Handcrafted perfection

January 26, 2018 09:43 AM Swasti Gautam

Adding a modern touch to traditional Nepali architectural designs, Sumukhi provides its customers with a wide array of handmade products. Their meticulously designed products reflect the beauty of Nepali heritage. And each product is creatively handcrafted incorporating medieval Nepali designing style in it.  

“I’m a graphic designer and have always loved creating new things. Through this venture, I aim to preserve Nepali and Newari traditions and art,” says Ashesh Kumar Pradhan, co-founder of Sumukhi. Pradhan, along with Roli Mittal Jalan, established Sumukhi in 2016. Their primary motive was to preserve the genealogical essence of Nepali designs created by traditional architectures, as well as ciphers. They also intend to conserve traditional architectural designs that may be forgotten in the near future. 

As a team they believe in displaying the legacy of our glorious past through their products. “We named our brand Sumukhi which means mirror in Sanskrit. These products actually reflect our authentic lifestyle,” adds Pradhan. Every product reflects Nepal’s rich history and cultures from the past. With their modern designs they intend to make lifestyle, songs, literature and architecture of our country recognized in the world.

According to Roshan Sapkota, coordinator at Sumukhi, each design has a unique story behind it. For example, a set of Sumukhi products is inspired by Ashtamangal symbols. These symbols, according to Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, stand for luck and serendipity. Their diary jacket incorporates the symbol of endless knot on it. In Buddhism, this symbol signifies a spiritual path. Likewise, their pen holder depicts a lotus flower which teaches us to rise above worldly dirt and desires. “Our products such as laptop cases, diary jackets, memo pads, and pen holders are inspired by Ashtamangala symbols.  They are made up of Nepali leather, hunter leather and copper motifs handcrafted by our local artisans,” says Sapkota. 

Another product range created by Sumukhi team is called Mayam. “Under Mayam, we sell a set of stationeries made of Lokhta or traditional Nepali paper. This was an accidental discovery when one of our team members saw some wax on Lokhta paper making beautiful abstract patterns,” says Sapkota. 

The Swayambhu Puranais, one of the ancient texts of Newari Buddhism, states that many years ago Kathmandu valley was a lake where numerous creatures lived. The lake then drained to make the valley livable. Some of the water creatures possessed unique features whose impressions were exhibited and displayed in various temples and shrines of Kathmandu. Sumukhi makes a range of products inspired by these temples and shrines as well. Another set of interesting products designed by Sumukhi is inspired by Nyatapola. Nyatapola is one of the heritage sites and the tallest pagoda of Nepal. 

“After the earthquake, a lot of people in the villages became homeless and many lost their source of livelihood. Sumukhi procures raw materials such as paper, leather, and cloth fibers from the villages to enhance their socio-economic development,” says Pradhan. Further, 10% of every purchase goes to Sumukhi welfare fund that helps in educating underprivileged children, gives financial aid to village cotton industries, and provides stationeries to schools in the rural areas of Nepal. In the future they intend to actively take part in various developmental activities and work towards the betterment of our society. 

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