticks.
If I could afford them, I would have the scented sandalwood idols all over my home and the homes I frequently visit. You can get idols of all sizes, of all possible Indian deities in Sandalwood. The small ones are affordable for a lot of people. Let me put it this way – if I could save money to buy one souvenir – it would be for the large Sandalwood image of my favorite deity.
The Sandalwood garlands are commonly offered to guests at events in the state. I think they are better than flower garlands that you have to throw in a day or two. People offer them to deities or ancestors at homes. I think this is very unique as well as an affordable Sandalwood gift.
Piece of Sandalwood
You can buy a small block of Sandalwood piece. You might have seen it in temples, where they sprinkle some water on it and rub it on a rough stone platform to make Chandan for Tilak. It is a great sandalwood souvenir for those who use Chandan in their daily worship.
Sandalwood Mala or Rosary
A string made of sandalwood beads can be worn as an eco-fashion statement. Sandalwood bead rosary or mala made of both white Chandan and red Chandan are also used for chanting. Easy to carry and multipurpose souvenir.
Sandalwood’s best-known quality is its aroma, so what better way to carry it than carry its extract as oil. Use it for aromatherapy or use it by mixing with other oils.
I remember the first time I visited Bangalore, I came back with sachets of Sandalwood powder to keep in my cupboards. Just leave them in between your clothes, and they get this mildest hint of sandalwood in them. This is the most economical sandalwood souvenir that you can pick up.
Who has not heard of Mysore Sandal Soap! Even during my childhood days, we used to get those big sound cakes of soap called Mysore Sandal. I know you can get them in your neighborhood stores now, but what fun it is to get them from the place they were born more than 100 years ago and today boasts of a GI or Geographical Indicator tag.
Sari Shopping in Bangalore
Mysore Silk Sari
Mysore Silk Saris are the favorite forms of Saris, especially for South Indian women. It is a fine variety of silk that comes in traditional as well as contemporary designs. Like Mysore Sandal Soap, Mysore Silk Sari production was also started by the Maharaja of Mysore.
Kasuti Saris of Dharwad
Kasuti is an embroidery style with straight line and zig zag crosses. It is done by hand primarily by women from their homes. The art of Kasuti goes back to Chalukyan days and I am told this was counted among the 64 art forms artisans should know. It is now practiced in and around Dharwad in Karnataka but these Saris are readily available in the city too. If you are lucky and if you can afford it, you can find stories woven on the Kasuto Saris.
Handwoven Saris with silk and cotton from Ilkal with their exquisite borders and geometric patterns are very popular with Kannadiga women. These Saris are simple and worn a lot for everyday use.
Chennapatna Wooden Toys
For kids, the best gifts to buy are Chennapatna toys. You can find them in most traditional fairs around the country. However, for the best collection, you can either visit the village of Chennapatna that is not too far from the city or in the city itself. While there small souvenirs like a keychain, bigger ones like musical instruments and many utility items like pen stands, etc, my favorite one are multi-colored puzzles. They are the next versions of Rubicube & they come in multiple shapes.
Rosewood inlay work paintings
Karnataka is blessed ample woods. No wonder that the majority of souvenirs have a wooden element in them. Wood carved paintings that create beautiful scenes just with the different shades of wood are wonderful. Most of the times they have religious themes and natural landscapes. I still remember a lifelike tiger carved out of wood that almost felt it was leaping out of the painting.
You may buy Rosewood inlay paintings like this Rosewood Painting with a wooden frame – Saraswati on Amazon India check out some of these.
Wooden Handicrafts of Mysore
Bangalore Souvenirs for the Foodies
Foodies are easy to please. In India, you can always find something unique in any place.
Your Bangalore trip is not complete without tasting the Mysore Pak – the ghee soaked sweet that just melts in your mouth. I buy it even if I am passing by the city. Incidentally, I have a childhood memory of Mysore Pak, way before I ever thought of visiting the city, leave apart living there. My grandmother used to make Mysore Pak in Punjab – yes, she learned the recipe during her travels in the South.
The best place to buy Mysore Pak used to be Anand Sweet’s outlets, I assume it would not have changed.
Coorg is called the coffee bowl of India. No wonder India’s very own coffee chain – Café Coffee day comes from Karnataka. Do I even need to tell you to buy coffee powder right where it is produced and traded? Go for Robusta or Arabia.
Read More – Best Coorg Souvenirs to Buy
Spices & South Indian Masalas
If there was a real culprit for which colonizers came to India, it had to be the spices of Southern India especially the western Coast. The state has a long coastline and it produces many spices including the prized black pepper. Take your pick from Cardamom, Arecanut, Black Pepper or peppercorns, nutmeg, Turmeric, dried ginger, mace, cumin, cloves, bay leaves.
Not just spices, ready to use spice mixes like Vangi Bhath Masala or Bisi Bele Bhath are also great picks as Bangalore Souvenirs.
Masala producers MTR remain an all-time favorite with Kannadigas living in the state or outside it.
Read More – Eating your heart out at MTR
Masala Cashew Nuts
Cashew nuts are a major product of the state. Though you can pick up any kinds you like but my favorite are the Masala Cashew nuts that are fried like fritters with a coating of gram flour.
I had written a long post on the history of Dharwad Peda and how it landed from UP heartland to Dharwad. Read that and never forget to pick a packet of this favorite sweet of Karnataka anytime you set foot in the state.
Cardamom Garlands or Elakai Malai
Cardamom garlands are traditionally offered to Hayagreeva avatar of Vishnu. However, people also use it as a gift for birthdays, weddings, and other auspicious occasions. Town of Haveri in Karnataka is where the making of cardamom garlands flourishes. You do get these at Kaveri Emporium.
Bidri work is exquisite metalwork with silver or copper design made on the black background. They get their name from the town of Bidar in Northern Karnataka. You can find this art form & artifacts more frequently in Hyderabad as the city is closer to Bidar. Technically, Bidri work belongs to Bidar.
Read More – Art of Making Bidri work
I am sure this video will make you look for Bidri work. Check out some options online.
Which of these souvenirs would you pick up?