Symbols of peace, serenity and hope line the shelves at Ocean Queen, a small Himalayan handicraft store located on the North Shore. Tapestries are displayed in front of the store, prayer flags hang over the cash register and an array of Buddha sculptures and good-luck charms lurk around every corner radiating a sense of tranquility.
Owner Lobsang Dhonyoz opened the shop a couple years ago after successfully selling goods at local trade shows and swap meets. "I wanted to share my culture with others," he said. "Most people are looking for something unique."
Customers often ask for a deeper meaning to the artifacts, which Dhonyoz is more than happy to deliver. He wanted to be the first on the island to feature goods from Nepal, India and Tibet all under the same roof. "My older brother has a shop in New York City. We go on shopping trips once a year and get new shipments about every two months. The tapestries run out quickly," he said.
Tibetan meditation singing bowls are one of the more popular items sold. "They combine seven metals together. Held in both hands, the rim and sides of (the) bowl vibrate and make sound," Dhonyoz said.
The sounds are intended to create a calming effect. "They are good for relieving stress and promoting deep relaxation," he said. The bowls range in price from $50 to $125, depending on size. Meditation chimes that are struck together like cymbals also present soothing sounds and cost $15.
Prayer wheels, in assorted styles, are spun clockwise to promote peace. "It’s best to place them in the living room or a room where you spend lots of time," he said. "The prayers include 1,000 mantras on paper. The prayers are not just for us, but for all human beings."
Prayer flags are another option. The five-color flags should be hung in a high place, according to Dhonyoz.
"It’s good to hang them in the back yard so they can blow in the wind."
Good luck can be found when displaying a Himalayan charm in the home. "They should be hung on the home’s entrance door. It makes noise that is supposed to stop bad energy from entering the home," the shopkeeper said.
Three styles are available. One features elephants with raised trunks, symbolizing good luck. The others are a camel, symbolizing long life, and a bird, representing peace.
A glimpse of India can be achieved with a colorful pillow cover or bedspread. The sari tapestries at Ocean Queen include beaded wall hangings. "Many of the pillows are made using very old fabrics that are woven together. The silk pieces are hand-embroidered," Dhonyoz said.
If you are looking for a way to discreetly store your valuables, like queens of old, consider one of the jewelry boxes sold at the Haleiwa store. "They have lots of compartments. When it’s standing up, it looks like a book. It provides an easy way to hide valuables."
Dhonyoz said Himalayan handicrafts, including jewelry and clothing, have gained popularity in recent years, and he can’t keep stock on his shelves. He is looking to expand in the near future with possible locations downtown and in Kailua.