Handicrafts of Nepal - Best Handmade Crafts from the ‘Roof of the World’

Every time we are on a vacation, we face a tough time selecting budget-friendly souvenirs for our relatives. The handicrafts in Nepal are the perfect answer to your souvenir needs. When discussing the variety of handicrafts of Nepal, this serene place on the laps of Himalayas puts forward a lot of options. It is therefore highly recommended to purchase these fine handicrafts and let their economy grow.

So without further delay, let’s dive into the kinds of handicrafts of Nepal:

Textile Products in Nepal

1. Dhaka Products 

One of the main appearances of Nepalese men that come to our mind is an ever-smiling face with a cute little ‘topi’(cap) on top. They are actually called Dhaka ko Topi meaning headgear. These ‘topis’ are made from cotton imported from Dhaka(Bangladesh). They are symbolic of the Nepalese culture and are also presented during Dashain and Tihar festivals. Nepal boasts of ‘Palpali Dhaka’ products like Shawls, handkerchiefs, ties and even table mats. A long time ago, Palpa was the only place to produce Dhaka clothes with shiny fabrics. However as time passed by, the other districts caught up too. Today they are sold widely throughout Nepal ranging from street-side stores to huge retailers.
Where to Find it: Indra Chowk, Kathmandu.
Price Range: INR 300 - INR 1000
Note: Beware of the unfixed prices and use your bargaining skills wisely.

2. Pashmina Products (The ‘Soft Gold’)

Pashmina Shawls
The most sought after of all the handicrafts of Nepal, are Pashmina products that are also famous worldwide. The word Pashmina is taken from Persian language meaning “Made from wool”. Pashmina is a special type of Kashmiri (Locally pronounced as Cashmere) wool extracted and hand weaved resulting in a very fine texture. Pashmina products are famous both in Nepal as well as in Kashmir. Pashmina products are usually very high priced due to the rarity of Pashmina wool and the degree of expertise that goes into weaving it. Pashmina product ranges from scarves to sweaters and are sold widely in roadside stalls.
Where to Find it: SK Handicrafts Exports, Kathmandu
Price Range: INR 750 - INR 3000 
Note: Watch out for vendors trying to sell imitation Pashmina products for the cos of authentic ones.

3. Felt Products

Felt is said to be one of the oldest material for handicrafts of Nepal which find its use in a wide range of products starting from the automotive industry, art and design instruments as well as musical instruments. Felt products like handmade felt decoration, handmade felt balls, decorative slippers, felt mats are found on the streets of Nepal.
Price range: The felt products can range from very low to very high prices depending on its quality and the type of the product.

Non Textile Products

4. Jewellery

Nepal is the ninth biggest silver jewellery producing country in Asia. The best selection of beads and jewellery can be found in the local markets of Kathmandu. Nepal holds a good name for selling items that are authentic and made in Nepal itself. The jewellery there are quite affordable and would not lead to a pocket crunch. The Nepalese artisans hold expertise in carving out unique designs and product development. Silver making is a traditional occurrence in Nepal and has been passed down generations. It is a highly labour intensive job and creating more opportunities in this sector would directly result in more jobs for them. Markets of Nepal also sell a variety of locally made or Indian jewellery. Yak bone jewellery, with its unique engravings and designs, is also a hit among tourists. 
Price Range: INR 500 - INR 2000

5. Handmade Paper Products

Writing on Handmade
Source: Pixnio
Handmade paper was introduced in Nepal by the Tibetan travellers who migrated into this region. The traditional process of making one of the oldest handicrafts in Nepal is by recycling waste paper and is a cumbersome technique. It has a very unique texture which allows natural ink to stay for a long time hence making preservation of writings permissible. It is vastly used for gifting and using as a reliable product to write on. The handmade paper also finds its use in gift wrappings and calendars. Innumerable art shops in Nepal sell beautiful paper paintings, Lokta paper notebooks, paper sheets, lampshades as well as greetings cards made from handmade paper.
Price Range:
Lanterns: INR 250 
Diaries/ Notebooks: INR 220 onwards
Jewellery boxes: INR 300 onwards
Cards: INR 100 onwards.

6. Wood Craft 

Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, Nepal is lucky to have received the lush green forests and hardwood trees. Needless to mention, these trees are a source of valuable timber which is extensively used by the residents. Wooden craft has been a glory of Nepalese architecture from times immemorial. 

