Shopping in the bazaars of Nepal is a must simply for the charm of taking home a slice of this exotic Himalayan kingdom as keepsakes of its cultural richness and indelible memories to inspect when you are feeling low, long after you return home.
Spend precious moments learning the basics of painting thangkas at an artisanal workshop of a master painter. You will love the time here learning to get deeper insights into the cultural importance of this art form of Nepalese and Tibetan paintings. Thangka painting finds its inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts, as also the artist’s knowledge of the scriptures. The art form, revered as sacred, is steeped in religious imagery and is highly symbolic. The mounting itself of the art work is done with great care and detail involving a painted picture panel surrounded by a textile mantle supported by scroll sticks and overlain with a silk cover. You’ll feel pretty chuffed taking home your own hand-painted thangka as a precious keepsake.
Pashmina stoles and scarves
Absolutely irresistible pashmina shawls are perfect for keeping you warm with memories of Nepal. Exotic and luxurious–these woven wonders of softest, the warmest, the lightest in wool, pashmina shawls were once only graced the persons of royalty.
A symbol of pride and loyalty to Nepalis throughout the world, this short slashing deadly knife has been the weapon of choice in war in Nepal as far back as the 1800s. In fact, it’s a well-established fact that it’s an intrinsic part of the arsenal for combat for the Nepalese Army, the Royal Gurkha Rifles, Assam Rifles, Assam Regiment of the Indian Gurkha Army–and Gurkha regiments all over the world. Spend some time at a specialist blacksmith and learn about the various kinds and uses of the khukri. Made from tempered steel, the knife is slightly curved inward and really sharp. The khukuri is designed largely for chopping, but it can also be used to stab. Were you aware that the khuri is also intrinsic to ceremonial and presentation events? Khukris used for these occasions are more ornamental nature with scabbards that are ornate and feature workmanship wrought in gold and silver, and handles made of ivory. The khukri used for sacrificial rituals has a longer blade and a handle that allows for gripping with two hands. Under the guidance of the blacksmith, you can make your own mini khukri as a keepsake.
Wood carved delights
Lalitpur, Nepal’s major hub for the craft of metal and wood carving is an unmissable addition to your shopping bucket list. This fantastic art form has been handed down from generation to generation. Meet families who are still involved in keeping this tradition alive and who will enlighten you with the finer aspects of their craft, much of which revolves around the making of the images of gods and goddess; they also make artworks on a metal sheet with the help of traditional tools. Try your hand at making a little wood carved souvenir to carry home.
An ancient crafting tradition for centuries the Himalayan singing bowl is directly linked to shamanic Bon and the Buddhist traditions for prayer and meditation. The making of the bowl, created from ashta dhatu, or eight metals, involves a secret formula when heated over a fire and hammered into shape, to make the most harmonious male and female, low and high tones. These sounds, both earthy and celestial, are said to be curative in purpose and create an inner state of peace and joy for the listener.
Trawl the market streets for many such beautiful traditions which have created perfect giveaways you can take home for family and friends as well.