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The raw material necessary to make this hand made paper is the Lokta plant, a Daphne species found in the Himalayan mountain region at an altitude of 6,500 to 10,000 feet. It is an evergreen plant belonging to the Thymileoceae family. There are many different species of Daphne but only five of them are really suitable for making paper. The Lokta plant can grow up to 10 feet tall and four inches thick. The plant is usually ready to be cut four years after it sprouts. Lokta can be called the "inner crop" of the forest because they grow in the shade of big plants. The total Lokta forest area in the Kingdom of Nepal is 1910826.20 hectors. The total amount of green bark of Loka in these areas is 110481.03 metric tons! The Lokta plant is found in the forests of various hilly districts. This plant has been protected and saved from being destroyed in a natural way- Animals do not eat it and it is not good as fuel as it gives off a pungent smoke when burnt. For commercial growing purposes it is done in a very systematic way. It is grown in the isles under larger trees on plantations. Ground layering is a common way to produce a continuous crop. Above all, when a Lokta plant is properly cut it can reproduce 3 to 8 new plants from its suckers (the plant can also be grown from seeds).
Looking back at the history of this paper, no concrete proof is available about when exactly Lokta paper came into use. This in a way proves that the craft is an age-old ancient method. Some assume that is was brought into Nepal in the eleventh century. The sacred Buddhist text 'Karanya Buha Sutra', currently treasured in the National Archives in Kathmandu, is written on Nepali hand made paper in the Lichchhavi script. Since the book was written in this form of script we can guess that it was written sometime between the first and ninth century A.D. This proves the strength and life of Nepali hand made paper. In addition, the paper has multiple uses apart from reading and writing applications. It is also used for medical purposes and for making rope incense.
This is perhaps the only paper which is absolutely free from any chemical treatments. There is no bleach or chlorine used in the making of this paper. It is totally natural. The soil that the plants are grown in is also 100% organic. Lokta paper is wood free and can be recycled over a number of times. The Lokta papers that we are selling here are not made from recycled or waste paper materials (although it can have the look of recycled paper).