Every Incense Has a Fair Trade Story

Every Incense Has a Fair Trade Story

Written by: Emily Heller, Bloomington Intern


These Ganesh Himal Trading Incense (above) are made by Tibetan nuns in the Kopan Monastery and they have been making the incense for over 25 years! The monastery is for nuns who were forced to leave Tibet but now accepts women from both Tibet and India.

All of the ingredients are from the local market and then mixed together for the different incense. Mixing is done in a machine but the cutting, drying and packing are all done by the hands of the nuns. The technique used by these nuns have been passed down in Tibetan culture for many years.

The nun-made incense was originally made by a Nepalese Newari nun living in Swayambhu and had made them for nearly thirty years, later on they moved the nunnery out of Swayambhu and stopped making the incense after the nun died. The family of the nun who used to manage the incense is now making the incense out of their house. They have four employees making the incense on a salary to do kneading, rolling, cutting, drying and the packing the incense. The women help in making the incense while the father does the distribution and collection of money from the shops.

Asta Sugandha Incense (above) are handmade traditional Nepali rope incense made by the family of Laxmi Newa that are traditionally used for daily household prayers. This family uses multiple herbs that are located in the Himalaya and these herbs are said to have healing powers and are made by adding the herbs to rice paper and rolling the rice paper until it forms into a coiled rope, perfect for burning.

Our newer collection of incense also include many from Dipendra, a group in Nepal. Tree bark is used for binding instead of saw dust and glue that most incense artisans use. No oils are used in this product, scents are from local herbs only. Global Grooves has come back from a recent trip to Nepal visiting this local artisan group and provided us with pictures of artisans and the production of these incense!


Devi (left), has been making incense for 5 years. Sanumaya Punjabi (right) has two children and has been working with incense for 10 years.

How It's Made:

The process of making these incense is quite extensive, including being pressed together from different powders and herbs, being cut, straightened out, and then dried.

Here are artisans drying, straightening, and packaging the incense.



Thank you to Global Groove for providing us with these pictures!

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