“Enjoy the authentic traditional lifestyle in the world of pottery”.
Apart from all challenging trek and adventure in the natural world of Nepal, there is another beautiful “world of Culture & Traditions” that takes you deep into the traditional local lifestyle. That is pottery making culture in Bhaktapur. Pottery is the art of shaping the clay into various things.
A clear view of Pottery Square in Bhaktapur. (Photo Credit: Ujwol Buddhacharya)
Whenever we think about the pottery making, the first thing that comes in our mind might be a beautiful flower pot/vase made of clay (Gamala) or might be a piggy bank (Khuturke).
Flower Pots (Gamala) displayed for selling in Pottery Square. (Photo Credit: Ujwol Buddhacharya)
If anyone would like to get the experience of making the clay pots and the local traditional lifestyle in Bhaktapur, then spending around a week in the pottery square of Bhaktapur can fulfill one’s enthusiasm and enjoyment of local life. Pottery Square is a beautiful place in the south of Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The settlement of a specific ethnic group of “Newar “ community called “Prajapati “can be seen here living together in unity and harmony. These people are hard working and artistic in nature that are not only dedicated in their work, but also are equally accountable for hospitable environment.
Pottery Making Process: The pottery making is a process and Yes, it is not a simple task as it seems. Being a kind of family business, all the family members have their own part of the role, working together in creating a finished pot. Firstly, the special clay “Black Clay”, supple in nature has to be brought from the field by digging out around 10-12 feet down the surface and need to be smoothened. After that, the old men, the experienced experts, craft the clay into spectacular shape/vessels, and women are in charge of looking after the pots kept for drying and coloring.
Pottery making in a traditional wooden wheel (Photo Credit: Ujwol Buddhacharya)
Coloring process (Photo Credit: Ujwol Buddhacharya)
The whole pottery square area is filled with these colorful pots during the sunny day. Younger men/women are often engaged in carrying heavy heaps of pots from one place of the square to the other.
Pots drying out on a Sunny day. (Photo Credit: Ujwol Buddhacharya)
The final process includes the firing of pots, which is one of another highlight of pottery making. All the prepared raw clay pots are placed along with straw in the layer wise. After all the pots are kept, it is then covered by ashes from the top, while the fire is given from the bottom and takes 3-4 days to get fired. It is the traditional way of pottery firing.
Preparation for firing the pots with straw arranged in many layers (Photo Credit: Ujwol Buddhacharya)
In this way, the pots will be ready after all the hard working of artists. However, it would not get the complete fairness in terms of learning process until you go there and work as a local people, playing and shaping the clay by your own hands.