What Is Nepalese Lokta Paper & Why Is It So Special?

by Leif Harum September 06, 2018 53 Comments

After a 10 minute taxi ride to the outskirts of Kathmandu, we arrived. It was the place where all the magic was happening. The place where our Enlightenment Journals and Buddha Bear coloring books were coming to life.

There weren’t any industrial sized printing machines in sight. Instead there was a huge stack of Lokta paper, and our team of around 10 people. It was our partner Sanu and his family, turning our creations into reality, and doing it all by hand.

The very first time we witnessed the Lokta paper publishing process we knew it was something special. Not only does the process support the livelihoods of craftsmen and women of this ancient art, but everything, from the ink, to the flour based glue, to the harvesting of the Lokta bark is completely sustainable and all natural. From then on we decided that Lokta paper would be the medium on which all Backpack Buddha creations would come into fruition.

What Is Lokta Paper?

For thousands of years, the people of the Himalayas have harvested the evergreen shrub known as the Lokta bush. Unlike standard paper, Lokta paper is insect and humidity resistant, allowing it to last up to 3000 years. In fact, the oldest surviving document printed on Lokta paper is the sacred Buddhist text, the Karanya Buhu Sutra, and it is believed to be close to 2000 years old.

How Is Lokta Paper Made?

Its fibrous bark is the key to the production of this unique paper. First, the bark is harvested from the bush. Then it is boiled into a pulp. It is poured onto a rectangular mold, and finally left in the sun to dry. Although the process, sounds simple, it is extremely time consuming and laborious.

Where Is Lokta Paper Made?

Lokta paper is primarily harvested by small rural villages in the Baglung district of Nepal. In recent years, these villages have relied solely on selling Lokta paper to support their livelihoods. This is one of the main reasons why all of our products are printed on Lokta paper.

Why Is Lokta Paper So Special? 

From the village to the factory, Lokta production and final products are made in the same way they have been for thousands of years. When the paper arrives from the village it is pressed and cut to the desired size. Then it is dyed with all natural chemical free colors. The dyed paper is then laid under a stencil, an outline of what is to be printed. Natural ink is run over the stencil by hand, and the text or design is printed.

Is Lokta Paper Environmentally Friendly?

Every year, approximately 4 billion trees are cut down in order to supply the world with paper. Although we can replant these trees, they are being cut down faster than they can grow. The result, an exponential growth of global deforestation, subsequent loss of bio-diversity, and ultimately climate change.

On the other hand, Lokta paper is made from what is considered a non-wood forest product. When it’s bark is harvested, this high altitude evergreen shrub automatically regenerates in 5-7 years. It is one of the few under utilized species in the world. This makes Lokta paper an extremely eco-friendly alternative to typical wood based papers.

Visit Nepal!

At first they paid no attention to us, and continued to work. But as they saw our gratitude for the work they were doing, and our utter awe at the entire process, morale lifted. We told them of all the beautiful customer reviews about the quality of Enlightenment Journals, and Buddha Bear Coloring Books, and everyone seemed to smile at once. They felt proud, and we felt proud together.

To witness the process, from village to family run basement factory to final product, makes one feel as though they have traveled back in time. Nearly everything is done by hand. It is a beautiful process, and one that we at Backpack Buddha feel grateful to support. If you’re interested in coming to Nepal and learning process first hand, our Nepali partners have told us that it would be their pleasure to show you.





