If you are looking at buying genuine Bhutan product then we have compiled a list of places you can go to.
One of the most preserved cultures of our country Bhutan is handicrafts which symbolizes our tradition and cultural values. You will love to see the uniqueness in craftsmanship of Bhutan. Arts and crafts were promoted and practiced from the early centuries. If you visit Bhutan, you need to take some souvenirs when you return back and the best choices are handicrafts items. Before you get some guides from where to shop authentic Bhutanese handicrafts, let’s know about types of handicrafts first.
There are 13 categories of arts and crafts in Bhutan known as the ‘Zorig Chusum’. The first one is weaving which is called Thagzo. Weaving skills are passed down from generation to generation and is a beautiful art by the women. In our country, we have three types of loom which are used such as weaving pedal loom, back-strap loom and card loom.
The second one is known as Shagzo which is the art of wood turning and is traditionally practiced in the eastern side of Bhutan. Craftsmen make wooden cups and bowls known as Dapa and Phobs which you can decorate if you ever buy them. People usually offer them as gifts nowadays.
Thirdly comes Lhazo which are paintings capturing the imagery of the Bhutanese landscape. Shingzo is carpentry works which plays major part in making fortress, temples, places or houses. Then comes the Parzo which is major carving done on stone, slates and woods. The masks that you see in festivals are all carved out of wood by hands. A unique carving that takes attention of most tourists is the carvings of phalluses in different sizes and shapes. These phalluses are usually hung on the doors of the houses as people believe it drives out evil.
You will also see Jimzo which is clay work. This is an ancient craft where they sculpt clay statues and even clay potteries. Nowadays, people buy these clay potteries for decoration or show piece. In the Bronze Age, the Lugzo art spread. People made cups, urns, vases and weapons and armors for war out of bronze. Another art for making traditional ornaments is known as Troeko. The craftsmen use precious stones such as turquoise, corals and metals such as gold and silver. They craft necklaces, bangles, earrings, earrings, brooches, amulets and containers for ritual objects.
Lastly is the art of tailoring which is called Tsemzo. Tsemzo is classified into art of embroidery, art of appliqué and art of traditional Bhutanese boot. You can also buy a beautiful traditional Bhutanese boot which has grown its popularity to be worn in casual dresses as well.
With the knowledge of the above handicrafts, shop your favorite authentic Bhutanese handicraft. Here are some of the most authentic shops to buy handicrafts of Bhutan in Thimphu.
Places to check genuine Bhutan product
This handicraft shop stays open from 9 am till 8 pm. This shop is best for you if you want to buy larger items such as bamboo boxes, metal ewers, monastic trumpets, horse saddles and carpets. You will see antiques which are all stamp sealed from the National Commission of Cultural Affairs which means that you can safely take through customs.
NADO POIZOKHANG INCENSE SHOWROOM
This incense showroom is located in Thori Lam. You will find varieties of incense in the shop which is made at the nearby Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory. You can visit the factory to see how the production of incense is done.
SANGAY ARTS & CRAFTS
This handicraft shop is located in Pedzoe Lam. Here, you will see the works by students of the National Institute for Zorig Chusum. The owner itself is the former student of the institute.
YARKAY CENTRAL BUILDING
In the centre of the town, you will see a building named Yarkay Central Building. This building has several handicrafts shop such as Yangkha Arts and Crafts and Kelzang Handicrafts. Yangkha mainly sells Thangka paintings and Kelzang sells hand-woven scarves, kira and silk bags.
You can reach this handicraft market from the centenary farmers market and go across the Kundeyling Baazam cantilever footbridge. You will find everything like wooden bowls, printing blocks, amulets, mala beads, yak tails and ornaments. Most of the items are made from Nepal, so ask for help from your guide to advise you on the purchase.
TARAYANA RURAL PRODUCTS
Tarayana Rural Products is a NGO, established by Queen Mother of Bhutan. The NGO supports rural communities across Bhutan by selling and marketing the traditional crafts. You will find wide varieties of handicrafts with the good quality.
SEPHUB GYELTSHEN TSHONGKHANG
If you feel to experience wearing gho and kira, then visit this cloth shop. This cloths store has ready made gho and kira which will be comfortable for you to wear by yourself. You will find hand-woven gho and kira as well.
AUTHENTIC BHUTANESE CRAFTS BAZAAR
You will find a handicraft market in front of the Taj Hotel. This market has a row of authentic handicrafts shops which are only produced in Bhutan. You will find everything which are hand made Bhutanese souvenirs. You will also find items such as hand-woven ties, wine clothes, bookmarks, stoles and purse.
So, you can start window shopping and find a beautiful handicraft souvenir which you want to take back to your home and cherish your visit in Bhutan.