Nepal is a souvenir lover's paradise where travelers, be it for gifting purposes or personal use, continue hunting for souvenirs while they are on vacation.
Are you in continuous search of gifts for friends, family members as well as souvenirs for yourself? Are you confused by a lot of options that exist around the stroll of local alleyways and shops?
Nepal is a beautiful country which has so much to offer to all of its visitors from views of mountains to lakes, colorful festivals to sacred offerings, serene nature to friendly and excited people etc. All of this makes visitors hard to detach themselves from the lap of Nepal or land of a specific city. However, one has to return to their home and all they can do is carry memory from this place to keep close with them for lifetime. Also, relatives and friends expect so much from your return from small things like chocolates to big things like paintings everything demands start coming to you. This is where the need for souvenirs come and don't worry too because you will find different items from your beloved Nepal to bring back home. The tourist areas of the country are packed with stores and stalls selling just about anything. So, if you are still in Nepal/city and are wandering about what to buy then here are some of the most famous things to buy in Nepal for souvenirs.
1. THANGKA PAINTINGS
Thangka, also known as paubhas, is the best thing to buy in Nepal if you ever visited here. Paintings are created originally and with a lot of dedication in Nepal which is also exported to USA, Japan etc. It is an intricate and very detailed painting portraying different gods and deities. Every thangka painting has its own messages and offers its own spiritual benefits. Thangka were first created by the Chitrakar caste around the 15th century in Nepal. Chitrakar caste is a small subgroup of the Newar caste. Later on, it started evolving slowly by varieties of colors and design. Thangka paintings are so special because they are painted using gemstones and finished with gold. It can surprise your relatives as it is best to hang on the front side of the room which adds more colors and life to the home.
Cost: Original thangka paintings range from USD 1,000 to USD 15,000 and copies of Thangka paintings range from USD 100 to USD 500.
Tips: Before rushing to buy thangka, first try to understand the meaning of every colour used in thangka and what specific god and deities represent.
Nepal, a country of dense forest and himalayas, is always famous for its spices. Original medicinal herbs found in Nepal carry a lot of benefits from adding taste in food to curing diseases. Akabare khursani, black salt, kalonji, ginger, alaichi, jwano, methi, dhania, tej patta, turmeric, timmur, pipli, yarsagumba and other thousands of spices are present in Nepal.The fragrance of these varieties of herbs can be felt in every Nepalese kitchen. The reasons behind tasty, mouthwatering and spicy Nepalses food is its spices. Nepalses spices have their own aroma and flavour, never to be found anywhere else on the planet so how can you return to your town without buying any of this. You can also buy some of the famous Ayurvedic medicines or cosmetic items made in Nepal.
Cost: Cost for spices in Nepal is cheaper than in any other countries. It is sold on the basis of gram and costs starts from USD 1.
3. LOCAL TEA AND COFFEE
Nepal is very famous for tea production. Traditional dried tea leaves provide fragrance on tea which makes you sip another cup too. One can taste the flavour of tea be it in first flush golden tips tea or silver tips tea, in the Ilam, tea cultivation city of Nepal in eastern highlands. Tea flavored with lemongrass or chai spices are also popular. Remember that high-quality teas should be drunk with lemon or sugar but never with milk. Apart from all this, Nepal also produces excellent organic coffee which is sold and served all over town. Tea of Nepal has an original taste which is produced in bulk quantity by a local people if Ilam in large land and later on it is distributed to all parts of Nepal. Once you use tea and coffee from Nepal, it will become an addiction.
Cost: 250 grams of tea starts at around USD 2
4. WOOD CARVINGS AND HANDICRAFTS
Nepal is very rich in art and culture. Newari people from 'Golden Age' started making architecture and handicraft as their businesses which later on made Nepal proud of it. Most of the foreigners know Nepal for its wood carving and other handicrafts. They are all made with very detailed care using hand. Wood carvings, made with wood, are filled by design of god, flowers and other many things. Both wood carving and handicrafts are perfect for decorating houses as they give life to art. You can ship a tiny statue or even a whole window frame, depending upon you and your estimated budget. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and designs. One can even take classes in Nepal for making wood carving and other handicrafts items by paying certain fees.
