Nepal Shopping Tips by GillianMcLaughlin

Nepal Shopping: 74 reviews and 77 photos

Thanka detail - Nepal

Thanka detail

Various shops around Durbar Square: Thanka

There are many shops selling Thankas in and around Kathmandu. Thankas are paintings, traditionally created by Buddhist monks as a form of meditation. They are amazingly intricate, and a good one is a fantastic souvenir to take back.

The most intricate depict the "Wheel of Life", the passage of the soul to Nirvana: seven rings arranged according to the phases of passage, for example fire, lotus etc.

What to buy: The secret is to find a good thanka and to know what you're looking for. Prices vary enormously, as does quality. Some come from real Buddhist monks, some are done by students in special schools and others are rip-offs.

The main give-away is the amount of detail. They are incredibly intricate. On the Wheel of Life, check the little buddhas: if they have individual faces and discernable fingers on their hands, you are on the right track.

What to pay: The bigger they are, the more work has gone into them and the more they are likely to cost. Smallish ones (30 X 60 cm) can take a month to complete. In 1997 I spent 140 USD on two. I took them to a wonderful framer in Brussels, a company that undertakes framing for the main galleries and museums. They have seen many thankas over the years but they commented that my two were some of the best examples they had framed.

Address: Street names in Kathmandu!

Directions: With your back to the living goddess walk up the street ahead - there is a collection of thanka shops on your right.

Theme: Art

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 9, 2004
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