Nepali Woolen Rugs
Meet Krishna & Belu Maya
Krishna and Belu Maya are both from Melamchi in Sindupalchowk, a district north east of Kathmandu bordering Tibet. Krishna worked with rug making since the last 25 years. While growing up, Krishna's neighbours would make the rugs and ask him to be their representative for selling them. Later on he would buy the pieces off family and resell them. Since the last 12-13 years him and his wife Belu Maya started making the rugs themselves.
Krishna and his family were originally farmers in Sindupalchowk but this was not enough to earn a living. He then decided to start the rug business. When he was a child growing up it was quite common to see the rugs but it wasn’t until later on that he started to appreciate them and wanted to learn how to make them. It was a way for him and his family to become more independent and financially self-sustainable.
Here Krishna and Belu Maya tell their story:
Now Krishna and his wife Belu Maya make the rugs together as their livelihood in their home in Kathmandu.
The Tradition of the 'Radhi' woolen rugs in Nepal
What were the rugs used for traditionally?
In Hindu culture the rugs are used for rituals for when someone has deceased, they are seen as the ‘purest’ object where the Hindu priest would sit to make the rituals, or for family members to sleep on when visiting. Just as the families will fast and avoid onion and garlic to eat ‘clean food’.
In the villages in Nepal people don’t have sofas, therefore they would arrange a straw mat and put this rug on top since generations.
Here Krishna and Belu Maya explain about the weaving process:
All across Nepal, people in the villages regard the woolen rugs as 'pure'. If people suffer from back pain or joint pains, the woolen rugs are said to be beneficial for sleeping on to help with the ailment.
The rugs are used for inside the home, as well as for inside the temple.