Laymen see just a piece of wood but artists visualize different images within this piece. Kul Bahadur Ghale, 39, finds rhinos hidden inside a chunk of sissoo wood.
After some 3 hours of constant carving of piece of wood, a beautiful figure of rhino appears. Kul Bahadur of Kumroj VDC has been involving in craftsmanship for 3 years.
Initially he received craft training for 3 months sponsored by Mirgakunja Users' Group Committee. He could make elephant as well but he mainly focuses on rhino as there is great demand for it. He makes four pieces of small-sized rhino (3", 4") and two pieces of big-sized rhino (5", 6") per day. Depending upon the size of rhino, he sells from NPR 100 to 550 per piece to souvenir shops. The cost is higher when he sells directly to customers from his shop in Sauraha. His monthly income from this profession is around NPR 15000. He buys sissoo wood from Kumroj Committee Forest at cost of NPR 200 per cubic feet.
As there are only six craftsmen working around Sauraha area, the demand is greater than production rate. "Rhinos made for one souvenir shop are taken by another shop as we could not fulfill their demands" he said. He is satisfied with this profession but feels sad that young people are not much interested in this profession. Kul Bahadur said that he had once trained a young man but he was only interested in art and painting. He said, "I am much willing to share the skill to interested people." He feels happy when people admire and appreciate his masterpiece. Wooden rhino is regarded as the best souvenir for the visitors who come to Chitwan National Park to see the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis).