Three kilometres from Khaling is the National Handloom Development Project, operated by the National Women’s Association of Bhutan (NWAB). It contracts out weaving and provides cotton yarn on credit to about 200 villagers, who then return the finished product to be sold here, in Trashigang or at Handicraft Emporiums in Thimphu, Paro and Bumthang.
It has samples of about 300 designs and, although it doesn’t have fabric from every design in stock, it will take orders. Particularly interesting are samples of the plants that are used to produce the natural dyes, including rhododendrons (pale yellow), an insect secretion called lac (purple) and the stem of the madder creeping plant (pale pink). Photography of the workshops and the design samples is strictly prohibited. Prices for a length of woven cloth vary from Nu 1000 up to Nu 30,000, and there are also shawls for sale. Most of the basic cotton is imported from Kolkata.