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Wood Carvings in Nepal

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Woodcarving in Nepal has been most highly developed in the Kathmandu Valley, which comprises Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts. These three are home to the world’s rarest wooden art. Perhaps nowhere else in the world are the carvings as sophisticated, dramatic and extensively incorporated in construction. Even the name, “Kathmandu,” indicates the unique focus of this area. Derived from the Sanskrit word kastamandap, whichis the conjunction of kasta, meaning wood and mandapa, meaning temple or hall, Kathmandu means “temple made of wood.”

At the western edge of Kathmandu’s Durbar Square one finds the structure known as Kastamandap, the oldest surviving timber structure in the valley, its three tiers of pagoda roof rising fifty feet above a long veranda. The structure dates back 800 years, and legend tells how it was constructed entirely from the trunk of a single sal tree(Shorea robusta). Yet with the extent of wooden temples and iconography throughout Kathmandu and vicinities, a more accurate definition of “Kathmandu” would be “city of temples made of wood.”

Temple pillars, Deity icons and palace portals display the epitome of local carving skill. Apart from these, the predominant use of elaborate woodwork is in doorways and windows of the wealthy, though even common households strive to embellish their structures. Usually, frames of doors and windows are made of hardwood–a painstaking job. Hardwoods are first seasoned for a number of years so that the doors and windows can last for centuries. Frames are primarily carved with floral designs. The doors themselves are usually made of softwood and carved with images of Gods and Goddesses. But wherever the doors are exposed to harsh conditions, they are made of hardwood as well. Some are decorated with the eyes of Buddha. Others have designs of the traditional religious water pot, kalash, fish and flowers, all symbols of good fortune.

The Nepalese have developed woodcarved windows as has no other culture [see inside front cover]. Apart from many standard options, the preferred ornamental designs are the lotus window, mesh, chariot, peacock and oriel windows. Windows in Nepal serve a higher function than those of Western architecture. They are not mere inlets for air and light, but are portals of peace and beauty. Sculpted upon them are images of Gods and Goddesses who are expected to protect residents within from evil forces. Certain windows are not even meant for looking through. Their main function is artistic and symbolic. As such, many styles of window do not open. The option to peer out is found mostly in balcony windows, through which modest and reserved women can view the happenings in the city without becoming involved. Such windows are symbols of higher social and economic status of those people.

The Nepalese woodcarving tools are simple and traditional: chisel, adze, handsaw, wooden mallet and jack plane. Craftsmen embellish wood for interior decoration as well as for exterior use. For centuries, a particular caste among the Nepalese Newars, called “Silpakar,” has dutifully preserved the country’s woodcarving heritage. Lately, however, peoples of other castes have joined the occupation. Originally supported and encouraged by the Malla kings, the art is now supported primarily through purchases made by Western tourists.

Patan is known as city of FINE ARTS in the world.

Most Silpakars are still engaged themselves in various aspects of the woodcarving industry. Silpakars are prominent at Jombahal, in Lalitpur, and out of 700 Silpakar families in Bugmati, 300 operate their own woodcarving shops. Om Krishna Silpakar,  the owner of Om Wood Carving & Jk wood carving,run by Anjana Tamrakar  (9841750785 0),purna wood Carving  at Patan  are  such  a family.Wood carving Industries  estd in 1967,by Moti Lal silpakar  ,at Patan industrial Estate is  a pioneer wood carvings exporters in international market  who introduce a wood carvings business  in Nepal.

According to him, the woodcarving industry was monopolized by the men until 15 years ago. Lately, women have strongly shown their skill. Of Krishna’s 22 employees, 6 are women. He claims to prefer women to men because the women tend to remain in the profession longer. He points to Nani Maiya, who has been working with him for 22 years, and Lakshmi Shakya, with him for 20 years. So far, he has been able to train 400 to 500 prentice woodcarvers. He states that the wage of woodworkers ranges between 75 cents to US$5.00 per day, depending on the quality of work. According to Krishna, window prices range between a modest $15 to a profitable $7,000. It is the world-renowned peacock window which fetches maximum returns.

Om Krishna, like most Silpakars, feels an abiding love of and responsibility to his tradition. “I am proud that I have protected the wood carving industry started by my forefathers,” he said. “I have been able to introduce Nepal to some 40 to 50 countries through the exports of my woodwork. This gives me great satisfaction. During my childhood, I would be thrilled when tourists visited. I still remember fondly when King Tribhuvan and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited our workshop.”

Of late, modern construction has threatened to usurp traditional architecture. Yet the old-style carvings still lure tourists. In an effort to preserve existing ancient works, the Bhaktapur municipality has strictly prohibited the demolition of traditional buildings for replacement with modern ones.

