Helping Mahaguthi

Situated in the remote hilly areas of Sankhuwasabha district, reaching the Allo Cloth Production Club takes about 18 hours by bus from Kathmandu and four days on foot ( or 40 minutes by air from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar and then two days on foot). Sankhuwasabha district is one of the remotest areas. The Makalu Barun National Park Conservation Project (MBNPCP ) is situated there. Although the commercial production of allo products had not existed prior to the establishment of the Allo Cloth Production Club, people from this region have long been engaged in the production of allo and its sale or exchange for other goods in the local haat bazar. Some families who were able to preserve traditional skills in allo processing and weaving produced allo cloth in small quantities occasionally. The possibility of weaving allo cloth on a commercial scale was first promoted in 1984, following a survey by the Koshi Hill Area Rural Development Project (KHARDEP), a British-aided project, to identify alternative income-earning opportunities for the people of this region.

Allo (Nettle Fibre) Allo, (Girardinia diversifolia ) is grown above 2,438m and is found in the hills from west to east. The villagers harvest the bark from September-March, spending one or two days, but sometimes a week, in the jungle collecting the bark. The bark is left to dry for a few weeks. The dried bark is then boiled with wood ash for about four to five hours to make it soft and to extract the fibre. Then it is washed with mud to take away the unwanted substance and the fibre is ready for spinnig. Traditional methods of spinning the yarn by hand spindle are still used. Since the allo is available in the hills throughout Nepal, there is good scope for expansion to different parts of the country.

Today allo is liked by many and diverted into many new products from home furnishing to clothing, stationary to accessories. People because of its natural look and texture appreciate it.

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