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Wood Carving has always been the pride of Kathmandu Valley and holds a special place in the valley’s history and culture. Based mainly on Hindu and Buddhist scriptures and mystical structures, wood carvings can take different forms, ranging from floral patterns and animals to deities, religious symbols, or geometrical shapes. The Newari ethnic group, predominantly residing in the valley, can be credited for the majority of the crafts that stand out in the streets. In cities such as Bhaktapur or Bungamati, one can witness the distinctive Newari art showcased in the old houses.
Woodcarving has played a significant role in enhancing the beauty of the Kathmandu Valley, much like other monuments and architects. Certainly, the intricate details and exquisite designs which adorn temples and houses, showcasing the mastery of local craftsmanship, add to the overall beauty of the valley. This traditional art form has a rich historical legacy, dating back to the 13th century in Nepal as evidenced by the Indrasvara Mahadev temple, built in 1396. Over the centuries, woodcarving has flourished, particularly during the Malla and Licchavi periods from the 13th to the 18th century.
Enter the world of traditional Newari art and experience wood carving in a fun and authentic way in historic Bhaktapur. During the four-hour workshop, a local expert will guide you through the whole experience, providing knowledge about the cultural significance of wood carving in Nepal, instructing you to use tools, and finally, helping you finish the craft. Afterwards, your hard work will be rewarded with a break where you can enjoy a delicious Newari dish for lunch. At the end of the workshop, take the craft carved with beautiful Newari art as a decoration for your home or as a gift to a loved one.
Firstly when you arrive in Bhaktapur, you will be walking through the traditional alleys of the pottery square. The charming ambience of the wood workshop adorned with exquisite woodcrafts, welcomes you along with the traditional welcome from the artisans. Then, the woodcarving adventure begins.
Local experts of woodcarving will be your knowledgeable guides throughout the entire experience, making the process easier. The class begins with an introduction of woodcarving and its historical importance. Afterwards, the instructor will introduce you to the tools used in shaping the wood, each serving a distinct purpose. The instructor will then provide you a draft knot where you will be carving the patterns. Initially, you will start by carving an infinity knot, gradually familiarising yourself with the tools: This part of the workshop typically lasts between 1 to 1.5 hours depending on the speed of the participant.
Once the carving is eventually complete, the product is further painted with the participant’s chosen colours and is ready to be taken home. During the four-hour workshop, you will have an authentic experience of wood carving. The experience additionally includes a delicious Newari lunch* which guests can enjoy during a well-deserved break. After your hard work, carved with aesthetic Newari art, is finished, it is an excellent gift for a loved one or even a decorative element for your home.
Later you will be visiting around Bhaktapur to explore the narrow historic alleys with an experienced guide. You will be fascinated by the richness of medieval art and architecture around its Durbar squares.