The art of weaving gho and kira may not be unique to Bhutan anymore. In Samdrup Jongkhar, people across the border in India have been weaving gho and kira and selling them to Bhutanese customers for a living. And it’s not something new but it has been happening for several decades.
Purnima Moshary has been weaving Bhutanese traditional clothing for more than 18 years. She only weaves upon receiving orders from Bhutanese customers and has even employed six women to help her.
Purnima says she gets around 50 orders in a month and charges between Nu 1,000 and Nu 3,000 depending on the work.
“We are very near Bhutan, so we felt weaving Bhutanese clothes and selling them to customers would be a good way to make money,” said Purnima. “Sometimes, after making all the payments to the workers I am able to make about Nu 10,000 in a month.”
There are more than a hundred women here at the Garage Line locality in Assam who weave gho and kira for a living. The place is located only about a kilometre away from Samdrup Jongkhar town. And when it reaches the country, their products are popularly called the Samdrup Jongkhar Buras.
“I get customers only from Bhutan. I weave only when I get orders. Sometimes the income is good when there are many orders,” said Biule Swargry, who has also been weaving gho and kira for several years.
“I don’t have any other Business, it is only this. I weave Bhutanese clothes such as half kira and gho,” said Kanchan, another Garage Line resident.
Some of the women have been weaving gho and kira for as long as three decades.
Like most businesses, the women here say theirs were also affected badly by the covid pandemic. But things are getting back on track since the reopening of Bhutan’s border gates.
“I went back to my village and did some odd work to earn some money. But now I am back to weaving after the gates opened since this work is much better,” said Biule Swargry.
“The income from weaving and selling Bhutanese clothes was good before. But during the lockdowns, things became a bit difficult,” said Purnima Moshary.
Except for the Kishuthara patterns, these women weave all kinds of patterned gho and kira.