“Shop till you drop” should be your motto while shopping in Nepal as you get everything you want from Nepali markets. The large malls, small markets and even the online shopping sites of Nepal have something unique and original to offer you. With little amount of money, you can buy varieties of traditional and modern products.
Nepali market is popular for traditional arts and crafts, handmade clothes, pashmina shawls, pottery, jewelry, woolen carpets, thangka paintings, mithila paintings, wood carvings, metal works and antiques.
Things to Remember While Shopping:
You should always take receipts after buying things and if you want to take antiques out of the country, please take permission from the department of Archaeology.You should have an art of bargaining while shopping in Nepal. The next thing you need to keep in mind is do not bargain until you want to buy the very thing.
If you are a newcomer proceed very slowly and take help from a knowledgeable local or you can also take an expat’s advice for good shops and price ranges.
Nepali market is famous for the qualitative and fashionable pashmina shawl, scarf and wrap which can be used in any season, occasion and event. They are handmade, full with beautiful embroidery and soft in comparison to other shawls. These pashminas are made from the wool of mountain goats and are world famous for silky texture, lightness and warmth. They are available in different colors and sizes in Thamel, Ason, and other local markets and Pashmina factories.
Nepali market is the best place for handicrafts; singing bowl, magic amulets, prayer boxes, ritual balls, windows and frames, statues of gods, erotic carvings, and traditional figures.
Gorkha Khukuri-the weapon of Gorkha regiments symbolizes the craftsmanship and fearlessness of Nepali people. This curved metal knife is made from local iron-smiths with traditional implements and is easily available in local markets.
Thangkas and paintings:
Nepal is best destination for buying thangkas- traditional Tibetan cloth paintings framed with embroidered silk that reflect Buddhist philosophy. They are available in different sizes and various types;Wheel of Life Thangka, Buddha Thangka, Bajra Thangka, Lokeshwor Thangka,Green Tara Thangka. Picking at least one Tibetan, Newari or Japenese thangka is worthwhile while shopping in Nepal.
Patan is world’s best shopping destination for local carpet. These carpets are handmade, are of approximately 100 cm by 180 cm and usually died with vegetable dyes in pastel shades and depict dragon and Tibetan Buddhist symbols. These carpets are found in both traditional and modern designs and normally made up of wool, silk and cotton. Carpets are popular floor coverings in Europe.
The handmade mithila paintings are popular not only in Nepal but also in European countries. The main center of mithila paintings is Janakpur- the capital city of ancient kingdom of Mithila, and the birth place of Sita –heroine of Ramayana. These paintings were painted during the marriage ceremony of Lord Rama and Sita in the request of King Janak. The women of south make beautiful paintings on the floor, wall, paper, canvas, and clothes.
Mithila paintings can easily be found in handicraft shops of Kathmandu and other places of Nepal.
Jewelry and gems:
Kathmandu is a good start for the shopping of jewelry. It has some of the best goldsmiths and silversmiths who make wonderful piece of jewelry be it earrings, chains, ring, necklaces, bracelets or other jewelries.
Tea and spices:
Ilam is world famous for tea. It produces different variety of tea and exports it throughout the world.
The spices like nutmeg, ginger, saffron, mace, anise, fenugreek, black pepper, coriander seeds and other aromas are easily available in Nepali markets.
Nepali souvenirs include anything and everything like metal –ware (karuwa -water jars, anti -liquor jars, bowls, and hanging oil lamps, paper products (writing pads, journals, calendars, lamp shades made up of lokta paper), musical instruments (sarangi- Nepali version of violin, madal-drum, basuri-flute, murchanga, panchebaja), Khukuri, thangka, pashmina ,tea, spices,jute baskets, jewelry, gems,carpets, paintings, rudraksha (rosary), antiques etc.
Kathmandu’s Basantpur, Patan’s Mangal bazaar, Kathmandu’s Thamel are the best places for buying souvenirs.