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May 28, 2019

Bhada: Tharu Cultural Survival

– Ganesh Chaudhary

Kailali district in far western Nepal is not only densely populated by Tharus, but also signifies a native place for indigenous Tharu people. Owing to rapid globalization and modernization of cultures, pure form of Tharu culture and rituals cannot be traced in the remote villages.  Besides, all traditional Tharu clothes and ornaments are disappearing from the village and Tharu culture is on the verge of extinction.

A foreign tourist happy with indigenous Tharu men, women and children 
Homestays in Nepal
A foreign tourist merry making with indigenous Tharu men, women and children

However, Bhada is the only village left in Kailali district that remains untouched by the influence of modern cultures. Old Tharu costumes, living cultures, religious rituals, traditions, and eating habits are still intact here. This village succeeded in warding off the impact of outside cultural influence.

The tourism year 2011 gave new hope and impetus to those Tharu elders, who wanted to revive the traditional rituals, songs, and music by giving them a sense of new awareness for cultural survival and revival.

A sense of revival promoted management of Tharu homestay in this village and the activity actually started promoting a revival of Tharu songs, dances, culture, traditions and costumes. Mr. Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary who is the chairperson of Tharu homestay at this place said, “Many of the disappearing Tharu ornaments were collected from other villages after we showed initiatives to preserve our cultures, traditions, and costumes.”

Tharu traditional dance
homestays in Nepal for tourists
Tharu traditional dance

“This place is appropriate not only let tourist see our Tharu cultures but also to guide researchers to do further study in Tharu cultures and traditions, “said Chaudhary.

He also added that Tharu dances like “Lathwa, Jhumra, Maghauta, and Sakhiya are nowadays practiced in the village which seems rare for Tharus from other villages.

A lake near Bhanda homestays
Boating in a lake near the homestay

This village gives you an impression of an ancient Tharu village with indigenous Tharu edible dishes available such as Dhikari, Panjharra, Khurma, Bariya, Kheriya, Flouri and Kacharik which are prepared under traditional recipe.

There is an old natural pond and temple of Veddababa near this village. Every year a large of number of pilgrimages from India and Nepal throng to see this temple and a fete is also organized here in the month of Jestha.

Traditional transportation for visitors
Villagers in a bullock Cart

How to reach Bhada?

As far as 17 kilometers from Kailali Dhangadi, Bhada lies 12 km to the south of East-West Highway from Chaumala and at least 7 km south from Rajipur crossroad. Visitors can reach this place by bus and vehicle.

Main Features of Bhada:

The village is almost like an ethnic museum with 168 households of Tharu tribe only residing within the periphery of the village. There is not a single-family other than Tharu. So, this is one of the specialties of this place. Non-Tharu families are actually not permitted to stay here for the sake of preservation of Tharu culture and traditions. 

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