Srina Palace is an unlikely little trove of treasures tucked away in various parts of the city. And it's one of those places, like House of Fashion, that's almost as heavily frequented by Colomboites as it is by locals.
Where to begin with what you can buy at Srina P? Imported hair and beauty products (like Keune shampoo, Palmer's body butter, etc.), imitation jewellery, electronics, sewing equipment, ribbons, hair clips, sequins, pottus and so on. Phew.
At a glance the place looks a little tacky - it's seriously colourful and bright in there - but if you have a dig around you can definitely find some nice, cheap things. I found three sets of pretty bindis, ranging between Rs. 20 and Rs. 60, and a pair of slim gold hoop earrings for Rs. 100. The total bill was Rs. 240.
However, note that the stuff you get here, especially jewellery, won't be the most durable - so treat your purchases with care. But that being said, the more expensive fashion jewellery from ODEL'S Backstage hasn't proven much better - these also tend to break and bend easily, and if you buy gold it downgrades to silver pretty quickly.
Srina Palace is also a great place if you're into handicrafts and sewing. They sell lots and lots of sequins, yards of ribbon, and lots of other craftworky things like fabric paint, acrylics, etc.
We like Srina Palace. It initially started off as a little store in Borella, but it's become hugely popular and now has five branches across the city - Dehiwala, Nugegoda, Battaramulla, Wattalla, Borella. It's always full, and the staff are energetic and committed to the job. When picking out my bindis a guy stood with me the whole time, bring out dozens of new packets and trying to guess what I'd like best. They can be a little overbearing, but they're extremely helpful. They want you to buy things. And you generally do.
So go there if you need some good hair product or makeup - or if you just want some unintentionally kitschy jewellery. You'll definitely find it there.
Take your time and really dig around - you'll definitely find something you like and probably don't need.