It’s 4:30 am, and Meena Thapa is ready to begin her day. As soon as she wakes up, Thapa freshens up and then dutifully prepares breakfast for her two children, before heading out to work in a relative’s field, where she picks Makhamali flowers all day.
A resident of Gundu in Suryabinayak Municipality-7, Bhaktapur, Thapa, 34, is a housewife. But for the past two months, she’s taken up the role as a full-time entrepreneur, working hours on end at the Makhamali field, plucking and weaving Makhamali blossoms and then selling them to traders to bring home some extra income.
But it’s not just Thapa who has adopted this new side profession. Nearly 700 households in Gundu are growing and harvesting flowers ahead of the festivals for extra income. If anyone visits Gundu this time of the year, it is hard to miss the craze of the Makhamali, also known as Globe Amaranth: sacks on sacks of flowers lie on porches, and rafters of roofs are draped in garlands of purple, red and pink. Makhamali garlands are highly sought after during the Tihar festival, particularly on the day of Bhai Tika. And the demand only goes higher once the festival starts.