• Souvenir Shopping in Nepal

    Ramesh Tiwari
    July 1, 2016
    Souvenir Shopping in Nepal

    By Bhesh Jung Badal –

    Nepali handicrafts, decorative domestic objects made by hand, are most popular and highly appreciated all over the world. Handicrafts are produced in different parts of the country reflecting local tradition, art and culture. The major handicrafts are – bags , basketry products , ceramics, decoration items , contemporary paintings, craft paintings, ethnic dolls , garments , filigree products , gift items , hand knitwear , handmade paper products , home furnishing , incense , metal crafts , paubha (thanka ) based on Buddhist and Hindu religious scriptures, silver jewellery , stone and wood carving products among others.

    B.J. Badal

    Travellers, apart from visiting and exploring the country, are interested to take photographs and buy some local products. So is the case with Nepal. Nepalese craftsmanship is highly appreciated by tourists since the centuries. Nepal’s handicraft exports amounted to US $ 46 million in the fiscal year 2071/72 BS. There has been an increase in demand for Nepali handicrafts from the US and European markets in recent years. The tourists visiting Nepal are more interested to take the following products as souvenirs from Nepal.

    Carpets

    Nepal’s largest export item is the Tibetan carpet made in Nepal. These are very expensive in the developed countries but cheap here compared to its price in their own country. The techniques used in the manufacture of carpets are traditional Tibetan, where high quality handspun wool of Tibet and New Zealand are woven. Designs range from neo-Tibetan to the modern abstract ones in bold and bright colors. Superior quality European chemical and vegetable dyes are used in making fine carpets. Prices vary according to size, designs and knots. A 100 knots per square inch carpet usually cost more. One must be careful in buying carpets because carpets of inferior quality are also sold which are not color-fast.

    Gems

    The continent of Asia is famous for its precious stones and jewels, but the widest selection of these gems can be bought in Kathmandu at prices which are remarkably low. Name any stone from Topaz to Lapis Lazuli, you can get it here. Tourmaline being Nepal’s highest quality gem.Without proper knowledge of the characteristics of original gems, it is very difficult to assess unless bought from a shop that can be trusted. Nepal does not mine Topaz. The common local name given to the lovely yellow citrine is “Golden Topaz”. Fine deep purple amethysts are produced in Nepal. apart from soft pink sapphires. The inexpensive stones are admitted by the dealer to be artificial.

    Jewellery

    Since the centuries, Nepal has been in the lime-light when it comes to originating or making a replica of a design in gold or silver. Be it an ear-ring, necklace, bracelet, ring or any other item, it is made ready for delivery in a few days time. Silver beads that are traditional are made in Patan. Beads made of glass charms the buyer. A market for beads is found close to the centre of the capital near Indra Chowk. In shops near Buddhist temples a variety of Tibetan jewelry is sold. The honesty of the jeweler with regard to wares sold is remarkable. White gold of international quality is scarce in Kathmandu.

    Metalwork

    The molding of metals such as copper, bronze, brass into statues of Buddhist deities in the Tibetan style and Hindu images is one of Nepal’s oldest and living craft traditions. In a statue, the specific pronunciation of parts such as fingers, eyes which are skillfully painted, attractive pleasant faces and non-existence of pits or spots is formidable.

    Woodcarving

    Woodcarving on temples and houses is a common sight in Kathmandu. The designs carved are traditional and are produced in all sizes. These intricate carvings can be found on doors and windows as well as smaller items such as jewelry boxes, picture frames and wall decorations.

    Handloom and Printed Cloth

    A variety of cloth is produced in different parts of Nepal. Hetauda, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, to name a few, produce cloth for hats, blouses ,daura suruwal and other attires. Dolpo blankets, colourful block-printed handlooms and soft Pashmina woolen shawls are also available.

    Thangkas

    Tibetan scroll paintings of Buddha, mandalas, meditation deities are known as Thangkas. These are hung in the shrine rooms of monasteries and living room of private homes. Thangkas, not of recent times, used vivid colors of grounded mineral pigments which was traditional. The modern ones use modern materials such as pastel colours and are not as expensive as the old ones. The skill endowed in painting the tiniest figures without disfiguring or distorting the faces or hands is the key to its genuineness. Wood smoke is used for ageing Thangkas.

    Masks

    The Nepali people of different community perform ritual dances at festivals wearing masks that are replicas of the image they depict. These masks, made of Nepali paper and wood, are available in markets of Kathmandu valley.

    Other items of interest available in Kathmandu valley are khukuris, incense, handmade paper, prayer wheels, Tibetan souvenirs, silk purses, dolls, filigree items, hand knit sweaters. readymade attires and Nepali tea.

    Cargo Transport

    There are dozens of reliable transport agencies who take care of transporting cargo in different parts of the world. Careful packing before being shipped or airlifted, with contacts to reach its final destination , are some of the services offered to customers.

    Antiques

    Nepalese antiques. part of the country’s rich artistic heritage, belong to its people and is expected to remain in the country. If purchased, such articles are very expensive and are subject to customs restrictions leading up to confiscation. The buyer is advised to get a certificate from the dealer, and if still doubtful, one from the Department of Archeology, to avoid disappointment on departure. Artificial antiques of masks, statues and paintings are other accomplished crafts of Nepal. Craft salespersons of Nepal are generally honest about the originality or age of their wares. Authentic Nepali and Tibetan antiques are increasingly rare and difficult to find.

    Where to Shop

    Some of the places where shopping can be done and items bought are: Basantapur and Thamel for handicrafts and Khukuris, prayer wheels, grotesque masks; the Supermarket for a variety of items; Taleju temple area for thankas and masks; the street from Durbar Square to Indra Chowk  for caps, small rugs, shawls, knit sweaters, sari fabrics, copper and brass pots and curios, Durbar Marg area for jewellery , handicrafts and mandala paintings, and Jawalakhel for  carpets of Tibetan designs.

    Nepal has a good reputation for craftsmanship and the souvenir prices are reasonable in the markets of three cities of the valley – Kathmandu , Patan and Bhaktapur.

    June 31, 2016

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      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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