The Kasthamandap at Basantapur, Kathmandu, built around 1596, is one of the many examples of the fascinating piece of artwork. Pottery markets in Bhaktapur boast of its wide range of wooden pottery and handicrafts of Nepal. Items include wooden decor items, wooden flute, wooden bracelets and a lot more.
Price Range: INR 500 - INR 4000

7. Thangka

Thangka painting is a Buddhist painting made on cotton and silk. When they are not used for display, they are rolled and kept on a textile backing which looks like Chinese scroll paintings, with a silk cover. They can last for a long time. But they are of delicate nature, that's why they are kept in dry places so that it doesn't get affected by moisture. The painting depicts a Buddhist deity or a scene. They serve as important teaching tools. Thangka painting are used for devotional and decorative purposes. There are workshops held by famous thangka painters who teach the visitors the importance and procedure that goes in the making of the painting.

8. Singing Bowls

Singing Bowls, Shopping in Nepal
Be it handmade or machine-made, engraved or plain, made of brass or some other metal, you can find different types of these singing bowls in Nepal at different prices. The sound and vibrations produced by these bowls, when the small wooden stick is rubbed on their rim in a circular motion, create an entrancing atmosphere which is great for meditation and is believed to have healing powers.
Where: Thamel or Durbar Marg
: The price range of Singing Bowls varies from NPR 300 to NPR 2500

9. Khukuri (The Gurkha knife)

Khukuri, Shopping in Nepal
Known for its unique slashing edge and style, this traditional knife of Nepal is used as both - a weapon as well as a tool. For tourists, it's an excellent souvenir! Just don't forget to keep it in your check-in luggage when flying back. Also, make sure the size of the knife you buy is allowed to be transported to your country.  
Where: You'll find these displayed on the walls in the street markets. A popular place to buy Khukuri is Gorkha Zone Khukuri House in Thamel.
: The prices of Khukuri range from NPR 300 to NPR 4000, depending upon the size and quality.

10. Rice Paper Products

Rice paper products, Shopping in Nepal
The 'rice paper' is a handmade paper made of Lokta bark found in the remote areas of Nepal. You can buy a variety of interesting products made from this paper-like writing pads, bound journals, calendars and lampshades, etc.
Where: Many shops in the public markets of Kathmandu and Pokhara sell these products.
: Cards can be bought for around NPR 160, lanterns for NPR 400 and diaries/notebooks cost NPR 350 onwards.

11. Glass Beads

You can even buy beads from the market and make your own necklace.
Where: Shops and stores in Thamel, Asan market in Kathmandu or Baidam lakeside market in Pokhara.
: The cost of jewellery is NPR 500 onwards

12. Hemp Products

Nepal is known for the Hemp Weaving Industry. Hemp is a sustainable and low-impact crop and even replenishes the soil. Hemp fibres are strong, eco-friendly, recyclable and biodegradable. The products of Hemp that you can buy from Nepal are - Backpacks, Laptop Bags, Clothing, Hats, Twine, Belts, Slippers and Accessories.
Where: Shops and stores are present in Kathmandu's Khusibu Sadak area and one in Amrit Marg.
Cost: NPR 250 onwards for Wallets and NPR 1700 onwards for bags

Handicraft Trade Fair

A Handicraft Trade Fair is organised each year in the month of November in Kathmandu to encourage and improve this sector. It demands an entry fee and hosts over 500 exhibitors displaying their piece of art. So next time if you chance to visit Nepal, make it a point to pay a visit to get all the handicrafts of Nepal in one place.
Handicrafts Trade Fair Dates: 28 November - 2 December 2019 
Entry Fee: TBA

Child Labour Free Handicrafts Stores to Visit 

The only drawback of the Nepalese handicraft sector is the use of child labour in its production process. However international campaigns against child labour are held on many occasions. So it is mainly advised to shop from government-approved stores so as to discourage the use of child labour:
1.Nepal Art Shop Export and Import Pvt. Ltd.
2.SK Handicrafts Export
3.Handmade Handicraft
4.Association for Craft Producers
5.Mahaguthi Craft with conscience
All in all, the handicrafts of Nepal are a perfect reason for a shopaholic to check out the beautiful country as well. We hope that you find this article useful in your shopping endeavours. Know more places to find beautiful handicrafts in Nepal? Let us know in the comments.

This post was published by Saptorshi Gupta

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