Friday, March 9, 2012

Leaf Plates of Nepal (Tapari, Duna, Bota)


Leaf Plates of Nepal (Tapari, Duna, Bota)

Tapari, Duna and Bota are the disposable, multipurpose leaf plates and bowls made by stitching Saal ko Paat with a small bamboo sticks.  Saal trees (Shorea Robusta) are most commonly found in the Terai regions of Nepal and are used for timber, fuel woods. The leaves are used for plates and animal feeds, while the seeds and fruits have Ayurvedic medicinal use.  Nepalese use the fresh leaf plates and bowls for many occasions, including religious rituals, child's rice feeding ceremony, many festival feasts (bhoye), and  marriage ceremony. The dry saal leaf plates are mostly used for picnics, restaurant use, village parties, and at the street food stalls as a disposable plates.

Tapari
- is a lightly curved plate made by stitching several saal leaves together with a fine bamboo sticks (sinka).  The shiny fresh green leaves are very flexible and have a lot of moisture, making it easy to twist, squeeze, and shape into plates without breaking the leaves.
Duna -  is a medium-size bowl, either circular or rectangular and can be used to hold semi-liquid objects.
Bota  - is usually made by using a single saal leaf,  stitched together into small bowl.
 

Religious significance - In Buddhist tradition, it is said that Queen Māyā of Sakya gave birth to Gautama Buddha under a saal tree or an ashoka tree in a garden in Lumbini, in south Nepal, while grasping its branch. When this event took place, Queen Māyā was en route to birth him in his grandfather's kingdom. It is also said that four pairs of saal trees growing around the Buddha's bed suddenly turned white when he died. Source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shorea_robusta
 

Nyatapola Temple - In Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, one can find typical Nepali pagoda temple architectures with very rich wooden carvings, and most of the temples, such as Nyatapol Temple (Nyatapola), are made of bricks and saal tree wood.  Source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shorea_robusta

The shiny dark-green saal ko paat is collected by hand-picking from the lower branches of the tree.  Some freshly fallen leaves are also collected from the ground.  It is then neatly stacked together, tied with a thin bamboo rope and made into bundles, then taken to the market for sale or supplied to a different vendors.
A local store keeper in Asan Tole bazaar, Kathmandu (a busy market for locals) is selling saal leaves.  He is stitching together the leaves to create more leaf plates.
The shiny natural dark green color of the saal leaves.
Street vendor selling saal leaves during festival times.
Walking through the streets of the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka area, Kathmandu during the festival of Maghe Sankranti and capturing the image of freshly transported huge bundles of Saal leaves for sale.
 Display of items used in making leaf plates - the thin bamboo sticks in a bundle,  fresh leaves and green ropes (sinka, paat, doori).
Krishna Maya Prajapati is demonstrating how to create traditional leaf plates.  She is using 12 leaves to make a medium-size tapari.  Starting with the center part first, she places two leaves in the middle, then arranges other leaves in a circular pattern (like a plate). She stitches and attaches all the pieces securely with 1/2 inch bamboo sticks creating a flat circular plate. She holds the flat leaf with one hand, squeezes and folds with other hand to make a slightly curved plates that is secured with a bamboo stick.
Close up look
The shiny side of the leaves are placed faced up on top of the other leaf. 

The finished product! Saal leave plates are considered pure, sacred, and auspicious (chokho) in Nepal, and used in many religious rituals.


Thank you Krishna Maya for showing me an excellent work of art!  Making leaf plates and bowls requires time and skills.
Duna - is a medium-size bowl, either circular or rectangular and can be used to hold semi-liquids objects.
Serving Badaam Saadheko (spiced nuts for snacks) - in a typical Nepali brass plate lined with saal ko paat.
Binayak's rice feeding ceremony in Kathmandu - a very attractive and large special occasion leaf plate have been stitched. The auspicious food items are placed around the large quantity of cooked rice during Pasni ceremony. (photo used with permission)
Annaprashana ceremony (the first rice-feeding ceremony for an infant) - a giant woven leaf plate is made from saal leaves for this religious occasion.  Many elaborate dishes are cooked (rice, vegetables, meat, fish, sweets, dry-fruits, fresh fruits) and placed in a small leaf bowls (duna, bota).  The rice is placed in the center and small food items are placed surrounding the rice. (photo used with permission).
Saal leaves - integral part of religious rituals in Nepal.
Photo taken at the Annaprashana ceremony (the Pasni) - Nepali rice feeding ceremony of a child. The fresh saal leaves and stitched together to make a large plate for this special occasion - food items, the floral offerings, ritual objects and placed around the large decorative tapari.
Smiling Hindu priest is surrounded by gifts (daan) placed in the saal leaves given by devotee during the religious festival of Maghe Sankranti  in Nepal. 
For religious rituals - burning traditional, hand-made, rope-shaped incense (dhoop) used in numerous Hindu ceremonies.
Saal leaves bowls are used to hold batti (made out of cotton balls, soaked in oil) - they are lighted for many religious rituals.
Saal leaves are used to create home-made floating-light to be placed in the sacred river.
Around many temple areas - vendors are selling floral offering, incense, other religious objects placed in the fresh hand-stitched tapari plates.
Close-up look of religious offerings placed in the tapari plates outside the Budhanilkantha Temple, Kathmandu.
Machine-made dry saal leaf plates and bowl at the wholesale market in the Asan market,  Kathmandu.
Machine-made leaf bowls are sold in many local stores in Kathmandu. Demand for dry saal leaf plates to use as bowls is increasing rapidly because they are biodegradable and compostable.

