Lulu Mall, The picnic destination!
There’s one thing I never fail to do whenever I travel to Kochi these days. No, it’s not exploring the bylanes of Fort Kochi or gorging on the karimeen varuthathu in Grand Hotel, although those are always on the top of my list. You guessed it! It is an excursion to Lulu International Shopping Mall, one of the most frequented places in Kochi ever since it started its operations in 2013.
I say “excursion”, because that’s what it usually is: a full day trip for pleasurable window (and some real) shopping and indulgent eating, followed by an entertaining movie (or two). And I’ve been there enough times now to know my way around and have my routine down pat.
So I’m going to share with you 7 interesting facts (and some tips) you should know about Lulu mall.
Photo courtesy - Praveen Devarajan
Avoid Sundays if possible
Indianretailer.com shows Lulu mall as averaging 85,000 footfalls on the weekend. That seems like a gross underestimation because it feels more like the whole population of Kochi (and some neighboring districts) has descended on it. It once took me more than an hour to cover a 5km distance to the mall, thanks to it being at the intersection of three highways. And don’t even get me started on the trouble getting a cab back home! So trust me when I tell you this: if you have a choice, avoid going to Lulu on Sundays. “But that’s the only day I’m free”, you say? Well, then you’ll just have to brave the traffic and the crowds and leave home early.
Wear comfortable shoes
Lulu claims to be the biggest mall in India, and that’s not hard to believe. Spread over 25 lakh sq ft of total built up area, Lulu mall Kochi will help you achieve your daily step target whether you mean to or not. You’ll easily be able to rack up at least 5,000 steps, if not more, on your fitness band or app every time you visit. So skip the gym this week and head to Lulu mall instead, just be sure to wear your most comfortable shoes.
Shop till you drop
Lulu mall boasts of over 215 outlets of Indian and International brands ranging from fashion to beauty to sportswear to lifestyle and many more, not to mention the food courts and multiplex and gaming arena. If you’re like me, you’ll end up with your hands full of packages. Here’s a tip: drop your bags off at the baggage counter on the ground floor and continue shopping! Just remember to pick up your bags on your way out.
Meal plan at the Lulu hypermarket
Since you’re anyway going to be spending the whole day at the mall, why not make life easier for yourself by picking up grocery and fresh food from the 2 lakh sq ft Lulu Hypermarket? Choose from a wide array of domestic and imported ingredients - fruits and vegetables, spices, nuts, cheeses, packaged and frozen foods, marinated or fresh seafood and meat. Pack some of the freshly made flatbreads, rice dishes and curries from the fresh food counter and your meal planning for the week is done.
Entertain the kids at Sparkys
For those with kids in tow, there’s no better place than Sparky’s on the third floor of Lulu mall. The “family fun park” includes an indoor climbing wall, Kerala’s first ice skating rink, a 5D Cinema experience, an arcade gaming zone, a 12 lane bowling alley, and rides for the young as well as the young at heart. You can even leave your little ones for a half an hour at the indoor play area while you quickly run to that particular store you don’t want them traipsing around.
Catch the latest blockbuster
One of the best things about being a Malayali, IMHO, is the sheer abundance of great cinema we get to enjoy. The nine screen PVR Cinemas multiplex on the second floor of Lulu mall, which includes Kochi’s first Gold class, screens movies in Malayalam, Tamil, English, and Hindi. So you’ll never run out of options for entertainment. I always head straight to the multiplex when I arrive at the mall and check out what’s playing when. Then I plan my shopping and dining around the movie showtimes.
Stop for some nosh
Speaking of dining, that’s another reason I love being a Mallu. Give me some fish curry and rice, or beef fry and parotta, or a naadan biryani, and #dietbedamned! And with a myriad of restaurants, cafes, fast food joints and sweet shops scattered all around its four storeys, Lulu mall is a foodie’s delight. Take a break from all the shopping and grab a quick bite at the 2,500-seater food court with its choice of 22 multi-cuisine kitchens, or have a leisurely meal at one of the 4 fine dining restaurants. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the best of North and South Indian cuisine and International fare all vying for your attention. There’s even a pure veg thali restaurant, if you’re so inclined. And for the other Calicut Paragon fans out there, here’s a tip: go early and put your name down on the list. There’s always a long queue despite the restaurant being spread over three floors!
What are your tips?
Those were the top 7 interesting facts and tips about Lulu Mall I thought you should know. Hope you find them useful during your next visit to the mall.
If you're a frequent Lulu Mall visitor, what are your tips for the rest of us? Please share in comments.