History relates how woodcarving in Nepal developed in Kathmandu Valley largely during the Malla dynasty, which was founded in 1350 by Jayasthiti Malla. The Malla period continued for almost 600 years and was a glorious era in the history of Nepal. Mallas developed trade and commerce, industry, religion and culture. They reached a high level of perfection in the fields of art and architecture. John Sanday in his book Monuments of the Kathmandu Valley writes, “The traditional buildings that are mostly in evidence throughout the valley today represent the craft and architecture of the Malla dynasty, which started in the fourteenth century, survived the early Shah period, but rapidly faded during the Rana era.” The Rana period started in Nepal with the rise of Jang Bahadur Rana in 1846 and the system crumbled down in 1951. One of the reasons why the artistic and architectural activity flourished during the Malla period was that the kings protected such activity. Whatever architecture Nepal has to be proud of today is not from modern construction but solely due to the beautiful art cultivated by the Malla regime.

Today, things are not all favorable for the Nepalese craftsmen. Woodcarvers have their own challenges to overcome. Ramlal Silpakar complains, “The depletion of forests has created a shortage of sal trees, which take at least a hundred years to mature in the forest. It is not within the means of many of the craftsmen to afford the skyrocketing prices of sal wood.” Sita Maiya adds, “Lack of incentive from the side of the state is also a serious problem. In the past, the carving industry prospered because of protection from the state. But now, who cares for the industry?” Ram Bahadur, who has been in carving for generations, states, “We have to stand and make a living on our own. Prospects for training are limited. Many craftsmen families who used to carve wonders have abandoned their craft.” And Shyam Sakya, a prominent woodcarvings businessman says that the domestic market has been whittled down to just the affluent.

A unique success is the Hotel Dwarikas, which is the lifetime achievement of late Dwarika Das Shrestha. The hotel is the manifestation of his effort to restore and preserve a culture and a heritage. Shrestha rescued ancient carvings from demolition sites and commissioned new works from local craftsmen, all of which are maintained and displayed in the hotel, which he created to be a “living museum.” Dwarikas (www.dwarikas.com) is now dynamically managed by Shrestha’s wife, Ambica, who is also the managing director of Kathmandu Travels and Tours.

Dwarika’s is a rare exception. The industry, thought by some to be in trouble, is mainly cushioned by the handicraft centers run by private businessmen. Craftsmen who long ago never had to worry about marketing, are now faced with carving a niche for themselves in the evolving Nepalese economy.

July 26, 2017 |

New cable car services in pending

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More than 18 cable car companies are trying to operate cable services in popular tourism & religious regions of Nepal like: Kalinchowk Bhagwati, Muktinath, Swargadwari, Annapurna region, Pathivara Temple etc. Manakamana cable car has successfully proved that development in cable car services help for progress of landlocked country like Nepal. However, unfortunately due to sudden change of  the authority to issue  license from one govt dept to another govt authority, there have occurred various problems. As a result all licenses of more than 18 cable car services providers have greatly suffered. & develompent of our country in cable car sector is badly effected .

July 26, 2017 |

Prices increased in constructions materials

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Prices of major  construction materials:bricks, gravels,cement, sand and iron rods, have increased by  20 percent in the domestic market in the last three months, as post-earhquake reconstruction works have fuelled demand for these products.

Each tipper (265 cubic feet) of sand now costs Rs30,000. The product used to cost Rs25,000 around three months ago, according to Narayan Paudel, owner of Jayamata Pathivara Suppliers, a shop located at Kalanki that sells sand, gravels and bricks.

Prices of cement, which commands 28 percent of the construction budget on average, have also gone up by up to 10 percent in the domestic market in the last three months.

Nepal-made Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) now costs Rs900-Rs920 per 50-kg sack, according to Bhim KC of Ramjanaki Hardware Centre at Kalanki. The product was available for Rs850 per 50-kg sack three months ago.

Price of Nepal-made Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC), on the other hand, which hovered around Rs730-Rs750 per 50-kg sack three months ago, has now jumped to Rs800.

Prices of construction materials are going up lately as post-earthquake reconstruction and other construction works are moving ahead at a faster pace, according to the Federation of Contractors’ Associations of Nepal (FCAN).

“May, June and July are peak season for construction works in Nepal, as government-led construction works rise during this time of the year. Also, demand for construction materials has gone up lately due to post-quake reconstruction works. But supply of many of these materials has not been able to catch up with the demand. Hence, the price hike,” FCAN President Sharad Kumar Gauchan said.

Because of these reasons, price of iron rod has also gone up by around 3 percent to Rs77 per kg. Around two weeks ago, price of iron rod stood at Rs75 per kg, according to Rabi Maharjan, an accountant at New Siddhi Hardware Centre in Kalanki.

Despite this, prices of other construction materials like bricks and gravels have remained stable in the last three months.

Each tipper (265 cubic feet) of gravel used to cost Rs30,000 three months ago. This price has not changed over the period of last three months. This is the same for bricks.

