The Tharu in Bardia National Park

There are about 1.5 million Tharu people in Nepal (about 7% of the population) and most of them speak a mixture of local languages and dialects. Thakurdwara is a predominantly Tharu village.

The Tharu were probably the original inhabitants of the Terai region, although some scholars think that the women migrated from Rajasthan in India when the Muslims invaded, taking with them their servants who were eventually assimilated into the 'new' Tharu culture.

They rear cows, buffaloes, goats, chickens and pigs as well as clearing and cultivating land in the forest, growing dahl and rice.Women also catch fish using small nets in rivers, streams and pools. In the past many Tharu people were enslaved, had their land taken from them and were treated very badly by local landlords who just claimed and registered their land and then made them pay rent to continue to use it.

Our History with the Tharu
During the Malaria eradication campaign many of the landless people in the surrounding hills came down to the Terai and mixed and intermarried with the Tharu. This is when our families' came to Thakudwara. Some of B's family still live in the hills above Bardia. At the age of 10, B's mother was left with B's Father's family when her own family were migrating from the mountains...she never saw her family again and spent the rest of her life in the Thakurdwara area assimilating with the local Tharu culture.

Tharu people practice their own religion which involves spirit worship but also take freely from Hindu traditions and in Thakudwara you will see many small Hindu temples.

Visiting the villages
Kali (Shakuntala) can guide you around the local villages introducing you to local people and it's also possible to arrange overnight stays in local homes if you are interested. All our family speak the Tharu language and their is also more information available at the park headquarters just a few minutes walk from our camp.

Our children will also give you an insight into the local culture and can take you on half day walks around the village when they aren't in school.

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