A series of traditional bamboo huts, aligned neatly below Norzin Lam, right opposite the Nehru Wangchuk Cultural Centre is the Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar which showcase a wide range of authentic Bhutanese Arts and Crafts.
The total of about 80 stalls that stretches half a kilometer covers all aspect of traditional Art and Craft for both contemporary use and market needs. Some items have been improvised to match up with market demands, others tailored for modern touch but most forms still remain unaltered.
The bazaar was initiated in 2011 to provide Bhutanese artisans a platform to showcase their products. With the products sourced mostly from rural areas, the bazaar aims to promote Bhutan’s craft industry by creating a feasible market. The initiative is also expected to bring about equitable socio-economic development while preserving Bhutan’s unique culture.
You can find an interesting range of genuine Bhutanese handicrafts and textiles available for sale here. From scroll painting (Thangkas) to embroidered boots to Mandala painting, it is the place to buy souvenirs. Among the stalls are some specialized in tailoring and embroidery, traditional fabric and papers, gold and silver ornaments among others.
The stalls open by 10:00 AM in the morning till 6:00 PM in the evening. It takes a good couple of hours to browse through the stalls. Other places most popular for shopping in Thimphu includeThe Craft Gallery,Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre, National Handicraft Emporiumand Tarayana Rural Products among others.
The Bhutanese culture and tradition is richly reflected in its Arts and Crafts. The government in order to preserve and promote opened the national institute for Zorig Chusum (School for Traditional Arts and Crafts) in 1971. The institution teaches the students to paint, wood craving, sculpture and calligraphy.
Zorig chusum/ the thirteen crafts introduced in 15th century by Terton Pema Lingpa is categorize as follows:
• Thagzo (Weaving)
• Tshazo (Bamboo and Cane Craft)
• Shagzo (Leather work)
• Garzo (Blacksmith)
• Jimzo (Clay Crafts)
• Dozo (Stonework)
• Lugzo (Bronze Casting)
• Shingzo (Woodwork)
• Tshemzo (Tailoring)
• Troezo (Silver and Gold)
• Parzo (Wood, Slate and Stone Craving)
• Dhezo (Papermaking)
• Lhazo (Painting)