You cannot live a place without buying a few souvenirs. They stand as a reminder of the place. If you are visiting northeast India, some of the things that you can buy are as under:
Assam silk is exclusively produced in Assam. It is also known by the name Paat, Muga, Eri Silk. The Assam silk is the identity of Assam’s tradition. It is used to weave the famous traditional cloth mekhela sador of Assam. It is also used to weave men’s shirts and other clothes. Men can prefer to buy a shirt made of Muga silk as a souvenir. You can also buy scarfs or hats made from Assam silk. The traditional cloth of Assam- the Gamusa can also be purchased as a souvenir of the place. The Gamusa pattern shirts of men are very popular ethnic wear.
Naga shawls are handmade shawls with colorful patterns (mainly of animal prints) weaved by Naga people from Nagaland. People from Nagaland have a rich tradition of clothing and weaving, and the Naga shawl is an important part of the same. If history is to be believed, these shawls were only allowed to be worn by the bravest of men. Anyone wearing the same without proper authority is liable to penalties. Though that is not the case now.
Different types of Naga shawl are available in various shops and stores with each depicting different cultures and traditions. They are mainly available in a combination of black, red and white hues. One unique feature of these shawls is that three pieces are woven individually and stitched together to make a Naga shawl. It also helps you keep warm in cold weather.
Most tribes in the northeast region are popular for their jewelry-making skills. The handmade Naga jewelry is something you should buy from this region. Unlike other pieces of jewelry, these jewelries are embellished with materials like animal horns, nails, teeth, etc. These colorful and unique pieces of jewelries can be beautifully paired with your outfits. They can also be great picks for gifting to your loved ones.
The largest river island in Assam boasts of rich culture and heritage. One of the main artifacts of the people of Majuli is the hand-made mask. In Majuli, there are several mask-making satras (instructional centers), where Bhakats (priests in Assam are termed as Bhakats) make masks of mythological characters. The materials used in making these masks are bamboo, clay, and clothes. These masks are a must buy for art and antique lovers. You can also decorate your homes with these.
Bamboo trees are widely found in the northeastern region, as they are cultivated on a large scale. People of all the northeastern states are good at carving bamboo products. You can choose from a wide array of products like bags, lamps, vase, baskets, and other artifacts. What makes these bamboo products special is the perfect handwork and finishing. You can also choose to buy ugha, sereki, jotor, jakoi, khaloimade of bamboo, which are household items widely used in the region.
The state of Assam is a paradise for tea lovers. The upper part of the state has a huge number of tea estates with rich aromatic tea plantations. The types of tea available in the region are black tea, green tea, purple tea, golden tea, and many more. Assam tea is popular worldwide and is the only region where tea is grown in plain areas.
A visit to the tea estates of Assam can also lend you the opportunity to indulge in a tea tasting spree. The taste and aroma of the tea leaves of Assam are nowhere to be found. If you do not pick up different variants of tea leaves from the region, then it will be a great mistake. You can get yourself packed some freshly picked tea loves to enjoy while sitting at home reminiscing your beautiful days in the region.
Mekhela Chador is the traditional cloth for females in the state of Assam. Mekhela Chador comes with three dress materials, a skirt-type garment, a blouse, and a chador. The chador is tucked in the skirt and worn over the shoulder like a saree. A mekhela Chador is a must-buy from Assam. One can go for the simple “Bua chador”, which is not very expensive and weaved with simple silk namely Ludhiana paat, noni paat, ghisa paat, toss muga, etc. Paat muga is a bit expensive but totally worth every penny. They are available in different colors and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful attires found in the country.
In the scenic state of Manipur, which is also termed as the “Jewel of India”, there is a small village named Longpi. The village is making its name worldwide with its unique black stone pottery, which is also known as “Longpi Hamlei pottery”. The pottery is done with the help of moulds, tools, and hands.No pottery wheel or any other equipment is used. They are 100% eco-friendly as they are made with natural stone and hilly clay. You should definitely try to pick some Longpi Hamlei utensils to cook your sumptuous food at home. They are lightweight, durable, and can be easily put in microwave or gas because of black stone.
The Jaapi or Japi, also known as Khomfri (in Bodo language), is a conical shaped hat traditional hat of Assam. The hat weaved with bamboo or/and cane and tokou paat. Tokou paat is a large palm leaf that goes by the scientific name Trachycarpus martianus found in the hilly regions of the northeast. They generally come in red and black combination with a thick border of red.
In the past, plain jaapis were worn as a protection from the sun. However, ornate and beautifully decorated jaapis were worn as a symbol of status by the wealthy Assamese people. Gradually, the Jaapi won the status of being the identity of Assam. They are offered as a sign of respect to elders, or as a sign of felicitation to esteemed guests in ceremonies, worn in Bihu festival and also hung around on the walls of northeastern people, especially Assamese people. You can buy a Jaapi from Assam to use it as a decorative item for your house.
Kauna is a type of reed or rush, which is cultivated in the wetlands of the Imphal valley in Manipur. It has a very soft and spongy stem, which is used to weave mats and cushions. These mats are used for sitting in rituals, temples and other holy ceremonies. People also use them for domestic purposes for sitting and sleeping at home. A Kauna mat can be a great buy from the northeast, which nowhere else found. They can be used at your home to sit or lie in your leisure time. They can also be used as exercise mats. You can also use them outside for picnics, as they are not very heavy to carry.
The state of Meghalaya is known for its amazing bamboo handicrafts. Meghum khok is an artistic basket weaved by the hilly tribes of the region, which is used to store valuable items. These baskets truly have an artistic essence, which is hard to find in other bamboo made baskets. One of such baskets can be very useful for you to carry items or place as a decorative item at your home.
Risa & Riha are two popular handwoven fabrics of Tripura state. These fabrics are popular for the elegant designs, lasting texture, and bold hues. Handloom is one of the main industries of all the northeastern states and so of Tripura’s, where people from both rural and semi-urban areas are engaged in this task. Both these fabrics are an important part of the culture of the tribal community. These fabrics are great for stitching different types of wearables like scarfs, shawls, skirts, etc. With this, you not only will be having something good as a souvenir but will also be contributing to the economic development of the rural people.
This art lies with the people of Nungbi village of Manipur. It is mainly done by the Tangkhul tribe who has successfully made its name outside the state as well. The special technique is believed to be inherited from the Neolithic Period, which makes use of clay and black rock as the main ingredients. The products are crafted without a potter wheel. You can buy cookers, pots, cups and many more. Cooking in these utensils makes your food tasty besides keeping its nutrients intact.
Sarthebari, Assam is home to the bell metal industry. It is the second-largest handicraft of the state. Bell metal is an alloy made with tin and copper. Utensils made of bell metal are of great value in the region, which are used for domestic as well as religious purposes. They are still carved and made with ageold method of burning and shaping the metal. It is also considered that consuming food from such utensils is healthy for the body. You can buy plates, spoons, pots, bowls or glass made from bell metal.
The state of Sikkim is home to the top qualities of pure sheep wool. It has a huge population of sheep, which owes to high-quality wool production. Wool production is an important part of the industry of Sikkim. Different varieties of wool are available at very attractive rates. You can choose to buy the best quality wool from the region. It feels ultra-soft to the skin and at the same time keeps your body warm in winters.