From world-class outdoor gear to some of the best bookshops in Asia, Nepal truly is a shopper’s paradise even for budget travelers offering you a wide assortment of authentic items that depict ancient culture and tradition. Nepal surpasses almost every country in terms of souvenirs as nowhere else will you find streets and markets like you do in Nepal that explode with multi-hued fabrics, colors, antiques, jewels, arts, sculptures, stones, trinkets and much more! You’ll walk through uncountable Buddha statues, prayer wheels, and Thangka (colorful Tibetan-influenced religious paintings show various aspects of the Buddha), Pashminas, precious stones, beads, woodcrafts and numerous handicrafts as you walk through the streets of Thamel, Bhaktapur and Patan. With a little money and some time you can obtain the best buys this little country has to offer. Spend your last Nepali rupees on souvenirs for friends and family back home.
Thanka paintings are very authentic traditional Buddhist cultural and religious artistic hand work of Nepal which reflects real Buddhism philosophy by its unique arts. It often uses metals like silver or gold thread for embroidery. Originally, thangkas served as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha. You can visit one of the thangka painting schools in Kathmandu to see how these works of art are made and take home your own.
Jewelry, Ornaments and Precious Stones
Many indigenous Nepalese and Tibetan style jewelries can be found in Nepali market. Some of the best souvenirs to buy are bracelets, rings, earrings and bangles. In Kathmandu’s bead shops, rough and hefty beads of turquoise, opal, and coral are organized in bins of various sizes and shapes.
Idols, Images, Statues and Sculptures
Buddhist and Hindu images of deities and Gods are one of the most famous souvenir items which are antique with its traditional design. The brightly, not to say garishly, painted masks of Hindu gods are available in various sizes. Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, is one of the more popular deities. Most masks and idols are made in the town of Bhaktapur, and are used in traditional dances in September.
Khukuri, the Gurkha Knife
Khukuri is a medium-length curved knife each Gurkha soldier carries with him in uniform and in battle. You can find numerous Khukuris of various shapes and sizes in the market that would make a unique souvenir.
In Buddhist practice, singing bowls are used as a support for meditation, trance induction and prayer. Today, singing bowls are made from a combination of many metals and, when struck with a small wooden mallet, create a beautiful and calming hum.
If you’ve been trekking in Nepal or visited a monastery or two you might have noticed monks spinning prayer wheels around. They are available in most markets and are lighter than they look. Prayer Flags are inscribed with auspicious symbols, invocations, prayers, and mantras. Prayer flags are said to bring happiness, long life and prosperity to the flag planter and those in the vicinity.
Cashmere & Pashmina
Nothing feels better than Cashmere and Pashmina on your skin. Kathmandu is filled with vendors selling scarves, shawls and clothing made out of it.
Puppets are some of the souvenir items that accurately reflect Nepalese culture and lifestyles. For the best in quality and selection, Bhaktapur is the ideal place whereby you can marvel at the tiny puppets. Just be sure to have them packed well for the journey home as they are delicate.
Nepalese carvings & woodcraft
Woodcraft is the specialty of the Newar artisans of the Kathmandu Valley. Among the items that you wish to purchase while in Kathmandu, are windows and frames, statues of gods, wooden boxes, vase, traditional figures etc. The wooden images are made by using tools that were used a thousand years ago.
Tibetan rug making is an ancient, traditional craft. Tibetan rugs are traditionally made from Tibetan highland sheep’s wool. The process of making Tibetan rugs is unique in the sense that the knotting method is different from that used in other rug making traditions worldwide.
The eastern districts of Nepal, notably illam, are where excellent varieties of Himalayan tea are grown and produced. Though most of it is exported, shops in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal offer a wide selection of the fine tea, packaged attractively as suitable gifts, and guaranteed as a great brew.
Asia is an ancient spice stronghold. Therefore, Kathmandu, in the middle of Asia, is no exception. Kathmandu is, in fact, the entrecote of spices-those exotica to flavor curries and other dishes. Nutmeg, ginger, saffron, mace, green anise, fenugreek, peppers, and coriander seeds are some of the spices you can take home.
From classic Nepali folk tunes to the soothing Buddhist and Hindu hymns, Nepali music record is a must when it comes to your list of souvenirs.