iShop Main Street

Shop for saris and sequins in Pettah's nerve centre

“Main Street is a smorgasbord of colours, smells and sounds assault your senses at the same time”

Pettah's central artery

Main Street likely to momentarily jolt you out of your head as you first confront it. When you adjust to the smells and sounds, you begin to notice some order to the chaos. Pettah is organised like a grid and as the name suggests, Main Street is its central artery. In the parallel streets you find specialised shops in anything from dried fish, travel bags, fruits and sweets to electronics, kitchen appliances, watches and hardware.

Street stories

Watch the natamis joke around as they go about their daily business, lugging their heavy carts and loads. The facades facing the roads are chock-full of signboards - at times creatively misspelt. Interspersed within the crowded business establishments, one can spot innumerable cultural and historical relics, telling a story about the character and past of Pettah. The traders here are always open for a chat with travellers. Stop by for random words as you sip your king coconut to ward off the heat.

What to buy

This is where Colombo ladies go shopping for parties and weddings. Main Street is most popular for beautiful silk saris, glittery ribbons, sequins and other stunning textiles. We like Ram Bros at #140 featuring three storeys of saris in dazzling colours and embroidered textures and Sequins at 167A for an unbeatable collection of lace, feathers, trims, beads and bling; a one-stop-shop for do-it-yourself fashionistas. Titus at #98 is also worth a visit. This shop for quality glass, crystal, cutlery and cookware is a real household name in Colombo that’s been in the same family since 1924.

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