Everything else.. A Guide to Navigating Pettah

A Guide to Navigating Pettah

2019 Nov 29

A Guide to Navigating Pettah

Pettah is one of those places that is almost legendary. Everyone knows about it, a few actually go there regularly and even less know exactly what’s going on. The Pettah Market consists of a series of narrow winding roads filled to the brim with shops and people and is essentially a bazaar.

Being Sri Lanka’s biggest marketplace Pettah has everything and anything. Even though the Pettah Market is the centre of all trading activity there is a huge area around the market itself with many more shops with a plethora of goods at a cheap price.

However, the winding roads aren’t the most welcoming for the uninitiated but a small understanding of what, where, and how will help you not only to navigate this chaotic goldmine better but, also to get a good deal. Even with some help, you have to go to Pettah to truly understand Pettah and a little bit of adventure never hurt anyone.


Making some sense

Even though it might look complicated at first glance the roads in Pettah are laid out in a grid with only a few deviations. The Pettah Main Street and Bodhiraja Street open up to all other streets so these roads should be your anchor when travelling.

Even if you know the road that you need to go to, getting there might not be the easiest so Google Maps is your best friend here. The roads and most of the bigger shops are well documented so it won’t be too difficult. That being said, don’t rely fully on Google Maps when it comes to finding shops as there can be a lot of hidden places with exactly what you need.


Let’s break this down


Maliban Street

This area of Pettah is best known for its stationery supplies, especially wedding invitations.


Gabos Lane and Wells Street

Here you can find a plethora of baking ingredients and equipment like cake pans, moulds and the like.


Prince Street

Anything and everything made from glass can be found here especially mirrors. On top of that, you can also find quite the array of Electronics and Toys.


Bankshall Street

This street usually gets quite busy as it has a large variety of stuff. There are quite a few shops that sell arts and crafts material along with supplies for a more serious artist. You can also find pharmaceutical and chemical supplies along with fake flowers.


Main Street, Olcott Mawatha, Second Cross Street, Keyzer Street

Clothes, fabrics and anything and everything that has to do with textile. Main street is full of readymades whereas Second Cross Street Keyzer Street is brimming with supplies. You can literally find any fabric you want in these roads. 


Third Cross Street

Here again, you can find quite the assortment of fabrics along with scales and other tools like hammers, screwdrivers and the like.


China Street

China street lies a little bit off the main Pettah grid and is not as crowded as the rest (for the most part). You come across quite a lot of nicknacks, ornaments and party decorations along with glassware.


Fourth Cross Street

Dozens and Dozens of wholesale shops selling food. This is where all the restauranteurs go to get their supplies so it can be quite hectic in the mornings. 


Rohini First Cross Lane and Kosala Lane

This is THE place you need to go to if you’re looking for stationery, especially paper. There is also a whole lot of printing supplies.


First Cross Street

Anything and everything you need if you own a mobile phone or want to own one. Apart from actual mobile phones, you can also find quite a lot of accessories and other electronics like webcams.


Malwatta Road

Shoes, leather bags, travel bags and the like. If you’re one of those people who still use CDs, DVDs and cassette tapes this is where you need to go to in order to find those. 

There you have it! Our attempt to make sense of the chaos that is Pettah. Next time you’re in the lookout for something high quality and cheap we hope this list helps.