Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Art of Weaving Yatha

Yatha- a traditional, hand- made fabric stemming mostly from the small hamlets of Bumthang valley is an art worth learning and practicing. On the finely arranged rows of blue, black or sometimes white background lays the patterns embedded. The designs of sketchy admixture of colours find its place in between the queues of intricate threads (base material) that supports them.

Yatha for sofa cover -the last row & the first 2 rows of woolen dhenkheb...
The so called base material is outstretched on its four-legged stand (local name:Thrithag). It has a provision of a jut each on the two legs on one of the sides. This in turn supports the wooden plank, forming a kind of bench for the weaver.

The yarn to be passed through the base material is coiled on a cylindrical stick, by its way meandering up and down the stick until it reaches a reasonably thick girth. Each glide of it through the base material will have to be followed by a corresponding shift in the position of leg on the stepping stand. The right and the left leg take its alternate turns to tap on the four stands.

An amateur weaver will have to look intently to ensure that the right one is being tapped upon. However, for the well experienced ones, the expertise with which they accomplish the same is like an automated machine.

For every two horizontal runs the yarn undertakes amid the vertical rows of base material, the colorful designs will have to be worked out simultaneously. This is followed by a firm thud with the help of a hand loom. It presses, interlocks and stiffens the fabric in place. All these steps in a successive manner mend the fabric into the shape it ought to be and for the purpose it’s meant to be.

It is beyond a tinge of doubt that the way in which it adorns the sofa, the divan and even the seats inside luxurious cars is exquisite. It can be a substitute for bed sheets, locally known as Dhenkheb. The fact that it finds a place of pride gliding upon the shoulder of some of the youngsters is also quite thrilling. Is it a revival of the age-old tradition?

More than anything, the Yatha Jackets bestow protection against the freezing winter breeze. It is neither astonishing to see that it has launched an eye-catchy appeal in the fashion industry. Indeed, it’s a pride of unique identity that the Bhutanese fashion industry can cling upon.

All in all, it is an art to be learnt, a pride to be beholden, a tradition to be practiced, preserved and ultimately ushered to the forthcoming generations.

Yatha Jacket- the one my mother wove to adorn herself.


  1. Nice one! Yet I am to get one and try how I look in Yathra coat!

  2. Nice description. But Bhutanese girls hardly wear. It seems just for tourists and our elders..

  3. Tutorial Training abt Yathra......

  4. Thank you all for visiting and dropping in your heart thrilling comments.