Handicrafts are an essential part of Nepali culture, and the country’s ancient tradition of crafting goods by hand has produced some stunning and beautiful goods. Nepal has been famous for its handicraft products since the time it was part of the world-famous Silk Route.
Many Nepali handicraft products are made from materials that are available locally, such as metals and dried grasses, so many of them can be quite affordable. Many Nepal handicrafts are also one-of-a-kind designs, which adds to their value as collectibles or gifts from Nepal to friends back home or abroad.
10 Nepali Handicraft Products
This article will provide an overview of traditional Nepali handicraft products, as well as explore unique craft items that you might not be familiar with but will help you to better understand Nepali culture and its influences on what makes Nepal so special.
Khukuri is one of the national pride of Nepal that will be always associated with the name of a Nepalese, especially the Gorkhas of Nepal. Khukuri or also known as Kukri is a type of machete traditional weapon that has been always associated with the Nepali-speaking Gorkhas of Nepal and India.
The Khukuri is a national weapon of Nepal, and consequently is a characteristic weapon of the Nepalese Army. It serves multiple purposes. In the past, it was used as a melee weapon by the Gorkhas, and soldiers of Nepal. The blade has traditionally served the role of a basic utility knife for the Gurkhas.
Nowadays, it is used as a prominent cutting tool by most Nepalese. It is also often used in various ceremonies like weddings, where the Groom carries the Khukuri as a Hindu tradition.
2. Dhaka Topi
Dhaka Topi or say Nepali Topi is a sort of hat which is literally very popular in Nepal. It was and is considered as a form of national dress which is worn by men in Nepal. Dhaka Topi became popular in Nepal during the reign of Kind Mahendra who ruled between 1955 and 1972. He made wearing a Dhaka Topi mandatory for official photographs for citizenship, passports, and other documents.
Dhaka Topi is a headgear made of Dhaka cloth, which is a fine cotton cloth once exclusively imported from Dhaka, the present-day capital of Bangladesh. International Nepali Dhoti and Topi Day is an day celebrated by Nepali people globally on 1 January to keep Nepali traditional fashion alive.
3. Thangka Paintings
If you are an art lover, then you will love buying these Thangka Paintings. Though it is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk appliqué, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala, it is also found in Nepal.
Thangkas are traditionally kept unframed and rolled up when not on display, mounted on a textile backing somewhat in the style of Chinese scroll paintings, with a further silk cover on the front. So treated, thangkas can last a long time, but because of their delicate nature, they have to be kept in dry places where moisture will not affect the quality of the silk.
Most thangkas are relatively small, comparable in size to a Western half-length portrait, but some are extremely large, several meters in each dimension; these were designed to be displayed, typically for very brief periods on a monastery wall, as part of religious festivals.
Thangka performs several different functions. Images of deities can be used as teaching tools when depicting the life (or lives) of the Buddha, describing historical events concerning important Lamas, or retelling myths associated with other deities.
4. Stone And Wood Carvings
Though craftsmen in Nepal have been making stone and wood carvings for centuries, their popularity only increased in western markets within just a few decades. If you’re looking for a unique gift to give to that special someone or simply add some color to your home decor, then look no further than these hand-carved products.
Their wide variety and uniqueness make them some of our favorite pieces of Nepalese art. A Nepali handicraft statue can be made out of a variety of materials, including copper, bronze, and brass.
The main component of Nepali handicraft products is jewelleries. For thousands of years, people in Nepal have been making their own jewelleries and rings. The main raw material is silver but there are some other materials like gold or other precious stones.
A set of handmade jewellery can cost anywhere from $100 to a few thousand dollars depending on quality and design. These handmade products by local artists can be found at many markets in Kathmandu or Pokhara or from specific shops around Nepal.
6. Clay Products
One of Nepal’s most popular handicraft products are its intricately detailed clay items. Clay is used to craft vases, ornaments, statues, cups and other household items. Clay products in Nepal are one of the ancient form of Nepalese arts which date back to more than two thousand years ago.
In this modern time too, you can find these clay products in the form of water pots, flower pots, chimes, lamps, and many other products that are used in many festivals of Nepal. These clay products are found across Nepal.
7. Felt Products
The making of felt goods is a tradition in Nepal that dates back several centuries. Typically made from wool or cotton fibers, felt products are used throughout Nepal to keep warm during winter months and provide extra padding on beds during more moderate seasons.
When it comes to creating quality felt products, there are two general types of felt making processes used by Nepalese artisans. In one process, fibers are manually interwoven together to create a dense weave without use of molds or frames.
8. Singing Bowls
Nepalese singing bowls are widely used in meditation. The sound of a singing bowl originates from metal discs inside a bowl that produce different notes when struck with a mallet. Singing bowls are often used to help practitioners relax.
A Tibetan singing bowl is a type of bell that vibrates and produces a rich, deep tone when played. This is mostly used by the Bikkhus-Buddhist monks in their medication practices. These are said to be created by ancient Nepali monks who used to be Gautam Buddha’s disciples. Although it has been also using by musical therapists, massage therapists, and yoga therapists.
If you’re new to using a singing bowl, start off by rubbing it gently with a cloth—the sound will be much softer than if you strike it directly. As you become more familiar with its use, try striking it harder and see how it affects your experience.
Pashnimas are one of the most common clothes used in Nepal. While they are commonly used as shawls to keep warm in cold weather, they can also be worn wrapped around an entire outfit.
With their wide range of colors and patterns, these shawls can be easily paired with everyday clothing to create unique ensembles. For example, try pairing your favorite dress or shirt with a blue or red pashmina to add color and texture.
Or, if you’re looking for something more formal, pair your white or black suit jacket with a patterned scarf for an elegant look that’s sure to turn heads at any event.
10. Paper Products
In Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, and other parts of Nepal, you can find many handmade paper products made from mulberry bark. These beautiful products include bookmarks, book covers, fan holders for cooling lamps (for lighting incense), cups for drinking chyaang (alcohol made from millet or wheat), and notebooks.
There are also very delicate wooden boxes with intricate inlay designs. You can find these items at many street vendors in Kathmandu, especially in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. All of these crafts have a certain rustic beauty that makes them both unique and popular as souvenirs.
However, because they are made from natural materials such as wood and bark, their shelf life is relatively short. For example, a notebook might start to fall apart after six months of use; some of these products might not last longer than a year before starting to fade or crack due to humidity.