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The heaviest baggage for a traveler is an empty purse.

Old English Proverb

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Shopping & Souvenirs Available in Nepal

The craftsmen of the Kathmandu Valley were well respected at the royal court of China in ancient times. The very same crafts which earned them fame are practiced here today, side by side with their modern brothers and sisters. To step into a Kathmandu Valley workshop is to step back in time 400 years. And those items which you bring home with you will forever link you to the days of exotic courts and arduous trade routes.

Garments. Handmade garments like shawls, woolen sweaters, jackets, trousers and caps are very functional as well as interesting articles to take back home.

If you're looking for customed tailor business attire, Nepal can deliver copies of the highest quality brand names for a fraction of the price. See Sponsor Shrestha Tailoring to get a glimpse of one of the industry leaders - they even offer free shuttle service from your hotel to one of their showrooms and tailor shops.

Gems. Kathmandu boasts one of the widest selections of loose gems in the entire region, often at comparatively low prices. Many stones including ruby, aquamarine, black and green tourmaline, quartz and "healing stones" are mined in the high mountains of Nepal. Want to know what stone is best for you? Diana, of Nepal's Energy Information Center, certainly knows. She lives in Chiangmai, Thailand these days. Communicate or pay her a visit in Chiangmai. You will surely be surprised to find out what else she has to say.

Jewelry. Apart from necklaces, bracelets, rings and the traditional silver beads made especially in Patan, old Tibetan jewelry also abounds in the markets of Kathmandu. A glass bead market tucked away near Indra Chowk stocks colorful glass beads imported from all over the world. Creation Nepal's online shop will give you a reason to buy Silver Jewelry from Nepal and Tibet. They have made more varieties online. Visit their Internet shop here to find out how.

Khukuri. Khukuri, the curved metal knife, is synonymous with the valor of Gurkha soldiers. Manufactured by local iron smiths with traditional implements, this impressive tool has become a well-loved memento for many people visiting this part of the world.

Metal-ware. Decorative house wares are still made of the traditional copper, brass and bronze and then elaborately engraved. Pieces like karuwa (water jars), anti (liquor jars), bowls, and hanging oil lamps are very popular souvenirs — useful ones too!

Paper products.

Traditional Nepalese paper, popularly known as "rice paper", is actually made of lokta or daphne bark found in remote areas of the country. Many stores in Thamel and Patan sell writing pads and bound journals, as well as calendars and lamp shades of lokta paper.

For a look at some of the most exclusive paper designs, spend an evening at Babar Mahal Revisit (a Rana Palace fantastically restored as a shopping and dining complex.) There you will find the creations of Marina - - in her Paper Moon showroom. Check out the playing cards on Nepali paper and foldable lamp designs for easy transport back home - neat!

Pashmina, from the Persian word for wool, is popularly known in the west as cashmere wool, from the old spelling for Kashmir. The fine wool comes from the undercoat of the Himalayan mountain goat, which lives in the most remote regions of the Tibetan Plateau. For over a thousand years cashmere has been woven into shawls and blankets, prized by royalty and common people alike for its otherworldly softness, warmth, and long life.

For many centuries Kashmir was the only place the fiber could be woven into shawls, according to treaties that gave the Maharaja of Kashmir exclusive rights to Tibet's pashmina supply. Today most of the world's pashmina shawls are woven on handlooms in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. And most are woven on a warp of spun silk for increased suppleness and strength. In recent years this silk and cashmere blend has become the darling of the western fashion world.

Paubha. These traditional paintings (thanka in Tibetan), depict deities and religious symbols from Buddhism. Painted on cotton scrolls, the best paubhas are made using ground stone pigments to create their vivid colors. Powdered silver and gold are other key ingredients.

Pottery. Extremely proficient in the delicate art of making both terra-cotta and glazed earthenware, Kathmandu’s potters make various articles from the black clay that abounds in the Valley. Their products range from household utensils to inexpensive decorative souvenirs.

Spices. Since ancient times, traders have followed their noses to the spice markets of Asia. Kathmandu’s markets offer exotic ingredients to add flavor to your curries — nutmeg, ginger, saffron, mace, anise, fenugreek, black pepper, coriander seeds and other aromas.

Statues. The casting of bronze, brass and copper statuary in Nepal dates back to the 13th century. Casters in Nepal use the ancient and labor intensive "lost-wax method" in which ornate figures, modeled in bees-wax and used to create the earthenware molds, are melted away and "lost" prior to the actual casting.

Tea. Nepal’s eastern hilly districts, notably Ilam, produce a variety of excellent tea, most of which is exported. Kathmandu’s shops offer a wide selection of fine Nepalese tea in attractive packaging which makes it suitable as gifts.

Wood carving. The expertise of Newar craftsmen in this field can be seen in the intricately carved windows, doors, pillars and latticed art-works fitted in temples throughout the Kathmandu Valley. Ornate doors and windows, picture frames, jewelry boxes and furniture are produced in the workshops of Patan and Bhaktapur.

Woolen carpets. Carpets made in Nepal are hand-knotted using the traditional techniques of Tibet. The best of them are woven from a mixture of the highland Himalayan sheep’s wool and New Zealand long staple wool.

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