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Charikot and Dolakha - Trekkings
Milk Products Forest Products
Weaving Nepali paper photo gallery
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Milk Products

Milk can be preserved for deferred consumption or for transport in a number of ways. lf you trek through some Sherpa villages or meet their yak and chauri herds along the trails you will certainly see, and if you are willing to taste them, get to eat and drink their products.

Ghee (butter) and mahi (thin curd)

Direct separation of fat from milk is not possible in ihe traditional method. Therefor, butter-making starts by letting the milk coagulate for 1 -3 days, after filtering ard boiling it. lt is then poured into a big wooden container known as a theki. There it is churned by a beater (madani) for 45 to 60 minutes.

This chum-staff moves in alternate rotational movements caused by the pulling of a leather strap which is wound around the axle of the beater.

Warm water ts added during this process until the volume of the liquid is almost doubled.

In this way the milk fat separates out and collects as a thick layer at the mouth of the theki from where it is removed carefully. The residual liquid is what is termed Mahi and is consumed fresh.

The milk fat is until slowly heated over the fire the moisture vaporizes and impurities are separated from the ghee or butter. The ghee is now slowly decanted and poured into tins or drums for self-consumption or for transport and sale (at high prices) in Kathmandu.

Further refining may be necessary before it is sold on the market. However, there is nothing better patatoes fried in Sherpa gee - do accept the offer if you get one.


Forest Products

A large number of people are still dwelling in our forests. For their own use but also for sale they are producing many different goods:

Nepali Paper (often incorrectly called rice paper)

Our region is one of the main paper producing areas in the country. You will find paper makers in and around Bharabise, in Suspa, Bigu and in the Kalinchowk and Chardung forest ranges, from about December to the beginning of monsoon.

The raw material used is the inner bark of a shrub whose local name is lokta (Daphne bholua and Daphne Papyraceae). A different plant is Daphne edgeworthia here called Argheli from which people make ropes and strings. This lokta bark is dried and thoroughly soaked for 1 day. pulp is now placed in a wooden container and stirred with a mixer. day. After being cleaned from impurities, it is boiled together with Khasru (oak) ash for several hours. This is the most strenuous part of the job; it takes 3 full hours tor just 2kg of pulp.

The lokta pulp is now placed in wooden containers and stirred with a mixer. The resulting homogenous mass is poured into a bamboo-framed light cotton cloth which is dipped in pond slowly running a water.This moulding process demands considerable skill. The frame is put out in the sun and the thinly spread out pulp will dry in another 2 hours.

The income of traditional paper maker has a been calculated at about Rs.7 per day, which is less than that of un-skilled manual labour or porter. Efforts are being made to improve the quality paper from our area as well as the marketing arrangements in order to increase the benefits directly accruing to the producers. The big problem, however, is the decline in the raw material availability. Only systematic Lokta management or the establishment of plantations can solve this problem and save this old trade from extinction.

more photos Nepali paper


Allo is the local name of the so-called stinging or Himalayan nettle (sisnurtica dioica; family -urhcaceae). Traditional products from this nettle - we hope that you will see some, but never touch one - include the head-strap (namlo) used by the porters, bags, ropes, strings, fishing nets and even cloths. lt grows willd in forests between 2000 and 3500 metres above sea level.

The thread from which the above products are woven on a back-strap loom is obtained in the following way:

The stem is dried inner bark of the and then boiled, together with 3-4 hours ash. Then it is cleaned with water and baten with a wooden hammer in order to separate the binding material (lignin) from the fibre. The fibre is now dipped into water mixed with maize or paddy husk. From this fibre with a a very strong thread is obtained by hand-spinning small spindle called katuwa.

Due to the competition from other raw materials (cotton, nylon, acryl wool) the manufacture of Allo products is experiencing a slow decline. Unfortunately, this affects mostly the low-caste women from the remote hilly areas who are the main producers of such goods. At present, strong efforts are being made to improve the processing technology for Allo and to develop new products such as carpets which may find a market in Kathmandu and overseas.


Charcoal in our area has not so far been used for heating and cooking purposes, but it is an essential pre-requisite for blacksmiths and goldsmiths because of its calorific value. The traditional processing method consists of buming partly dried wood in a circular pit covered with earth, fresh twigs and leaves. This cover prevents too much air in-flow and a complete burning of the wood into ashes.

The Buming of the wood starts from the bottom where the charcoal is collected. It takes several hours to produce a full load of charcoal. This industry today is seriously threatening our forests, since the charcoal producers are felling trees in an uncontrolled way instead of using, fallen or dead trees from more remote areas. lf such trees could be used and the charcoal be produced in portable kilns, a large number of jobs could be created in those areas; at the same time this woulde alleviate the energy shortage of the Kathmandu valley and its industries, since the transport of charcoal is comparatively cheaper than that of firewood, when its calorific value is taken into consideration
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