Artisans At Work

Himalayan Wood Carving Masterpieces

Himalayan Wood Carving Masterpieces was established in 1982 though only registered officially in 1985.

The company came about when the late Rameshwor Prajapati decided to utilise the skills of the artisans that became unemployed after the end of the German Project in 1979. The 12 year German Project had created a lot of skilled artisans especially wood carvers in Bhaktapur.

Seeing the beautiful work of these artisans, he and his American photographer friend, Stephen Lowe, decide to work hand in hand to restore the wood carving sector. He collected many artisans and provided employment starting right here in this building which is now Peacock Guest House.

Our first head wood carver was the late Indra Kumar Shilpakar. He was a senior artisan who worked with Germans in restoring the temples of Bhaktapur. He worked until the age of 68 with 10-12 wood carvers under him.

One of the noted projects done by Himalayan Wood Carving Masterpieces at that time would be the wooden windows of the Himalayan Hotel in Kupondol.

Himalayan Wood Carving Masterpieces was the first few wood carving businesses which provided and produced many wood carvers for the future.

Now the company is run by the second generation of the Prajapati family. Arunodaya Prajapati a qualified Electronics and Communications engineer, took over the company after completing his studies in 2009 bringing with him a new zest and creativity in the wood carving business. Arunodaya designs all the pieces that are made today.

The wood carving business was almost dying with many young people opting not to continue in their family wood carving traditions. Most of the wood carvers belong to the Shilpakar caste and the more educated generations wanted a more desk-bound, professional career. But with more arrivals of tourists and their interest in 100% hand carved wood items, slowly more and more young people started learning the skill.

At present, we have 14 workers, 2 of the seniors, Krishna Prasad Shilpakar and Hari Krishna Shilpakar have been with us from the start. What used to be a male dominated industry, we have also trained two young female wood carvers.

With Arunodaya at the helm, Himalayan Wood Carving Masterpieces is heading towards the production of contemporary products with traditional designs and motifs. In the recent years, with his functional designs and business acumen, the company has grown to be very well known for 100% hand carved, customised wood items that incorporates traditional Newar art. His designs are well sought after by collectors from around the world.