Tihar celebrators this year may have to pay more and look harder for the all-important flower garlands because last week's unseasonal downpour has damaged flower fields in Nepal and India, its main supplier, insiders said.
The festival of flowers and lights begins on November 3, and shopping for necessities has already begun.
Garlands - makhamali or marigold flowers strung together for the occasion - hold huge cultural significance during this festival as sisters put them around their brothers' necks on a special day honoring their sacred bond.
“The October rains have caused a huge loss to flower producers. Marigold flowers that were ready to be shipped to market have been damaged in most districts,” said Min Bahadur Tamang, president of Floriculture Association Nepal. “This will push up imports and prices.”
He added, “We expect the wholesale price of meter-long marigold garlands to reach Rs60 this year compared to Rs40 during last year’s Tihar. The retail price may go up to Rs90 per garland." A one-meter-long garland contains 40 flowers.
Marigold production has dropped in India too due to the October rains, according to Indian media reports.
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