How often do you know what to take from a country you visit? Do you take souvenirs because it looks pretty or knowing their meaning? Do you take unique never seen before items or just anything that is cheap and could be considered a gift? As foreigners from a foreign place in a foreign land we are not knowledgeable in the field of souvenirs that represents the country we visit. When we look into the word ‘Souvenir’, it means an item taken as a memento of the place (in our case), a person or an event so taking a wide legged elephant printed pant or a gem-bracelet back isn’t really a good idea of souvenir.
Nepal is a unique country when it comes to souvenirs. You will find the most unusual things in some places and honestly it’s tough to find a diamond in the rough among other things that are in every tourist areas that sell souvenirs. Not that they are bad, but these places need to up their game and get something that will actually sell and is unique. As a backpacker, we have a limited budget so it is understandable that you can’t afford everything and anything
Not being the smarty-pants but here are some stunning and meaningful souvenir ideas to take with you from Nepal. Prepare to take notes.
- Khukuri Knife:
Just be careful at the security checkpoint at the airport but Khukuri is one of the best items that reflect the exquisite Nepali craftsmanship and a proud history for the Nepalese. The Khukuri symbolizes bravery and pride of the ‘Bir Gorkhalis’ (The Brave Gurkhas) who were the military forces that protected Nepal as well as aided other countries (they were recruited by the UK military hence the title ‘British Gurkha’) with Khukuris as their main weapon. Now it is a keepsake that can be a rare item in the house or you can carry it around with you for protection (just kidding, highly not recommended- please don’t).
- Glass showcase:
You will find these amazing glass showcases in certain tourist or religious areas around Kathmandu. The showcases usually hold different temples and stupas that hold high value to different religious cultures of Nepal. The most popular showcase is of Pashupatipatinath as the gold plate looks luxurious and unique. It is a heavy and delicate souvenir to take back but it is worth the respect and value of the Nepalese religion. You can find these glass showcases in: Thamel, Pashupatinath Area, New Road (you need to travel deep into the markets), Gold shops and all the Durbar Square Areas i.e. Bhaktapur, Patan & Basantapur.
Dhaka is the Gucci of Nepal (yes, it is also the capital of Bangladesh). It is woven from pure cotton thread to craft unique traditional patterns that have geometric shapes and includes traditional colors- red and green. It comes from the eastern and western development regions of Nepal and are incorporated in traditional clothing for different ethnicity, cast & cultures and overall represents Nepal. Modern day dhaka can be found in the form of clothing (Saris, Nepali hat (Dhaka Topi), Shawls, Kurtas & Blouse), bed sheets, handkerchief and even table mats. Dhaka is a creative and unique fabric that represents Nepal and taking this home with you is definitely worth it!
- Marpha Brandy:
The mention of brandy as a souvenir excites you huh? Well, Marpha Brandy is produced in the village of Marpha, Mustang District of Nepal. This brandy (usually apple flavored) is created by fermenting the fruit’s juice and contains about 40-45% of alcohol. This is some strong stuff and a whiff of this brandy will make you dizzy. Fruits like apple, pear, peach and plum trees are naturally abundant in Marpha, Mustang also known as the apple capital of Nepal.
- Lakhe Mask:
If you’ve been to Nepal a few times now, you must be familiar to Lakhe or Lakhe Dance. Lakhe Masks are one of a kind that you can find only in Nepal and represents the Newari & Nepali culture. The mask is made of papier-mãché and yak tails for the hair. Lakhe is a demon from the Nepalese folklore that is portrayed as having a ferocious face with protruding fangs and mane-like red & black hair that later became protectors of the townspeople.
What are your thoughts on these great souvenir ideas? Do they portray the Nepal that you visited? And feel free to add your favorite souvenirs from Nepal that we missed out above.