Allo products on verge of extinction

Himalayan News Service

Ramechhap, March 8:

Allo, a kind of silk producing plants, which is popular in Ramechhap district, is on the verge of extinction.

The plant, once collected from the forest, are boiled in water to produce silk type material. With help from an indigenous machine called Tan, clothes are then woven from this material. This practice of making clothes out of the Allo plant has been going on in the district for centuries.

Generally, ethnic Thami people used to make Nepali caps, bags, coats and other domestic clothes out of Allo silk. Allo plant, which is found at a height of 2,000 metres on damp soil, has proved itself to be one of the most important sources for cloth production. Such rare plants should be properly preserved in the country, opined a local Thamis.

Despite having such usefulness, no NGO or INGO is showing interest for its protection. The rough type clothes produced from Allo thread is called Bhangra in typical Nepali language. Due to the shortage of Allo plants in the forest, Bhagras are hardly found these days, said Chandraman Thami, a local resident.

Bhangra dresses are normally put on during the marriage ceremony of Thami people. Now, a typical Bhangra dress is being replaced by modern cotton clothes, he added. Such Allo plants could also be found in Sindhuligadhi mountain but due to over-use of the plant during the war with the British military, they were disappeared from the area, according to local elderly people.

In the past, even people from the Majhi caste used to wear Bhangra dresses, said Keshav Satyal of Manthali. But with time and disappearance of the plant, such practices have been discontinued. For the survival of such herbal wealth and goods, awareness among local residents is of paramount importance, he added.