Click on title to view photo in large format: Shop owner strings a custom necklace in the Pote Bazaar (bead market) area of Indra Chowk in Kathmandu, Nepal. Hindu women, especially those of the Brahmin and Chhetri caste, receive a string of these beads at their wedding, which they wear for the rest of their lives as a symbol of their marriage. Though the shop owners at Pote Bazaar are now facing competition from newer shops in malls, the tiny stalls at Indra Chowk are still considered the traditional place to purchase items made from the glass beads.
One quirky fact about Pote Bazaar is that most shops are owned by Muslims, rather than Hindus. According to legend, the place where the market stands today used to be the banks of a river where funeral rites were performed. Over time, the river shifted, but superstitious Hindus refused to occupy an area that was once reserved for burning ghats. King Pratap Malla consulted with priests and was told the land would be suitable for people who wrote backwards (left to right). The Kashmiri Muslims who were invited to settle the area have remained for generations, crafting beautiful jewelry and embroidered items from the handmade beads.