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An update from Evaneos

Souvenirs to bring home from Nepal

During your holiday in Nepal you'll find a rich variety of artisan crafts. Unfortunately, since the country became a tourist destination, these crafts have suffered a great decline in quality. You'll either have to hunt around for really nice pieces or resign yourself to finding other ideas.

NB. After the two large earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and May 2015, the country is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before the disaster.

Nepalese crafts

The golden rule when you are buying souvenirs of your trip to Nepal is always to haggle firmly over the price.

With increasing number of tourists, mass-produced products are becoming ever more common. Another reason to not pay too much for them. There is a large choice on offer. First of all, khukuris. These are the wonderful knives that the Nepalese wear on their belts. Obviously, the older they are, the more expensive they become.

Musicians might be tempted by a saranghi. This is a little four stringed violin-type instrument carved from a single piece of wood.

Nepalese carpets are generally very beautiful and of excellent quality. They are a huge success with the tourists.

The jewellery is equally gorgeous. Traditional pieces are absolutely superb. For this sort of purchase, only go to the really high-class shops. Cheap imitations are unbelievably common.

Amongst the wealth of craft products available, you might also fall for beautiful Buddhist paintings called thangkas, wooden masks or the many and varied sculptures made from bronze, copper, brass and tin.

Flowers on the market

Other ideas

The very pretty prayer wheels are also typical presents to bring home. It's very rare to find old, original ones for sale. Those you'll buy are therefore likely to be copies.

Singing bowls are also beautiful and different souvenirs. They don't all sound the same though, so try them before deciding which you like best.

As for the jewellery, be very careful if you want to by precious stones. From one gemstone another the price can increase a hundredfold and the market is flooded with fake stones. Again, its essential to go only to the best shops. Be aware too that if you definitely want something 100% Nepalese, you should forget precious stones altogether, since they are all imported from India or Tibet.

Almost every shop in the country stocks sweet, funny T-shirts. Some have nice designs with little yaks on them, others have Buddhist symbols or cartoon characters.

To buy a real pashmina without getting ripped off, only go to genuine luxury shops. Otherwise you run the risk of finding yourself the proud owner of a lovely shawl made of goat hair!

To complete your shopping you can also buy spices, tea, old coins, stamps for your collection or very beautiful Nepalese paper.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 29 September 2015
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