Nanginis of Nepal

08 Jun

Before modern-day pedicurists came into existence, Nepal had Nanginis. Nanginis, also known as Naunis in Newari language, are traditional female pedicurists who trim and beautify the feet using the famous “ala” (bright red paste), natural ingredients and age-old tools.

Nanginis are typically from the Newari community and belong to the Napit family. The age-old skill is passed down from generation to generation. An older Nangini chooses and trains a younger female family member to carry on her legacy, who visits the families of those for whom her predecessor worked. These professionals use tools that modern pedicurists often don’t, such as water, “brick powder” to polish the nail, and “Ala,” a deep red moist mixture that is applied after the nail has been cut with “chhalancha,” a metal tool used as a nail cutter. The entire process known as “lusi dhenegu” (nail cutting) takes about 15-20 minutes and is quite enjoyable.

Apart from the pedicures, Nanginis are also sought after for their herbal pastes (medicines), which are said to have healing properties and used to treat sprains, minor injuries. All these factors contribute to the popularity of Nepali traditional pedicurists, whose skill is extremely rare, old, and limited to a specific community. In the past, Nanginis were called during special occasions and ceremonies for women from the Newar and Thakuri communities apart from the regular visits, but the practice appears to have lost popularity over time. When in Nepal, those interested in pampering and self-indulgence should definitely try the traditional pedicure and have an experience of a lifetime.

Source: Nepal Now