Haku Patasi is the name for the black-and-red sari of Newari women

 

I already own a singing bowl, all the Thangkas a man could ask for, and every small gift item you can think of. When I teach, the students give me these “tokens of love.” When I want to bring a present to my daughters, they expect something unusual. I can’t just send a postcard and call it good.

If you have visited Bhaktapur, surely you must have seen women wearing this outfit, even when they are just doing chores of daily life.

Or, perhaps just enjoy this video:

I wanted one. Not for myself. I wanted a special gift for people in my life. I’m very particular about things I bring back to USA. They can’t be run-of-the-mill souvenirs. Need to have some sort of provenance.

Here is another video. For this one the tune is a classic folk song; the visual component shows the weaving process for the Haku Patasi cloth. Simply wonderful!

 

The Newari-language name is “Haku Patasi.”

I never saw these for sale, so I asked around among my Nepali friends. They sent me to Ason, in the heart of Old Kathmandu south of Thamel. ( well, specifically, Indra Chowk).

Here is yet another video, the tune is titled Haku Patasi” – so – it’s nakkali!

What’s not to like? first, the woman shows classic Newari beauty. Next, the guy has a wonderful singing voice; finally, the scenes of Newari women’s culture are stunning.

I needed to ask around, but ultimately a guy brought me to this shop:

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The shop is on the second floor, the sign is below the one for Star Tailors

Typical of such shops, you can have a seat while they show you many samples from which to choose.

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The selection in this shop focuses on hand-woven items made of  Nepali-grown cotton. The fabric has a wonderful feel to it.

IMG_20160810_153417Note: the blue-and-white checkered cloth is for a lungi a man would wear. .The fruit-sellers with the bicycles full of bananas usually wear this. I always wondered where they got this – now I know! (600 rupees if you have to ask).

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And above, are some typical waistband cloths. If you are observant when you go out in the morning to buy vegetables, you will notice many of the women wear these.

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I also got the red and  white shawl to accompany the Haku Patasi, he showed me how they wrap it. here is first step.

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Turns out that Haku Patasi is just one of many Nepali textiles still in daily use in Nepal. You can get them all in the shop pictured above.

Here is video showing the above.

The Tour

I need to do a separate blog on the subject of Palpali Dhaka. Many shops at street level sell Dhaka, focus on Haku Patasi for now!

Below, is a ten-minute tour of items in the shop:

and the business card for this particular shop:

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He waved good bye from the window when I left.

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I recommend this place if you are looking for something that is closely tied to Newar culture. It’s common for young girls to have the child-sized version of the same outfit, and they sell these too, readymade. I did not photograph one, though I should have. They can help you order a “cholo,” the double-breasted jacket, in the traditional pattern.