Three sizes of machine-made tapari plates - the large ones are used for dinner or lunch, the medium-size are used for snacks, and the small bowls are used for semi-liquid foods items, warm or cold.
Machine-made duna-tapari started to appear in Nepali markets several years ago only. Now it is extensively used by street food sellers, fast-food vendors, restaurants, hotels and even at parties.
Serving momo (bite-size dumpling filled with meat or vegetables) with sauce in a  disposable leak-proof duna bowl.
An attractive machine-made leaf bowl with freshly steamed momo with tomato chutney.
During the auspicious festival of Shivaratri - dry saal leaf plates are used to distribute food (poori, haluwa and aloo tarkari) near Shiva Temple,  Hanuman Dhoka area, Kathmandu.
Small children holding and walking the light and flexible leaf plates during the Shivaratri festival feast.
The rectangular machine-made dry leaf plates (chaar-kune tapari) -  used in one of the pre-wedding feast (bhoj) given by my friend, Pratima, for her son's marriage.
Food items are being placed in the leaf plates during the feast.
The used leaf plates are headed to the compost pile.  They are easy to dispose and an environmental friendly product.

Copyright Information

All information on the Taste of Nepal blog are restricted use under copyright law. You may not re-use words, stories, photographs, or other posted material without the explicit written consent and proper credit to Jyoti Pathak. If you would like to use any materials here, please contact me.

63 comments:

  1. To be honest, I even could not imagine how hard it is to find decent piece of info on the above topic. It took me a couple of hours before I came across your site. <a href=

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your comment, but I did not understand your question?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ms. Pathak. My name is Lucy. I´m student at University of Panama. I´m looking for a topic for my English informative speech. I love your information. May I use your information for my delivery speech at University please?. Thank you.

      Delete
  3. Do you think there is a way to order/import these leak proof "duna" from Nepal to US?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dipesh...Thank you for writing. Tapari-Duna is made from Saal ko Paat which is an agricultural product - I think restrictions are placed on such products by the US Dept. of Agriculture. It is always best to check with them....I am not aware of anyone ordering or bringing tapari-duna-bota from Nepal to US.

      Delete
    2. Hi Dipesh, we are planning to do so. And thank you Jyoti for that info regarding exporting duna tapari in US

      Delete
    3. Thanks for sharing this information I really appreciate this post. I really enjoy this and waiting for new update.
      Hotel Kitchen Supplies

      Delete
  4. This blog is nice.Pearl Packaging is one of the leading manufacturers, suppliers and exporters of a wide range of Automatic Packaging Machines. Machine for liquids and semi liquids.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jyoti - Thank you. I asked an elderly lady if she minded me photographing her while she made Tapari. SHe was making these while her cattle were grazing on the edge of the playground of the school (Shree Krishna Primary) where I was working in Gorkha. I had a little anecdotal info about these at weddings, but your research on this blog is terrific. I photographed plants, trees, veg in gardens and markets and asked so many questions, and I can't wait to look at the other entries on food in your blog. Its really nicely done, concise, informative and well presented. Thanks again. anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anne
      I am so delighted that you came across my blog. Thank you so much for your kind comments....readers opinion and comments are very important to me, it helps me to improve my new postings. Please keep checking other entries of my new posting...Jyoti

      Delete
  6. Hello Jyoti,

    Lately I have been reading (on and off) your blog "Taste of Nepal" and I just love the fact that I can find almost everything related to Nepal in that blog. You do a great job with your pictures.

