Handicrafts and artifacts are the beautiful manifestations of the
creative minds of artists. In Sikkim there are many who make beautiful
handicrafts and believe in preserving and promoting these traditional arts. About
15.7 km from Pakyong in East Sikkim lives 63-year-old Khuja Maya Sharma an
artisan belonging to Parakha Village. Mrs. Sharma believes that the state
Sikkim is not only resplendent with its natural beauty but with its arts and
Mrs. Sharma has been weaving traditional mats called pira, gundri, jagarah, and double pira since she was 15 years old with
hay, maize husk, and plastic. She lives with her husband who is also interested
in making traditional doko and jhag. Doko is a hand-woven, V-shaped basket
made with bamboo and Jhag is also a
bamboo basket that is used to store maize and cardamom in rural areas in Sikkim.
Khuja Maya Sharma taking a break on the phone while weaving mats with hay
There are many like Mrs. Sharma and her husband in Parakha village
who make exquisite handicrafts and believe in preserving them. These people
believe that there aren’t many these days that show interest in learning to
weave traditional handicrafts. She says “I remember how my mother taught me to
weave since I was a teenager and I have carried it with me till now. I hope
that this tradition never dies, and I wish more people from this generation
learn to weave and build traditional artifacts.”
Mrs. Sharma and her husband earn their living through farming, and
whenever someone comes and asks her about the making of these handicrafts, she
feels happy. She says, “You can ask some elderly people in Parakha about these
traditional handicrafts, they will make you sit and tell you stories about them.”
These villagers are the gems of Sikkim trying to teach new generations about
the values of culture and traditions.
"Thungse" - hand woven bamboo basket to store corn
Leeladhar Sharma is the 61-year-old neighbor of Mrs. Sharma who
also makes delicately and beautifully designed hand-woven baskets. He loves to share
his knowledge with others; Mrs. Sharma explains, “At times school kids and
teenagers come to us and ask us to teach them traditional weaving. We feel
extremely happy to see such interest in young people, and of course, we help
them out happily.” People who ask them to make traditional handicrafts either
for decoration or utility buy their products at very reasonable prices. It not
only makes them happy but provides a bit of help to buy household necessities.
Mrs. Sharma and her husband are not the only people who want to
preserve the tradition of Sikkim in their family; her 52-year-old nephew,
Dilliram Sharma, is also fervent about it. Living a kilometer away from Mrs.
Sharma’s home, Dilliram has established a small museum at his home. He has
weaved local handicrafts of Sikkim in small sizes and placed them for display
at his house. People who want to come and see them are always welcome. Dilliram
Sharma says, “I feel that everyone should learn and see the traditional
handicrafts of Sikkim. Since we do not use them as utility today, they have
started to vanish, and we should never forget where we have come from. These
handicrafts are some of the gems of Sikkim.” Dilliram Sharma also wishes for more
people to come visit his home and see all the items that he has made.
Some traditional artifacts kept for display by Dilliram Sharma at his home
These simple villagers of East Sikkim are more than happy to tell
stories, origins and facts about traditional handicrafts of Sikkim, and teach
people to weave. It is now time to encourage more locals to understand the
importance of traditional handicrafts and let them see why it is an important
part of Sikkim’s culture and tradition.
Contact us if you want to visit this village where you can gain
some knowledge on handicrafts, learn the craft, and even give back to the
villagers by buying their products.
Click here to book a date