What to buy in Nepal


Namaste!
There are so many beautiful, interesting and unusual things in Nepal that no wonder if the question "what to buy?" will arise in your head. To help you with the asnwer to this question I will tell about the most interesting (from my point of view) handicrafts and products of Nepal that are worth to be bought here.

1. Pashmina. Pashmina is a word derived from Persian "Pashm" which means "finest wool fiber". Pashmina is made from the wool of the Himalayan Mountain goat, locally known as Chyangra ( Capra Hircus). This goat is generally found between altitudes of twelve thousand to fourteen thousand feet above sea level, in the mountains of Nepal, India and Pakistan. These goats develop a thin inner coat in winter which they shed during spring. Each hair is twelve to fourteen microns thick which is about one-sixth of the human hair. This unique inner coat of hair serves as material for pashmina.



From a distance a shawl made of pashmina looks like any ordinary shawl made of fine wool. But in touch it has exquisite fine texture and negligible weight. The warmth it provides can hardly be compared with any other type of wool fabric.
Most of the available pashmina in Nepal is woven by hand in local handlooms. Here you can find shawls, scarves, sweaters, mufflers of 100% pashmina wool or 80/20 and 70/30 blends of pahshmina wool and silk. The difference between pure pashmina and blends is the lustrous sheen obvious in the silk/pashmina blend and of course, pure pashmina is much warmer than the blends.


2. Silver jewelry with natural stones. The Nepali silversmiths produce handcrafted jewelry of traditional and modern designs. You can find here necklaces, pendants, bracelets, bangles, earrings, rings and anklets. Silver jewelry usually has stones inlaid to enhance their beauty and some of the popular ones are turquoise, coral, aquamarine, garnet, topaz, amethyst, lapis. Many gemstones are found in Nepal: ruby and sapphire; aquamarine; tourmaline; amethyst; garnets; amazonite; quartz crystal. Many lesser-known gems are also found in Nepal.


3. Tibetan carpets and Tibetan furniture. Tibetan carpets are popular for two reasons: they are made of Tibetan wool that gets better with age and they are decorated with exotic designs of bright colours - red, blue, yellow. Most weavers still use vegetable dyes and the carpets are loop-knotted. Usually 60 knots per square inch (the norm), 80 (fine) or 100 (top quality). Most traditional designs are symbolic in nature and the colours too are chosen on the basis of their symbolism.

The beauty of Tibetan furniture lies in the detailed and brightly coloured paintings that cover their surfaces. They are coated with mandalas, lotus blossoms, conch shells, tigers and elephants. Most of paintings have some sort of Buddhist religious significance. For example, the elephant design is a symbol of the strength of the mind and the intellect.
The majority of Tibetan furniture available in the market today are replicas of original designs but are modeled exactly like pieces that actually come from Tibet and are painted by local experts.


4. Thangka paintings. These paintings on cotton or silk are originally meant for temples and monasteries and so they are religious in nature. Each drawing is based on a particular religious theme, among most popular are Buddha and his disciples, scenes from his life or portraits of Bodhisattvas. Other thangkas may represent Tara in her green or white aspect or show mandalas. There are five basic colours in thangkas: red, blue, yellow, white and black. All are mineral or vegetable based: lapis lazuli stone is the source of blue, orpiment and cinnabar minerals are sources for yellow and red, conch shell powder provides the white colour and black is derived from the soot of burning pine wood.


5. Traditional Nepali knife Khukuri. Its popularity all over the world this knife gained thanks to the Gurkha soldiers who use it as a self-guard or in battle. Khukuri is found in almost every Nepali home and used as a multi-purpose knife for cutting grass, chopping wood, peeling vegatebles and slaughtering game. A longer version of the Khukuri is often used in ritual sacrifice during festivals.
 

The blade of the khukuri is mostly made with high quality steel and the scabbard out of buffalo hide. The handle of the Khukuri can be made out of either buffalo horn or any type of hard wood. The scabbard of each Khukuri holds two small knives called Karda and Chakmak. Karda is a sharp knife used to hone the master blade and for small cutting jobs. The Chakmak is used as a flint stone to start fires.

6. Nepali tea. Returning home with an assortment of teas cultivated in the Himalayan hills is an excellent way to continue enjoying the flavours of Nepal at home. Nepali tea is of no less quality than Indian tea. Two of the best places to find huge varieties of Nepali teas are Sagarmatha Tea House (Lazimpat) and Himalayan Tea Corner (New Road). Visitors can sample any variety they like there. Among the most popular are sencha and bancha (green teas), Ilam tea, masala spice tea, Dhankuta organic tea. Customers may order small packets of 50 or 100 grams or larger quantities in kilos.


7. Metal craft. Age-old designs and production technologies are still used in creating metal craft in Nepal. Copper, bronze and brass are the most common metals used. For making statues the wax method of metal casting is employed. A wax model is first made and covered with clay. This is heated to a high degree and the melted wax is extracted and molten metal is poured inside. After cooling the clay is broken to reveal the metal image. The craftsman then etches in the finer details after which it is painted according to traditional specifications.

8. Wild Earth products. This company provides a range of herbal products: soaps, massage oils, therapeutic pillows, shampoos and much more. The products are made using the finest selection of organic materials and none of their items are tested on animals. The Wild Earth products can be found in many supermarkets and shops in Kathmandu but the showroom of the company is in Lazimpat.

Read also
Traditional masks of Nepal

5 comments:

  1. Loved this article!!! I realized that from all the listed things to best buy in Nepal, I have only the silver jewllery with natural stones!!!

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  3. Wow amazing collections after see it everybody will confuse why should buy at a time..............
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  4. Thanks for the information! Love all the products depicted in the photos. Will definitely get some when traveling there.

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  5. Semi precious stones where do o buy?

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