Discover Raju’s Passion For Making The Traditional Bhutanese Bow And Arrow

Email

The class VI drop-out earns at least Nu 8,000 a month by making bows and arrows.

Prince William trying dha - archery in Bhutan. (Source: Daily Mail UK)

 

By Nirmala Pokhrel | Kuensel

When Damphu town in Tsirang saw some sun after several days of light rain, it was time for Raju Gurung to work on his hobby again - making traditional bows and arrows.

With a sack full of slim bamboo sticks (Yangka, jalasam, sibrum), a lamp, a bunch of silk yarn and white cello tape, he sits outside his house at the Department of Road’s camp above the forest check post in Damphu and got busy.

 

Source: Kuensel Online

 

Although his work uses simple materials, serious concentration is required. In just an hour, he deftly makes a pair of traditional arrow and a bow using his bare hands.

He said that even though he can make a set of traditional bow and arrow quickly, he rarely gets time to do it. He claimed that he can produce at least 10 pairs of arrow in a month.

“Making the arrow takes more time while making the bow is easy, it can be done quickly,” he said.

The class VI drop-out earns at least Nu 8,000 a month by making bows and arrows. If he gets to work regularly, he says that making traditional bows and arrows can fetch at least Nu 40,000 a month.

To earn a living, Raju Gurung works as a driver for DoR and remains occupied even during the weekends. Even though he has received orders from archery players, he cannot always cope with demands as he does not get enough time to sit down and work on his craft.

Where does Raju source for materials used in making traditional bows and arrows?

According to Raju, buying from villagers who cultivate the arrow material in Jala is cheaper for him. He also revealed that gathering the raw materials is tedious. Take for instance, the bamboo used for making the arrows are brought from Jala in Wangdue and also from the market in Thimphu. For the bow, regular bamboo is used. He buys it from Semjog, Patshaling and Barshong in Tsirang.

 

Source: travelblog.org

 

Depending on the quality of the bamboo, a pair of traditional bow and arrow set can sell for between Nu 80 and Nu 500.

Raju is also an avid archer

It does not come as a surprise that with his passion for making traditional bows and arrows, Raju holds a record of hitting 13 karays in a day in an archery competition. He also broke the record in March 2014 during the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck archery tournament in Changlingmithang.

His interest in archery started in 2005 when he began his career as a driver with DoR in Sengor, Mongar. Back then, archery for Raju was all about entertainment and spending time with his friends on his days off work.

With his interest in archery piqued, the father of two took the sport more seriously and began playing in tournaments in 2008. However, after two rounds of the first tournament, he was too nervous to continue.

“I dropped out and could not play for a year. However, it was in the fourth match that I broke the record,” he said. 

Despite making archery equipment as a side-job and hobby, Raju actually thought that “it is more of strength than the bow and arrow that makes a difference in the archery ground.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

The Perils of Dha – Bhutan’s National Game

Dha (Archery), the national sport of Bhutan is a double edged sword – while it is entertaining, it can also be...

Sep 30, 2017 05:33

Archery Helps Paraplegic Move

30-year-old Pema Rigsel from Thimphu is one of the recurve archers at Bhutan Archery Federation. He is the first...

Nov 20, 2017 10:57

Archery Players in Bumthang Plead for Support

“Bumthang has four or five archery ranges but none is for traditional tournament. So we feel that there is not much...

Oct 27, 2017 12:19

Tandin Dorji Crowned as Best Archer

Tandin Dorji is now crowned as the best archer in the two-day BAF International Style Compound Archery Competition held...

Oct 23, 2017 07:17

Bhutanese Female Archer makes a Comeback

Sherab Zam is a former national archer with the Bhutan Archery Federation. The 35-year-old retired in 2013 to become a...

Oct 06, 2017 07:03

The Vanishing Art Of Pottery Making In Bhutan

60-year-old Tshewang Choden is the last surviving potters in Gangzur, a village that was once known for pottery making.

Apr 09, 2018 23:18

Latest

News

Snowman Run – As Important As It Is For Bhutan, The Run Is For The World

The run was envisioned by His Majesty The King after multiple visits to the highlands.

Oct 14, 2019 20:28

Bhutan To Be First Country To Achieve Universal Health Coverage: Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering

The ultimate objective is to provide access to health care for all people.

Sep 29, 2019 00:28

Features

Patra – Bhutanese Art Of Wood Carving

Patra carvings can be found in the production of books, images, architectural designs, furniture and many other wooden artefacts.

Oct 10, 2019 10:18

Bhutan's Waste Recycling Plant - Greener Way Creates Value Out Of Plastic Waste

Through the modification of plastic waste by using better recycling strategies, the firm produces plastic poles for socio-economic and...

Oct 07, 2019 11:44

Sports

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58

Business

Cottage & Small Industries Flagship Programme Rolled Out In Bhutan, Set To Create More Jobs

The CSI sector was identified as one the flagship programme in view of its greater socio-economic roles in Bhutan.

Oct 11, 2019 15:38

Bhutan’s Himalayan Food Aims To Produce Healthy Snacks With A Worldwide Reach

Himalayan Food currently produces potato chips, apple chips and banana chips.

Sep 25, 2019 23:58

Travel

Plans In The Pipeline To Set Up More Homestays In Sakteng, Eastern Bhutan

We are hopeful that our homestay business in Sakteng will boom with the increase in the number of tourists."

Oct 12, 2019 12:43

Thimphu Tshechu And What It means To The Bhutanese

The Thimphu Tshechu is the biggest festival in Bhutan, among other religious tshechus that happen in every district.

Oct 08, 2019 23:58

Lifestyle

Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

Oct 05, 2019 10:18

Critically Acclaimed Film - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Showcases The Magic Of Bhutan’s Highlands

Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, this highly acclaimed movie has been accepted for more than 10 international film festivals.

Sep 23, 2019 23:28

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!