    The other day, one of my collegue from Pakistan told me her story when she visited to India. There she saw people eating on Leaf plates from street vendors and it seems she found that weird. And I voltuntered to open her eyes, that Eating on Leaf plates is not weird, instead its pretty COOL!! and guess what? Environmental friendly. At that very moment I couldn't remember the name of the leaves we use in Nepal So , I sent her the link of your blog which covers almost every aspect of Leafy plates and bowls. These are those times when I really feel nice about reading and following somebody's blog. Thank You!!

    Preety!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jyoti,
      You're doing a great job and really giving the world a taste of Nepal. Chestnut leaves are an alternative to Saal, as used in my village. Strolling around in new zealand, I just found a chestnut tree so made a duna out of it and then came to see if anyone has written how to make tapari. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it but I need to thank you. I have read other topics of your blog before and they are incredible. I didn't know dried ones were made from a machine!
      It would be lovely if you could later add a tutorial for tapari-making. Many who are asking about importing them would benefit. Who knows, foreigners may copy us for the sake of environment.

      Delete
    2. Hi Sheetal:

      I really appreciate your great comment and offering suggestions about the "tutorial on tapari making". Next time I visit Nepal, I will take pictures or even video to share with my blog readers all about Saal trees, leaves and how to make leaf plates. Hope you will stop by again...

      Delete
    3. HI Jyoti and Sheetal, hope i will help you soon on showing of leaf cup making from starting to end.

      Delete
  7. good hard work . keep it up .

    ReplyDelete
  8. hi jyoti, thanks for this information. what is the machine used here? can you give me some more information about this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ranjita, please check Annapurna Cottage Industries - http://leafplate.com/about-us.html

      Delete
    2. Hi Jyoti,
      Fabulous work done by you. The Annapurna cottage industries seems to be an indian company. Do you have any idea about any Nepalese manufacturer of duna, bota & tapari please.

      Delete
    3. I am sorry I am not aware of any other Nepali company that make tapari and duna.

      Delete
    4. Hi Ranjita and Sanjeev,

      Most of the indian machine used for making of sal duna tapari in Nepal. There are lots of industry who are producing duna tapari and we are going to one of them.

      Delete
  9. Hello Thank you for your information on Leaf Plates - do you know anyone who sells these to the uk? or any web sight that sells these? Many thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Justine - thank you for checking my blog. I am not aware of anyone selling "tapari-duna-bota" from Nepal to UK and do not know any website that sells these on-line. Sorry for not being helpful...

      Delete
    2. Hi Justine, we are planning to export Sal Leaf Plates in UK. I will update you once we do that and website is under construction.

      Delete
    3. Hey Sunil,

      Is your website live now? If so, is there a way to export these to the US as well?

      Delete
    4. We are trying to export to US but here Nepal Government concern department says, first bring the import authority certificate from US for these dry leaf plates then they will give me the permission to export.

      My beta version of website is live. It's www.laptey.com

      Delete
  10. Hi. thank you for sharing this one. this is a great article and a great experienced as well. As we all know nowadays recycling some other things are very useful right? and some of the people are very creative. just like in your case you are very creative and you recycled that leaf. upon reading your article I got amaze. hm. but by the way, can I suggest something? I think you can also use a Food Packaging Materials to protect your foods from dirt and to put your leaf plates so that it can be away from dirt. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jyoti, surprising ! Thank you for a kind information. I am trying to work with rural community in Kapilvastu to establish small industry of sal leaf plate. Also we are planning to export this product in US and European countries.

      Delete
  12. Hi...good effort. .i would like import this leaf plate to malaysia. plz advice me.
    Because i dont like to use polyester plate in my ashram activities for kids.
    thnk u.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Thilakavathy Rajagopal,
      First of all please do check whether you can import these Sal leaf plates & bowls or not. You need to take permission or certificate from respective Plant Quarantine Office. Once you get certificate please do send me scan copy at shrsunil@gmail.com. Rest I will take care of.

      Thank You.

      Kind Regards,
      Sunil

      Delete
    2. Thank you for visiting my blog Thilakavathy Rajagopalji and Sunilji -- Anyone who have been reading my blog for a while, will know that I have been trying to introduce Nepal's unique culinary and cultural heritage. I would appreciate if you could keep your comments relevant to the culinary-culture heritage of Nepal.

      Delete
    3. Dear Jyoti Jee,

      I am just trying to give answers of those questions, only post in this blog, so that every visitors come in this blog, know more about Sal Leaf.

      Sorry, if my post unrelated to this blog.

