Traditional Nepalese Dhaka fabric

The groom on this photo can be easily identified as being a Nepali. How? Thanks to the unique pattern of the fabric his costume is made of. This handwoven fabric is called Dhaka. It is still quite popular here, one can see women wearing Dhaka blouses and shawls; men like to cover their heads with traditional hat topi made of Dhaka fabric; grooms from the Chhetri community often wear traditional costumes in Dhaka patterns on the wedding day; for Newari people Dhaka clothes are required for performing funeral rites.

Weaving Dhaka fabric. Photo courtesy  DFAT photo library

Historically patterned Dhaka weaving developed in two places in Nepal: in Palpa, west of Kathmandu, and in Tehrathum, in the eastern hills of the Himalayas. It is believed that the art of Dhaka weaving came from Bengal: the menfolk would travel to the plains of India and return with the highly prized jamdani cloth as gifts for their wives. Skilled weavers would imitate the complex designs and develop the further. The traditional colors of Dhaka cloth are black, white, red and orange but no two pieces are identical, the handwoven patterns all have an individual touch, reflecting the creativity and skill of the weaver. Nowadays blue, green and brown colours are added to Dhaka patterns as well as silk or lurex threads.

Kids wearing Dhaka pajamas. Photo source

Limbu girls wearing Dhaka blouses and shawls. Photo  source

As time demands changes, not only hats and costumes are made of Dhaka fabric nowadays but tablecloths, place mats, bed and cushion covers too. Besides, designers try to incorporate traditional patterns of Dhaka into their modern designs to give it the second life.

Dhaka collection by designer Shama Banu

Dhaka shoes Julian Louie and ALDO's collaboration 

Dhaka shirt, Studio JUX

Inspite of still being quite popular Dhaka is a dying art and needs to be preserved. When buying such products, one should realize that they are not just pieces of fabric but works of art and represent creativity, skills and hard labor of the weavers.

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  1. The traditional garments made from Dhaka look wonderful (great colours) , but oh my, look at those shoes - love! xxx

  2. Those little kids are just so cute and those shoes rock! x

  3. LOve LOve LOve about this Dhaka! Thanks for sharing the information about this fabric Olga, it's such a unique pattern!
    I love that the mean wearing it. I was thinking of you last night when I watched Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham Well, I watched this many many times hehe.
    Have a good day Olga!