Manipur : Unique Scarves from Lotus Fibre

In a small village named Thanga Tongbram located in the Bishnupur district of Manipur lives 27 years old Bijiyashanti Tongbram. Loktak lake is a few kilometres from her home which is the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast region. This lake is famous for its numerous small islands known as phumdis and the thousands of lotuses blooming in it.

In this region, the lotuses are used as offerings to the gods and also for decorative purposes, but Bijiyashanti has learnt the technique of extracting fibre that is soft as silk from the lotuses’ stems and making thread from it. These threads can be used to knit scarves, stitch ties, and make masks. There are only a few places in the world where this kind of work is done – in Myanmar and in Cambodia.

Since learning the technique to extract the fibre and spin the thread, Bijiyashanti has opened her own enterprise named ‘Sanajing Sana Thambal’ and decided to teach this method to other women in her village.