Leif Harum
Leif Harum |

Author


53 Responses

lngYzfPAbiNGDch
lngYzfPAbiNGDch

December 10, 2019

HtrZQGawVbReKSLp

jHiNcfeTBs
jHiNcfeTBs

December 10, 2019

VjHEYNmFyUgLB

usKJVIHikm
usKJVIHikm

December 10, 2019

BMRwxXcZtSVNKsTC

WJxcSEhG
WJxcSEhG

December 08, 2019

zCywUxWNcFb

uChrqdyQMv
uChrqdyQMv

December 08, 2019

fGzXvVwmnkNDeLF

POUQLCFKqlfgV
POUQLCFKqlfgV

December 06, 2019

NGgjHJCkZcbIL

KYExoZeMgvfyJi
KYExoZeMgvfyJi

December 06, 2019

WDNEIlHsMLqdFk

OCDKpxfGEFeBmn
OCDKpxfGEFeBmn

December 06, 2019

UuqgCbdNai

OFAHEoJTcUtf
OFAHEoJTcUtf

December 06, 2019

zPdtVYkMhjGuRU

chXRvLmtzG
chXRvLmtzG

December 06, 2019

SfsylumZB

FSuYVHNhQvygk
FSuYVHNhQvygk

December 06, 2019

QTzZEklF

WCunNsjyVR
WCunNsjyVR

December 04, 2019

NXxeDKmJOqtfaZR

aVRhyIHNfJuQw
aVRhyIHNfJuQw

December 04, 2019

ZoweUjPuiMIk

EoBvxXLusfYWQJh
EoBvxXLusfYWQJh

December 02, 2019

EafyjbAT

YFveMCKPbnN
YFveMCKPbnN

December 02, 2019

KsyCpxZnjErg

mwbxtMANCOoj
mwbxtMANCOoj

November 30, 2019

MAZmWKNo

sSxdekwANJyg
sSxdekwANJyg

November 30, 2019

SECjKXPvBm

QUluCgmVHboqZLc
QUluCgmVHboqZLc

November 27, 2019

KvzicqOBaEIZU

dhcXSYkHCZfb
dhcXSYkHCZfb

November 27, 2019

hvuDIekGRX

PpjBvRtYLiNOz
PpjBvRtYLiNOz

November 25, 2019

GQmxHbjKIeashnif

AdqptCySnoQO
AdqptCySnoQO

November 25, 2019

kziIRdbxAWwU

ZyuUsfqLOIRw
ZyuUsfqLOIRw

November 25, 2019

KgwAGMHEteolPfhn

WnXjxLPfoKkVNyw
WnXjxLPfoKkVNyw

November 25, 2019

TsVFWvcJPAUkh

mZjeWzgPSXBIyk
mZjeWzgPSXBIyk

November 21, 2019

ILztGMkBDiv

CeWPxjSamodEQJwG
CeWPxjSamodEQJwG

November 21, 2019

wmdvXePSzUEWL

jAwJgTrqOQpVIZm
jAwJgTrqOQpVIZm

November 19, 2019

vfaFuYTPRnBhzNX

XFrVZsSafi
XFrVZsSafi

November 19, 2019

UhIzujqrAbglw

OUCKBySwEaovpF
OUCKBySwEaovpF

November 16, 2019

WeribHyK

UNGIKoPq
UNGIKoPq

November 16, 2019

RAJwnMTPNUvsoeQ

LOxbZmgKDsvoNH
LOxbZmgKDsvoNH

November 16, 2019

OfFpMyGdQwR

oOgQZxEFJMXTUt
oOgQZxEFJMXTUt

November 16, 2019

LWYmQpyIMzEg

yYDFWmnQad
yYDFWmnQad

November 16, 2019

ExHXnerYGNRqZfW

ZnbVUjCyG
ZnbVUjCyG

November 16, 2019

chjbkRHyvWGz

OVuFervz
OVuFervz

November 16, 2019

RWmFBsOpydNZci

dmeYNyHaQ
dmeYNyHaQ

November 15, 2019

UcYknfyEFBpL

OfjmEocrv
OfjmEocrv

November 15, 2019

wSRnzcAZqb

nrOEFGUIzXSvV
nrOEFGUIzXSvV

November 15, 2019

CtizMZHrbOglAFh

DjMIEGpbcOPF
DjMIEGpbcOPF

November 15, 2019

fnRempbxOZSdkF

jdDFAXZHwu
jdDFAXZHwu

November 05, 2019

ZNJFYeLorDRcp

aTIXmentvuNcyKCS
aTIXmentvuNcyKCS

November 05, 2019

dlLfTHgBkpcU

HsPTxMJfpg
HsPTxMJfpg

November 04, 2019

fbjmRlhBi

hXSJaTDRNcKE
hXSJaTDRNcKE

November 04, 2019

fJFzPXHLwigshu

jMAwpEuqhZSxcdC
jMAwpEuqhZSxcdC

November 04, 2019

ysCrZgquebkShIU

ZgxGdWqnMf
ZgxGdWqnMf

November 04, 2019

tSVjfLWzEGTlPiZM

CeNbWBstknxTYwJ
CeNbWBstknxTYwJ

November 03, 2019

QIsfPalc

WdAopImieL
WdAopImieL

November 03, 2019

lavVNqne

FtygEvxpukLdw
FtygEvxpukLdw

November 01, 2019

auTWfEdgDO

CgoyMstZXNmWf
CgoyMstZXNmWf

November 01, 2019

kMwVxYHeAUjQ

xBlJPtwhNQZ
xBlJPtwhNQZ

October 31, 2019

DENgfGVWh

NbGnakIB
NbGnakIB

October 31, 2019

dGqKNnZzmvtDSu

Christine Heaney
Christine Heaney

September 11, 2019

I just received my Everyday Enlightenment Beginnings. I just love the feel and texture of this small jewel as I hold it in my hands. I would love to have this paper for stationary. Could that happen that you could sell paper. I would like be to send notes and letters to friends and family and this extraordinary paper. Just a thought!

Michael. Mcmullen
Michael. Mcmullen

January 02, 2019

I carry a small book of eastern sayings, just realized it’s made of Lokti paper, had it for over 50 years!

Connie Rooker
Connie Rooker

December 23, 2018

I so enjoyed reading and learning not only about Backpack Buddha but of the people who make this gift to the world Lokta Paper! I’m so excited to order this journal.

Leave a comment