There is a long history of cloth weaving in Nepal. Within Nepal, Palpa shares a significant part of that history and development of the right conditions for the cloth weaving culture. The history of cloth weaving starts from the Magarat era. During that time, the majority of the household had cloth weaving looms. Since the majority of the garments and clothes were made using these looms in their houses, these clothes were referred to as ‘home woven’. Most of these clothes were made from locally sourced pine trees also referred to as Salla trees locally. These timbers were a major raw material used for cloth weaving culture in Palpa. ‘Palpali Dhaka’ also shares the same cultural and geographical origins.
The cloth weaving culture made significant progress when Shree Teen Chandra Shumsher sent Tulsi Meher to Varda, India for learning the making of khadi clothes and garments. After learning the skill, he returned to Nepal and established the Chandra Kamdhenu Charkha Pracharak Mahaguthi in 1983 B.S as per Shree Teen Chandra Shumsher’s wish. This created a new revolution in making locally produced clothes, weaving culture, and garments in Nepal. This Mahaguthi was established in various parts of Nepal and led to the meeting of Devi Prashad Pradhan of Palpa with Tulsi Meher. Mr. Pradhan took the initiative to bring four handloom workers from Kathmandu and began weaving cloth in Palpa. However, this initiative did not work in the long term as the investment costs were higher as the cloth was woven in thicker looms and produced in fewer quantities.
This initiative planted the seeds of a new Palpali cloth weaving industry and the requirement for locally produced cloth and garments. As a result, in 2015 B.S. Ganesh Man Maharjan established a textile industry in Palpa named ‘Swodesi Bastrakala Palpali Dhaka’. He had also returned to Nepal after learning to weave cloth in India. In 2019 B.S., during his training process in Kathmandu, he noticed Shree Teen Janga Bahadur Rana’s daughter Dambar Kumari using a special kind of colorful, fine, and valuable textile fabric called ‘Dhaka fabric’ as her preferred outfit. It was made in a place called Dhaka (then the undivided State of Bengal). Then, it was known as ‘Dambar Kumari Dhaka’ in Nepal and it was used by Rana families and other wealthy classes. This fabric caught the attention of Ganesh Man Maharjan. He returned to Palpa and adopted the technology to weave Dhaka in Palpa. It finally led to the creation of colorful, patterned, and attractive ‘Palpali Dhaka’ that we all know and love as Nepali.
Now, ‘Palpali Dhaka’ is not limited for use as clothes, garment or wearing purposes. They can be seen in decorations and fashion events. They have become a reknowned fashion statement not only for the Nepali audience but for the whole world.
ESC Nepal, Palpali Dhaka|Features|ESCNEPAL – The Nepali Way, ESC Media Pvt. Ltd., Link: http://ecs.com.np/features/palpali-dhaka, Visited on: 17th April 2021.
History Of Palpali Dhaka. (2021, April 18). pda.org.np. https://pda.org.np/2021/04/18/history-of-palpali-dhaka-association/