On the last day of my Bhutan trip, courtesy Taj Tashi Thimpu Bhutan, we stepped out for a visit to a few local places. The first stop was at the Jungshi Paper factory. Jungshi paper factory Thimpu, was established in 1990 by the Government of Bhutan in order to support this ancient, traditional way of paper manufacturing, so that the produces from here can be sold commercially in Bhutan and outside of Bhutan too. It has now become a major tourist attraction and why not? How many of us have seen paper being manufactured in real life? This is slightly conflicting as on one hand, we are on a constant strive to save paper but on the other hand, here is a factory which throws up a golden opportunity to watch the paper manufacturing process.
Entry fee and address
The official address of this place is – Namtag lane, Thimpu, Bhutan. However, anyone in Bhutan can help you with the directions since this is a popular tourist destination. The car won’t take you right to the factory but a little away at the downhill. There is a bit of walking uphill involved after purchasing tickets for 50 NU.
The tradition and the process
In Jungshi paper factory Thimpu, the paper that’s made is called Deh-Sho. This is the paper which was originally being used by the monasteries for prayer books, manuscripts and woodblock. The paper is made from the bark of Daphne and Dekhap trees, which are found at altitudes of 3000 ft and above. They follow a traditional process of paper making, which involves from boiling the barks to segregating the bad fibre, making the pulp by pounding the fibres, filtering out a thin layer using a wooden frame and bamboo and shaking it rhythmically. The process ends with excess water being squeezed out and the paper left to drying. When dried, these are further processed and painted for a finishing touch.
My experience at Jungshi paper mill
The entire process happens within a room, with the boiling of the barks and segregation of the fibres outside. There will be a guide but that may not be of much help for lack of a language translator. Around 15 people work within the room, taking care of all the processes and as you move around, you can sense a synchronised work flow with very less words being spoken around them. The place is not very well lit and there are restrictions to moving around inside. Having said that, one has to make the most of whatever you get to see. The stage of the paper manufacturing, where they filter the thin layer of pulp is worth watching repeatedly.
The Store at the end
If you are a fan of stationery like note books, writing pads, envelopes and greetings card, then this store will bound to charm you. There are some wonderful handcrafted stationery which can be picked up for personal collection or for gifting. There are wall hangings too, which are painted with vegetable colours with a guarantee for the colours used. Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed inside. So no pics to support any of the above statements.
In an age, where use of paper and manufacturing of paper is becoming extinct, this was a wonderful rare experience. I have always loved using a fountain pen and writing on paper rather than taking notes in your handheld device and for me, this was a happy and memorable moment indeed.
Do you love to use stationery? Do you love using writing instruments? Share your story with me please