Everest New

The Ancient Art of Water Carving in Nepal

While walking through the stately courtyards and temples of Kathmandu, you will often come across ornate designs carved into stone and wood surfaces. These intricate patterns are evidence of a long Nepali tradition of creative skill with blades and tools.       

However, not many are aware of Nepal’s equally ancient tradition of water carving – an incredible art form where fleeting designs are carved into soft fruits and vegetables using nothing but sharp knives and flowing water.          

At Everest Cuisine, several of our Nepali staff are versed in the art of water carving, allowing them to transform ordinary produce into edible works of art for our guests.   

Water carving originated in Nepal hundreds of years ago as a means of decoration during festivals and ceremonies. Highly skilled craftsmen would patiently carve complex geometric designs and floral motifs into gourds, pumpkins, watermelons, and other seasonal produce.       

The process begins by first following out the inner flesh of the chosen fruit or vegetable. The exterior skin is then moistened to make it supple, allowing it to bend as thin slices are carved away using sharp knives dipped in water. Any mistakes are easily corrected due to the malleable nature of the product.      

As the carving progresses, water is constantly trickled onto the surface to keep it hydrated and pliable. This continuous supply of “fresh juice” also helps flush away waste and reveal the emerging design in vivid relief.    

At Everest Cuisine, our talented staff uses water carving to create ornate fruit and vegetable platters for celebrations as well as decorate individual dishes on our menu. They pride themselves on faithfully reproducing ornate Newari designs specific to the Kathmandu Valley as well as folk motifs from other parts of Nepal.

While apples, pumpkins, and watermelons are favorites for their size and durability, our carvers also relish the challenge of intricate designs on more perishable items like tomatoes, cucumbers, and limes. The results transport guests to the lush Kathmandu courtyards where this remarkable art form was born many centuries ago.             

More than just an act of creation, water carving nurtures contemplation and mindfulness through patience, concentration, and harmony between hand and tool. As drops of ‘juice’ trace graceful curves down carved contours, art briefly unifies with nature in a mesmerizing dance.

The fleeting yet timeless beauty of water carving captures the very essence of Nepali culture – a creative spirit that ingeniously harmonizes natural elements to produce enriching experiences and moments of wonder. And though the fruits of this ancient labor may last mere hours before spoiling, their memory can endure forever on the human soul.        

So next time you visit Everest Cuisine, look closely at our menu’s-curated produce and let the intricate designs that adorn your plate transport you –  if only briefly – into the captivating world of Nepali craftsmanship where art and nature fruitfully intersect.


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