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Lions Roar : May 2018
The Markets of Bhodur LONG BEFORE TOURISTS ARRIVED, Bhodur’s artisans carved sculptures and left them in temples as offerings to the gods. They memorized the faces of the local nymphs who frequented their lakes and the gods of thunder who rolled over their mountains, and they spent months carv- ing the visages into sandalwood and stone. It was only due to the curiosity of wandering backpackers that these treasures were discovered by the West. Do you have another one of these? visitors asked, lifting an effigy from a temple alter. Bhodur’s artisans sent word home to sisters, broth- ers, uncles, and aunts to produce more effigies and soon found they could earn money for their family by selling statues along the roadside. Artisans migrated from the mountains to erect makeshift booths for their wares, while others rolled out food carts, and farmers left their fields and moved to the city to make their fortunes in its open-air markets and collectable shops. Indeed, in Bhodur, you can find blankets dyed with the bloodroot of sunset and the foxglove of mountains. Every stall in Bhodur glows with objects lined up for sale. They shimmer as we wander from shop to shop, seeking to stock our suitcases with exotic riches. At every stall, intricately carved statues can be found for a fraction of what they’d cost back home, and we walk away with glass beads, silver brace- lets, and coffee tables inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Bhodur has quickly become a destination for our merchants to stock boutiques back home, and they fill shipping containers so as to sell treasures to those of us who are too poor to purchase a plane ticket but rich enough to buy a tapestry. The artisans lay out their wares in the morning light, hoping to fulfill our desires, all of us wishing for something much better. LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 69