Kathmandu Valley is a land blessed with fabulous temperate weather, rich fertile fields, and an artistically endowed population consisting predominantly of Newars, the original inhabitants of the enchanted valley. No matter how hot it is during summer days, the evenings are invariably cool and pleasant, though the huge growth in population coupled with thousands of newer concrete structures and hundreds of thousands of fume-emitting vehicles forces old-timers to complain that the weather is no more what it once was. The valley, which once grew a multitude of agricultural produce on its nutrient-filled fields, grows substantially less produce, primarily because of rapid urbanization. Luckily, amidst all this, one factor has remained somewhat unchanged, that is, the artistically endowed Newars have continued to hand down skills and vocations from generation to generation. Skills that they seem to have in their genes. What is more, the community has many different sub-castes, with different sub-castes taking up a different type of vocation. For instance, the Shakyas are particularly proficient silversmiths, the Shilpakars are fantastic wood carvers and the Chitrakars are fabulous painters. In the same way, the Tamrakars are great at working on copper. It should also be noted that among the three big cities of the valley, that is, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan (or Lalitpur), the last mentioned has the biggest concentration of such artistically gifted Newars, and for this reason, it is known as the ‘City of the Arts’. Now, coming to Tamrakars particularly, the word is derived from ‘tama’ meaning copper and ‘aakar’ meaning shape (or, to give shape). In the local language (Nepal Bhasa), they are known as ‘Tamo’ or ‘Tamot’ and they are mostly concentrated in the heart of Patan, more specifically nearby Patan Durbar Square. South of this square, you will find rows of shops chock-a-block with copper, brass, and bronze ware. Note the shop’s names: the words ‘Tamrakar’ or ‘Tamot’, will figure somewhere in it. Tamot Traders in Tangal and Tamrakar Handicrafts in Chakrabahil, for example. Some of these shops are at least three generations old. The Tamrakars have played an important role in Nepali culture, more so in its traditional architecture which is evident in every temple, in every religious icon, as well as in many homes and hotels. You are liable to find many elements made of copper or its major alloys, brass and bronze. Traditional kitchen utensils are also made using these metals. In older times, almost all religious items were made of copper but later, brass began to be used as well. One can assume that this was due to the cost of brass being lower than copper. Copperware has always been highly valued because it can be resold immediately. This is one reason why traditional gifts for newlyweds included ‘gagris’ and ‘ghyampas’ (copper vessels for various household use). Another reason being that copper has valuable health benefits too. Many believe that drinking water kept overnight in a copper vessel aids good health. Aside from this, the intricate toranas above temple doorways all over the valley are repousse works in copper. The statues of various gods and goddesses inside shrines are also of copper. Items used for Buddhist religious rituals are also of copper, such as: the ‘sherkem’ and the ‘bhumbha’ (small containers for offering holy water), the ‘pauwahi’ (holding rice for offering), the ‘mana’ (prayer wheel), and the ‘dhupdani’ (incense holder). Newars who follow Hinduism make use of items like: the ‘kalaha’ and the ‘kotaha’ (for carrying puja items), the ‘khadelu’ (hanging oil lamp), and the ‘panas’ (lamp stand). Indeed, copper is an important part of the heritage and culture of the valley. If more vindication was needed, one has only to visit a couple of Newari homes to see that they will invariably have a number of copper ‘gagris’ and ‘ghyampas’ around.
Sustainability |Jun 21, 2023
There are two versions of this trek, the short one lasting six days, and the longer one lasting 10 days. Here’s how the 6-day trek works. You start off from Pokhara driving down to Galeswar via Beni. From here, you begin trekking and reach Bas Kharka (1525 m) in some three hours.
Tours |Jun 16, 2023
On the way to Pokhara on the scenic Prithvi Highway, you will come across a small town called Bimal Bazaar in Tanahun District. A half hour from here will take you to the largest cave in the country, the Siddha Cave, which is also said to be the largest cave in all of South East Asia.
Nepal |May 7, 2014
Buddha Jayanti, which falls on 4th May 2015 this year, is not just a day to celebrate Lord Gautam Buddha’s birth, but also to celebrate his whole life, from birth to enlightenment
Others |Jun 18, 2023
Always wanted a tattoo but never knew what to get, or where? That problem was solved when my girlfriend gave me the smallest Christmas present ever. I looked at the wrapped up gift, which was about the size of a playing card, with utter disappointment.
Nepal |Oct 9, 2022
Among the newer attractions, one can also look forward to visiting the Hidden Valley of Happiness, as Tsum Valley is referred to in ancient Buddhist texts. It has not been long that this enchanted valley has been opened to outsiders, a matter of about only five years.
Tours |Jul 4, 2023
A leisurely stroll along Patan’s busy roads, alleys and lanes bestows the stroller with wonderful spectacles, some of which you will probably remember for a long time to come, especially if you happen
Trekking |Jun 20, 2023
Nepal has nine national parks and three wildlife reserves where one will come across a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Trekking |May 22, 2014
It is not for nothing that the name ‘Sherpa’ has become a brand name signifying anything and anyone that is brave, hardy, trustworthy, and enduring.
Nepal |Oct 21, 2019
Sometimes there isn’t a clear answer to the most commonly asked questions, like “When is the best time to go?”
Others |Jun 12, 2023
A long time back, a friend had the opportunity to visit Copenhagen in Denmark. He took along a score or so of Nepali silver jewelry with him and showed them around in some shops on Stroget (the city’s famous pedestrian street).
Tours |May 22, 2023
Before you go white water rafting, you might want to know more about the technicalities. Well, first of all, there’s a grading system for the rivers, with Grade 1 being the most tranquil and Grade 6 being really hazardous, so much so, that you wouldn’t want to go rafting there.
Community Homestays in Nepal |Jun 15, 2023
Annapurna trek provides a unique and close-up insight into village life in this beautiful area of the Himalayas. Mohare hill (3,300 m), offers spectacular panoramic views of the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri and Machhapuchhare (Fish Tail Mountain), some of the highest mountains of the world, and forms a highlight of this trip.