Traditional Industrial Experiences in Sri Lanka

Engulf in the creativity and craftsmanship of Sri Lanka by exploring the industries that are built upon the skills passed down from generation to generation over decades or centuries. Enriched by cultural heritage, inspired by nature, and produced with the use of domestically available raw materials by skillful local craftsmen, Sri Lanka is home to many traditional industries.
While keeping the essence intact, these traditional industries have now evolved into many micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

These often undervalued and overlooked industries contribute to both the economy as well as to preserving the traditions, culture, and craftsmanship. So, if you are up for taking a stroll in a village to explore, learn, and try your hand at these crafts while enjoying a cup of Ceylon tea, you are in for a truly authentic Sri Lankan experience!


Did you always want to take a pottery lesson but never got around to doing it? Then, here’s your chance to try your hand at this traditional form of craftsmanship under the guidance of local men and women, whose way of making a living has been pottery for generations.

A small wheel is rotated by one hand while the other hand is used to shape up the clay, this certainly is not an easy task. However, the skillful men and women will make this process look easy-peasy while wearing a warm smile on their faces.
With a history dating back to the beginning of the Aryan Sinhalese civilization, pottery is one of the most ancient lines of traditional craftsmanship in Sri Lanka.


Inspired by the bright sunny colors of Sri Lanka, handloom is a weaving/textile craft, used for the production of everything from saris, curtains, cushion covers, bed linen, to bags. Even though this was exclusively reserved for royalty in ancient Sri Lanka, it is now a popular industry all across the island. Keeping the traditional weaving techniques and patterns alive, female craftsmen of Sri Lanka have been taking the lead with their graceful handling since ancient days. This is a fascinating process to watch, as well as to try out while you are on the island. You can even treat yourself to one of the bright beautifully made traditional handloom saris while you are at it.

Beeralu Lace

Adapted from the Portuguese and Dutch culture, Sri Lankan women have developed "Beeralu" into an expanded industry of lace-making. Creating complex yet beautiful lace patterns with “Beeralu” is a rare but marvelous sight to witness. "Beeralu" lace pieces are attached to dresses, curtains, covers, table cloths, etc to enhance their beauty and value. Largely popular in towns on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.


Cane furniture is something you will find in almost every Sri Lankan household. One of the most commercialized traditional industries, where Cane stalks are bent and coiled to build different types of furniture such as tables, chairs, shelves, baskets, etc. While cane products are available all over the island, it is primarily produced by conventional craftsmen in Weweldeniya, Bible, and Pollonnaruwa.


No, we are not talking about protective masks, but rather wooden masks. Inspired by the deep-rooted heritage of Sri Lanka, and directly linked to the folklores, the uniquely beautiful devil face (Yakksha) wooden masks are still used in traditional dances and conventional healing rituals. These masks, painted in bright colors and authentic patterns, are even hung in some households to protect them from evil eyes and as wall decor. If you happen to walk down the streets of "Ambalangoda" on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, you will come across many roadside shops selling these wooden "Yakksha" masks, and they are probably one of the most Sri Lankan souvenirs you could take back with you.

Aside from these popular types of traditional industries, Sri Lanka is also known for industries such as brassware, wood carvings, Lacquerware, batik, and jewelry. Some of the best places to learn and experience Sri Lankan craftsmanship in all its glory are, “Sigiriya Craft Village” and “JanakalaKendraya” in Colombo.
Exploring the local industries will give you a closer feel into the simple, eco-friendly, and sustainable Sri Lankan livelihood, leaving you charmed!