Money

Business brightens at Kathmandu's bazaars

- KRISHANA PRASAIN, Kathmandu

Nov 6, 2018-

Hordes of festival shoppers thronged markets in the Kathmandu Valley as Tihar, the five-day-long celebration of lights and flowers, got underway Monday. At the bazaars, stalls displaying candles and electric lights spilled over on to the streets, adding to the festive spirit. Only pavement stalls carried traditional clay oil lamps.

Chinese-made candles and electric lights have flooded the market as Nepalis are not so keen on buying traditional oil lamps as they were during the load-shedding days a few years ago, traders said. People decorate their homes with strings of light bulbs hoping that Goddess Laxmi (the goddess of wealth) will visit them and bless them with prosperity.

Many shops in the Valley are offering modern lights in various designs like rice light, rocket light, crystal light, crystal cutting (small), rotating light, flower light and tree light, among others. Demand for decorative lamps is expected to rise sharply. Candles of various designs and colours are another fast-selling item. Candles in the shape of fruits and flowers like sunflower and rose are the latest hits. 

Fancy electric lights have been gradually replacing traditional oil lamps. Merchants said that the practice of burning oil lamps during Tihar was starting to disappear. They said that people buy electric lamps as they are hassle-free and cost less compared to traditional oil or butter lamps. Many people are now buying electric lamps as they last longer and are cheaper.

The formal declaration of the end of load-shedding by the Nepal Electricity Authority in 2016 was also one of the key reasons why sales of electric lamps have increased by leaps and bounds.

Bidhya Prakash Pandey, proprietor of Pandey Electrical at Bhote Bahal, said the light business had grown significantly from last year when his turnover amounted to Rs40,000-50,000 daily. “I had to hire temporary staff to sell lights and manage the crowds at my shop last year,” he said. “I had never seen such business before.” Business is good this Tihar too, but it's not like last year, he said.

One shopkeeper at Mahabauddha said even a small shop has a turnover of Rs1 million during the festival season, and their largest selling items are electric lamps.

Dipu Prasad Swapar, proprietor of Dipu Electrical at Bhote Bahal, said they had introduced many lights in new designs during this festival as per market demand. His shop carries festival lights with price tags ranging from Rs150 to Rs1,000. Swapar expects his daily turnover to reach Rs20,000-25,000. Prices depend on quality and design. “Most of the festival lights are imported from China,” he said.

Janak Timilsina, a customer browsing the market at Bhote Bahal, said prices of festival lights had gone up significantly. Traders said that prices had increased 5-10 percent this year.

Subid Tripathi, owner of a shop selling electric products at Mahabauddha, said that rope lights, pipe lights, star lights and heart lights were among the products most in demand. “The increasing trend of decorating offices, shopping complexes, vehicle showrooms and corporate houses during Tihar has also boosted sales,” said Tripathi. “They are bulk buyers of festival lights,” he said.

Published: 06-11-2018 09:48

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