Wednesday, 19 January, 2022

Dhaka topi most sought after item of Tihar


By Binu Shrestha

Kathmandu, Oct. 25: Many women these days are busy buying Tihar gifts for their brothers. Dhaka Topi is one of the major items the sisters buy as a present to their brothers for Tihar.
The Dhaka fabric of Palpa and Terhathum is used to make the traditional Nepali cap (topi), Chaubandi Cholo or traditional Nepali blouse worn by women, and Daura Suruwal, the traditional attire worn by Nepali men.
However, of late, the typical Dhaka cloth of Nepal is at the risk due to growing import of same fabric from India.
Karna Bajracharya of Bhedasing, who has been giving continuity to his ancestral business of selling Dhaka topis, said that the business was not doing as good as in the past.
Increasing number of topi traders have resulted in the decline of his business in his topi shop.
The best season of Dhaka topi business is Tihar. Marriage season is another season for Dhaka topi business after Tihar, he said.
‘‘I am selling a topi of which prices ranges from Rs 70 to Rs. 3,500. The quality of Fabric determines the cost of a Dhaka topi,” he said.
The customers have demanded low to medium quality topis whose prices range from Rs. 70 to Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000, he said
“High quality topis cost Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 3,000, but they are in demand mostly during the wedding season,” he said. High quality topis are bought for bridegrooms and given away as gift in the marriage ceremonies.”
Around eight years ago, handmade high quality Dhaka cloth brought from Palpa was very popular in Kathmandu. Palpali Dhaka topi is still famous among the people. The designing pattern and quality of Dhaka of Palpa was high in the past but now they lack such quality, said the traders.
People started using machine to make Dhaka cloth which is not fine and attractive like the handmade. Dhaka fabric is not supplied as per the demand as only a small number of people have engaged in the traditional occupation, Bajracharya said.
Topi is made in Kathmandu after bringing Dhaka cloth from Palpa and Terhathum.
Some people in Asan, Kalimati and Kalanki are following the topi weaving occupation. They make topis ready as per demanded size and numbers.
‘‘I pay Rs. 500 to Rs. 800 wage for 20 pieces topi. The topi is round at the base with a height at 3 to 4 inches. The height of Terhathum-made topi is slightly short,’’ he said.
The traders have started importing Dhaka like cloth from India. But it cannot meet the quality of Nepali Dhaka.
‘‘I am also selling Indian Dhaka at my shop. It looks like Nepali Dhaka. Its prints are similar to Nepali topi, but they are machine printed, not made through handloom,’’ he informed.
Dhaka is made up of 100 per cent cotton. Dhaka Topi is the identity of a Nepali and is worn especially by the people of the hills of Nepal. It is the pride of Nepali men, many believe.
Dhaka cloth once imported from Dhaka, the present day capital of Bangladesh, during the reign of late king Mahendra, has become popular in Nepal.
The topi is also worn by government officials as a part of the national dress. To ignite the nationalist feeling among the people, the Dhaka Topi Day is celebrated in Nepal on January 1 every year after the People’s Movement II of 2006/2007.