Tattooing in Nepal


Tattooing is not a recent practice. It has been done around the world as an art form from the ancient times according to the archaeological findings. The oldest discovery of tattooed human skin of an Iceman is dated 3370 B.C.  As researchers found the tattoo on joints, they believe it to be for therapy purpose. Egyptian mummies also have been found having tattoos on their bodies. Tattoos were done for status symbols, love, religious beliefs, body decoration and commonly for punishment. Mostly older women did the tattooing and used sharp point set in a wooden handle. This tradition can be found until now.

Tattooing in Nepal

Many Nepali people and foreigners want to get a tattoo in Nepal. But they are unable to find a proper place to get it done.  Some foreigners even want to have the traditional tattoo which is mostly done by the people of indigenous groups such as Tharu and Newars. Beside it, one of the well known and recommended tattoo place as found on the internet research is Mohan’s Tattoo Inn. It was established in 2000 A.D  in Lake Side, Pokhara and has shifted to Thamel, Kathmandu in 2005. It gives emphasis to the quality and hygiene of the customers. New needles and new ink is used to prevent contamination along with other precautions for possible dangers. It offers custom designs meeting the desires of the customer.  You can visit for more information about them.

Some foreigners are not sure about having a tattoo in Kathmandu as it is generally considered by them to be one of the polluted and unhygienic cities in the world. They are conscious about the water they would be using here and fear from getting infected.  However, there are also foreigners who had a tattoo done in Kathmandu and believe it to be safe as it is done in their home place. They find the tattoo artists to be incredible. Along with the appreciation they recommend avoiding the use of tap water for cleaning tattoo. They urge to use the filtered water. It is advised to look for the proper place and get rid of tension about the health problems.

Traditional Nepalese tattoos

Tattooing is not a new trend in Nepali society. As Nepal is multicultural and multi-ethnic country, different communities and tribal groups have been involved in this practice from an ancient time. Among them, one is the Newari community. They have the belief of security from illness with a help of tattoo. Thus, they make a new tattoo every five years not to be a victim. Basically, the tattooing is done on women’s ankle and wrist. In the past years, Newari women got tattoos during the different carnivals and festivals such as Rato Macchindra Jatra and Indra Jatra. Even children were colored in the belief that it would protect them from devilish power and different diseases. Nature and gods are the primary design they get and the color is made from coal, milk and other various types of plants.

In a similar way, the Tharu community of Terai region does practice tattooing. It is generally known as leela and it is done on the body of both male and female. Mostly, it is found over female’s as it demonstrates the beauty of women. But due to the impact of modernity, old women do have more tattoos than the younger ones. These women consider that the tattoo would lead them towards the path of heaven. They are taught to have tattoos from their childhood otherwise, it would lead them to the hell and they would be tortured brutally. The women were not even allowed to get married prior having tattoos. Another implication of tattooing for them is its effect on health. They believe the pain and the blood during tattooing would relieve them from diseases and further they would be able to bore a child.

A tattoo is also popular among Gurungs and Magars. The female members of the community decorate themselves over faces and lips with a pattern of sun, moon, and stars. They mostly use goat’s milk and coal for preparing the ink.

Things to remember before tattooing

Before having a tattoo, an individual should research about the tattoo artists and the shop. The Internet is the medium through which you could get much information regarding them. But do not be limited to it. You can also get information from your friends and relatives who have had the prior experience of getting a tattoo. After finding a quality place, you should trust their ability regarding the work. You could speak about them about your need and you should have even guts to compromise.

It is not possible to get every part of the body inked due to health issues. There could be problems from such acts. To get it properly, the artist should know at least the basic technical aspect of the body. For example, he/she should know about tattooing in the fattier, muscular, thinner and tighter skin.

It is not recommended to drink the night before you are tattooing but instead of it, drinking lots of water is good and take rest. If you have some medical problems it is better to consult your doctor. You also should be financially prepared for the cost of the tattoo and it should be figured out before you get inked.

Removing tattoo

Removing tattoo is not an easy job. The density of color and the depth of the color inserted play a vital role. Color also affects how the tattoo fades. Generally, dark blue and black tattoos can be easily removed, however; green and yellow are stubborn. There are some ways such as laser treatment, removing the layers of the skin with the help of surgery and applying chemicals and removing it. But the act of removing is expensive. It cannot be done at once and each visit to the doctor with a handful of cash is a pain. It does not stop here. You could feel pain afterward and problems can arise such as scars and white patches.