Bricks of ‘Quality No. 1’ used to cost Rs16-Rs17 per unit three months ago, while bricks of ‘Quality No. 2’ used to cost Rs13-Rs14 per unit. Similarly, bricks of ‘Quality No. 3’ used to cost Rs9 per unit three months ago. Prices of different varieties of bricks have so far remained unchanged, according to traders of construction materials.

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-07-11/

July 26, 2017 |

Iron & Steel News

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According to (DoC), iron and steel worth Rs 29.63 billion have been imported in the country in the period between mid-July to mid-November of current fiscal against the import of the same commodities standing at Rs 13.03 billion in the same period of last year.

Domestic steel and rod manufacturers have said that this significant surge in import of steel and rod is due to sudden boom in construction sector in Nepal.

“Construction works — from houses to big projects — have picked up significantly across the country at present which has swelled the demand for construction materials, including that of iron and steel,” said Dhurba Kumar Shrestha, former president of Nepal Steel Rolling Mills Association (NSRMA), adding that a large number of steel and rods was imported in the market from India following production constraint from domestic manufacturers due to rise in load-shedding.

Four months’ data
Year Import Export
2015-2016 Rs 13.03 billion Rs 1.1 billion
2016-2017 Rs 29.63 billion Rs 1.2 billion

Domestic manufacturers have also said that the current surge in import is of temporary nature and would come down once reconstruction works of houses, heritages and projects affected by the earthquake last year draws to an end.

“The demand for construction materials suddenly skyrocketed after the government lifted ban on construction of new buildings and houses that was imposed after the earthquake,” said Kiran Sakhwa, vice president of NSRMA, adding that the market share of Indian iron and steel has gone up following excessive demand. Otherwise, Sakhwa said that domestic production is sufficient to meet the normal demand of the commodities.

There are 16 iron and steel mills operating in the country. According to Sakhwa, the annual domestic demand of iron and steels is around 700,000 metric tonnes and domestic manufacturers are able to meet this demand.

“Manufacturers can now run their factories in full-fledged manner as the government has reduced the power cut drastically. This will directly increase our production and contribute towards substituting imports from India,” Sakhwa sad.

According to entrepreneurs, the demand for iron and steel is increasing by 20 per cent annually.

Meanwhile, DoC data shows that export of iron and steel from Nepal increased by 4.9 per cent over the review period. Nepal exported iron and steel worth Rs 1.2 billion in the first four months of 2016-17 compared to Rs 1.1 billion worth of iron and steel exported during the same period last year.


A version of this article appears in print on November 24, 2016 of The Himalayan Times

July 14, 2017 |

Furnishing in Nepal

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                            In today’s context, decorating our home office and places is one of the major concerned to the people. Apart from that the major challenge is to find out the such store or places where we can find out all the furnishing item such as curtain Sofa, Carpet, Shaggy, Blinds and many more.


                            Again in country like Nepal it is too difficult to find out the such places. In Nepal, the idea of decorating their home, office and other places at initial stage. The concept is at developing stage only. The major market of furnishing stores in Nepal is Kathmandu.

 

                             As I work now is one of the leading furnishing store in Nepal. So, according to my knowledge & experience, I have listed below the major furnishing store in Kathmandu.

 

                          Furnishing Stores in Nepal

Companies Contact No.
Kunal Furnishing, Jawalakhel, Lailipur 01-5546386/87
Durian Furnishing, Kumaripati, Lalitpur 01-5542440, 5524559
L A Decor, Putalisadak 01-4770540
Madan Furnishing, Kupondole 5523236
Prime Furnishing, Kupondol 5011692
Divine Decor, Kamladi 01-4225688, 4222208
Ambience, Baneshwor 01- 4078107
Emporious Furnishing, Teku 01- 4104522/ 23/ 24
Anand Furnishing, Teku 01-4241760
Star Decor, Teku 01- 423924
Home Pro, Pulchowk 01- 5535314
Dreams Furnishing, Teku 01- 4432020

July 8, 2017 |

Low Quality Construction, WHY?

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Most of the construction projects tendered by Government have not produced quality construction . The main reason  for this are :

  • There is lack of favorable environment to bid in low amount.
  • Contractor make all the bills even without completing the projects. Still, they make 10% profit.
  • Contractor should give commissions to Govt concerned Authority before getting payments.
  • Concerned Authority never checks the quality of constructions. They approve without detailed and quality inspection.
  • There is lack of transparency to local consumer. They are not given any authority to see the statement of the project by contractor.
  • They start the projects like road constructions at the end of fiscal year in rainy season. They undertake the project just to earn money illegally through corruptions. This happens mainly in blacktopping of the roads
July 8, 2017 |

Cost of Building a House in Kathmandu

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Do you want to construct a beautiful house in Kathmandu?

The season is favorable for construction. One should pay attention to even small details in order to avoid high expenses and to prevent human causalities in case of disasters.

June 30, 2017 |
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