Cost: Depends upon the design and size, however, for a small statue it costs around USD 30 and other big items can cost upto USD 15,000.
5. GORKHALI KHUKURI
Nepal, known for being the country of brave Gorkhali all over the world, has its own kind of weapon which varies from other nations. Our ancestors used khukuri during war rather than guns and then after it started getting hype. Every khukuri comes in their own design and color. However, the most popular is one made by wood which represents the culture of Nepal. Still, Khukuri was a major weapon for the army during the wars. Many people in rural parts of Nepal still carry khukuri with them in their belts. One can see crossed Gurkha knives in pins representing Nepal. Being the national knife of Nepal, it is also given as a token of love in different cultures and religions. Many of these knives found in Kathmandu today are specifically made for tourists as a keepsake, making them a must-buy souvenir when visiting the country.
Cost: Simple, small and basic khukuri comes at around USD 20 - USD 15
6. PASHMINA ITEMS
In some famous shopping place, you can find pashmina items in every stall. Pashmina, also known as cashmere, is the most luxurious natural fabrics all over the world. It is made from the inner coats of the mountain goats called “Chyangra” which reside at the altitude of more than 3000m. Despite being light and soft in nature, it keeps your body warm. Pashmina shawls come in the first list of every visitor to buy in Nepal. They make a great fashion statement and they never go out of style which are perfect for any occasion. Besides shawls, don’t forget to look out for cardigans and blankets of pashmina to take back home. However, if you are buying then you need to be aware of chinese copy of the pashmina which looks similar but is of low quality.
Cost: It ranges from USD 5 to USD 200
7. MALA BEADS
Mala beads are popular among buddhist which we used during the time of meditation. Some people count mala while they are in meditation while others just carry it in hand and roam around the city because they believe that it holds a certain kind of power and calms the people. If you ever walked into buddhist area or stupas, you will see mala beads everywhere in the stall. Usually, in one mala , there are 108 beads whereas some small necklaces and bracelets contain 54 and 27 beads. At present scenario, people both in rural and urban areas are cultivating mala because of its high demand and cost. Chinese and Tibetan people visit Nepal just to export mala from here as Nepal is very rich in producing it. Today, not only buddhist but hindu are also starting to keep mala beads in their home because of the energy it supplies to one's body.
Cost: It highly depends on which MUKHI mala beads you are trying to buy. Simple mala beads cost around USD 10.
What can be more lovely and attractive than jewelry and ornaments to a female? Today not only females but male are also widely attracted towards jewelry to give a fashionable look to oneself. Newars and sunuwars are very dedicated towards crafting silver jewelry. Also, the silver jewelry found in Nepal are of 100% quality and also found at a reasonable cost. Be it silver or gold, beads or semi-precious stones, blue lapis or yak bone, Nepal has it all in its store. You can either buy something ready made or custom made, or you can also buy individual beads to create your own necklace. Many of the traditional Newari utensils are moulded in silver and make a very beautiful souvenir for you to take back home. Also, buy it for your girlfriend or crush, you can easily make them happy with it and can make a way to their hearts.
Cost: The starting price for jewels is around USD 20 and can be extended up to USD 15,000.
As soon as you enter the Nepali market, don't hesitate to bargain as bargaining is popular among Nepali. So feel free and ask for a discount.
WHERE TO BUY
In order to buy souvenirs, you can choose places like Ason, Thamel, New Road, Mahaboudha, Durbarmarg inside Kathmandu valley and outside valley you can pick whatever you want to within the same locality because it will be hard to get sme items in other locations.
Compiled by Kushum Kharel