Traditional Tibetan Rugs - artelino

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Articles Travel Jawalakhel Handicraft Center - artelino

Jawalakhel Handicraft Center - artelino

Tibetan Rugs Detail.If you should ever come to Kathmandu in Nepal, and if you are interested in Tibetan handicraft and especially in Tibetan rugs and carpets, do not miss to visit the Jawalakhel Handicraft Center in Patan, Lalitpur. The Handicraft Center is located at the site of the Tibetan refugee camp.

This articles gives some handy advice for a purchase at the Jawalakhel Handicraft Center and shows a sequence of videos produced by the Tibetan Refugee Camp.

Pioneer of Nepal Carpet Industry

When the Dalai Lama escaped from Chinese occupied Lhasa in 1959, 80,000 Tibetans fled their homeland. Nepal was one of the countries to host Tibetan refugees, and the Nepalese government assigned a small piece of land to some hundred Tibetan refugees in the (then) outskirts of Patan.

Some of the refugees were skilled carpet weavers, and with the help of foreign aid from Switzerland and the Red Cross the Jawalakhel Handicraft Center was established in 1960.

Nepal, today worldwide known for Nepal rugs, at that time had no carpet making tradition. The foundation of Jawalakhel Handicraft Center was the beginning of the Nepal carpet industry.

The Jawalakhel Handicraft Center

Detail from Tibetan RugI saw the Jawalakhel refugee camp and the Handicraft Center in the 1970s for the first time. It has grown since then and today the area is developed with several multi-story houses. In the largest one, near the entrance you find the carpet workshop on ground floor and a show room on one of the upper floors. In the workshop you can watch how the Tibetan rugs and carpets are made on huge vertical looms.

The Rug and Carpet Show Room

The Handicraft center produces Tibetan rugs and carpets in both traditional and contemporary (modern) designs and even in Persian type designs (I personally do not like that.), in all sizes and qualities. The rugs are offered in 60, 80 and 100 knots per sq. inch density. In the huge show room you are assisted by competent Tibetans. Expect a pleasant shopping experience. The Tibetans at Jawalakhel are experienced professionals and will serve you well. And don't expect to be in a backwoodsmen place. Online payment by credit card? No problem!

How to Transport your Rug Purchase Home?

Border Detail of Tibetan Rug.For smaller rugs it is the best to take them back home with your baggage on the air plane. Even if you have to pay extra surcharge to the air company, it is the cheapest and most convenient way. For larger carpets the staff of the Handicraft Center will arrange transport by air freight for you. The best option is shipment by a freight carrier to your nearest airport with 'charge on collect'.

That means the carpet is shipped to the airport of your choice, and it is your responsibility to pick it up from there, go through customs procedures and pay the freight costs from Kathmandu to your destination and all customs fees. That may be a little bit annoying and time-consuming, but it is the cheapest way. If you do not have the time to do all that yourself, you can ask a local carrier and service provider who will handle this all for and deliver the carpet to your door steps.

How Much Does it Cost?

Buying on the spot at Jawalakhel is a bargain. Of course, you have to add transport costs and taxes depending on your destination. But overall, you pay less compared to a purchase for instance from the artelino online shop.

Tibetan Wool Rug Detail.

Does the Handicraft Center Have a Web Site?

Their web site is Jawalakhel Handicraft Center. You do not see a very large or impressive carpet collection on this web site and only small images (September 2010). In my view, what you see at the center is much better than what you see on the web site.

How Long Will Delivery Take?

Tibetans are efficient people. But the preparation of all documents and handling by the Nepalese bureaucracy and the aircraft company takes time. Have some patience and don't become nervous. Expect two to three months.

Tibetan Carpet - Detail.

Is it Safe to Buy from Jawalakhel Handicraft Center?

One feels always a bit uneasy to pay a large amount of money in an exotic country and then you wait and hope that the merchandise will arrive and will meet your expectations.

Of course, I do not and cannot take any responsibilities for your purchasing experience. But the center exists since 1960 and is recommended in many travel guides. They could hardly afford to cheat foreigners. It would cut off the branch on which they are sitting. I have never heard any negative news about the Jawalakhel Handicraft Center. And in general Tibetans are honest and reliable people.

I have bought myself once or twice from them, and have never been disappointed. I think your money is well spent and it is the Tibetans directly who benefit from your dollars or Euros.

How to Get to Jawalakhel Refugee Camp?

Tibetan Wool Rug - Two Phoenix Medallions.

I recommend to take a taxi from your hotel. Neither walking nor going by bike is any longer a recommendable option in Kathmandu valley. It is a good idea to show the taxi driver on a map where he will find the Tibetan Refugee Center. Many Nepali ignore the Tibetans more or less and your taxi driver may have no idea where it is.

By the way, the taxi driver will only be too happy to wait for you for your trip back without extra charges.

{mosmap width='500'|height='400'|lat='27.667856'|lon='85.308838'|zoom='18'|zoomType='Large'|zoomNew='0'|mapType='Hybrid'|showMaptype='1'|overview='0'|text='Jawalakhel Tibetan Refuge Camp'|lang=''}

Rug Images on this Web Site

For copyright reasons, I do not show any images from the Jawalakhel site on this page. The images were taken from our own artelino rugs which are produced at a workshop owned by a Nepalese friend of mine whom I have known for 30 years.

Jawalakhel Handicraft Center - Video Documentary

Watch this documentary of 5 videos about the Jakalakhel Handicraft Center and the Refugee Camp. But don't get used to the pronunciation of 'Tibetans'. So funny! Smile

Any Experience with Jawalakhel Handicraft Center?

If you have any personal experience with Jawalakhel Handicraft Center, please feel encouraged to use the comment box below. You can add a comment without registration.

Detail from Floral Tibetan Rug.

Artelino's Shop of Traditional Tibetan Rugs

If you are interested in traditional Tibetan rugs, you should not miss to take a look at artelino's Online Shop of Tibetan Rugs.

Dieter Wanczura, September 2010.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 10:32  

Advanced Search

Forgot your password?
Forgot your username?
No account yet? Register

Show Cart
Your Cart is currently empty.