      Delete
  13. Nice information. I like this post so much. I would like to share you that shrutiflexipack provides the complete packing machine for food products in India. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Jayoti

    Thank you for nice collection of information. Would you mind sending some information regarding the communitis/user groups/facory working for making plates from leaves of Sal or any other plants?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Everybody I really found the information quite interesting and let me introduce myself.
    We are Gayatri Dyes & Chemicals leaders in providing raw materials for liquid sindoor and other cosmetic industry.All the chemicals and colours that we provide are cosmetics grade and Indian Pharma passed.We can help you to make the products from better to best.

    Liquid Sindoor raw materials

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello ,my name is Slavi Nestorov i'm from Bulgaria,your blog is fantastic, i'm really interested how can i get leaf plates in Bulgaria and surrounding countries .Do you have any export ? If you would like you can share more information regarding price and quantity on my email s_nestorov82@abv.bg . Thank you in advance

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is really very beautiful post and impressive too. I also want to share a video of Pepsi Packing Machine. Please watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZWfbFDFuls

    ReplyDelete
  18. हिंदी में नाम...
    Tapari - पत्तल
    Duna - दोना or दौना

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  20. hi, i´m from Colombia, i have a vegan restaurant and i would like to buy the dishes or maybe the machine to make them here. you could help me with a contact?!thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. Namaskar Carolina
      I am just a cookbook writer (Taste of Nepal) and a blogger promoting culinary and cultural heritage of Nepal. Please address your question to proper authority in Nepal regarding this.

      Delete
  21. Nice post. You share the whole process of water packing with video. Its really amazing. I would like to share you that shrutiflexipack is one of the best water packing machine manufacturer and suppiers in India. For more details visit www.shrutiflexipack.com/products/water-packing-machine.html

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Jyoti Pathak,

    Am really impressed by reading this blog. The great information which avoids plastic plates in our mother planet.

    Thanks a lot for your post.

    Hope You have heard about Chennai Trekking Club (CTC- http://www.chennaitrekkers.org/ ). We are in the mission of cleaning the country CCC (Chennai Coastal Cleanup: http://www.chennaitrekkers.org/2016/04/chennai-coastal-cleanup-7-may-june-2016.html)form plastics and making the people to avoid using one plastics in many situations.

    As a part of that am looking for an alternatives for hotels & small size food stalls from serving foods in plastic papers, by which animals are being affected a lot around the country.


    Would like to get in touch with you to learn a lot and looking forward for your contribution in CCC7
    Regards,
    Narendran Namachivayam.
    https://www.facebook.com/n4narendran
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/chennaitrekkingclub/
    https://www.facebook.com/chennaicoastalcleanup
    https://www.facebook.com/Ainthinai

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for writing and appreciating my blog. I hope you will keep checking my new posts.

      Delete
  23. This is very eco friendly and perishable. We need to encourage this leaf plates.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Jyoti,

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful information. Have you come across anybody who will be able to export these to the US yet? I know there are a lot of comments on those, but I didn't really see a definite answer. Please let me know if you know of someone.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Richa ,

      I Manoj Darisi prop: Srilakshmi Group of companies and we are vendors for Walmart in India we can help you to export the natural leaf plates please email me : manu356@gmail.com

      thank you

      Delete
  25. We are trying to export to US but here Nepal Government concern department says, first bring the import authority certificate from US for these dry leaf plates then they will give me the permission to export.
    My beta website is www.laptey.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi. Congratulations on such an excellent product and information. With what mashine do you produce the dry plates?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, dry plates are produce with machine, fitted with die and heater on it. For more information please check at www.laptey.com

      Delete
  27. Thank you for this wonderful post Jyoti.
    It it great to see alternatives to plastic. I believe the idea can be developed and used as a complete alternative to plastic bags.

    Is it possible to import Duna to Australia?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hannah, Australia is one of the strict country in order to import these Sal Duna Tapari. It is possible if one can send some approval certificate to us before trying to import. Please do have a look at www.laptey.com and facebook.com/laptey for Sal Leaf Products.

      Delete
    2. Dear Richa ,

      I Manoj Darisi prop: Srilakshmi Group of companies and we are vendors for Walmart in India we can help you to export the natural leaf plates please email me : manu356@gmail.com

      thank you

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  29. hello all,

    Firstly i thank jyothi for the fabulous work. i have seen couple of people in the blog are interested to export the product. we can help them to supply the product please contact me via email: manu356@gmail.com. for further communication

    thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mr. Manoj Kumar,
      Now we are in contact, price and products flyer will reached you withing few days.

      Delete