Nepal is one of the world itself. Our country Nepal has diverse ethnicity, rich culture and inspiring natural beauty. Nepal is also known as the garden of 125 flowers, among them 125 casts. Tharu is one of the indigenous caste of Nepal.
Tharu people are an ethnic group and largely populated (according to cencus 2011: population of Tharu 1,737,470) indigenously in Nepal. They are settled over 20 different districts of Terai in southern Nepal and in few northern states of India. Tharu community reside in India in different states (Uttar Pradesh: 105,291 Bihar: 159,939 Uttarkhand: 91,342).
They have distinct culture, customs, language, rituals, and lifestyles. Specially they rich in folklore. They are also wealthy in Literature, language and culture. Tharu are culturally divided into various sub-groups. Tharu of Jhapa, Morang, and Sunsari districts are known as Morang Kochila. Those living in central and mid-western Terai are called Kotharia, Dangaha. And who living in the far western region are known as Rana Tharu of Kailali and kanchanpur. Similarly, Tharus living in Udayapur, Saptari area are called western Kochila.
Costume: the major costumes of a Tharu man include Mardani (Dhoti) and Phad (kachhad-a piece of cloth worn instead of under ware) to cover the lower part of the body. However Tharu women wears Cholia(Choli) as a top Nahagi
(a white cloth dress) and Uporona is the cloth worn around the chest area. During special season and festival different jewels made from gold and silver are worn on various parts of the body. Tharu women are considered to be naturally beautiful.
Language: Tharu have over 50 different clans and they slightly different slags and tones in speaking their mother tongue. The major languages spoken by Tharu are: Tharu, Hindi and Tharuhat.
Festival: Maghi is the biggest festival of Tharu communities and also regarded as the new-year which mark the beginning of new season. The festival is celebrated by eating varieties of delicious food for a week. Similarly Jitiy, Holi, etc. are major festivals or Tharu. While celebrating all the festival, they performs various types of dance i.e. Dandyia, Dhumra etc.
Food: Tharu people have very rich and diverse food culture. The food culture and cuisine vary according to the regions where they live. Some variety of food items are listed below:
- Dhikri: it is one of the most popular western Tharu cuisine made of slice flour. It is made by steaming rice dough and eaten with spicy chutney , lentil soup or curry
- Bagiya: it is similar to the dhikri but eaten especially in eastern part of Nepal.
- Chichar: it is made from steaming Anadi rice (Anadi Chamal– a variety of sticky rice grown in plains of western Terai).
- Bhakka: it is a popular snacks of Tharu community of eastern Nepal. It is a fluffy steamed rice cake. It is usually eaten with freshly made pickle.
- Ghunghi( mud-water snails found in paddy fields and streams): is a much loved delicacy. These snails are cleaned, boiled and cooked using various species especially with flax seed.
- Gangata/kakhar/kekhada chutney is crab dish generally prepared by cooking with spices and it is taken with rice or bread.
- Parewak sikar is a delicacy prepared from pigeon meat either by roasting, frying or making curry.
- Sidra is traditional food prepared from small dried fishes and spices. The ingredients are ground together, made into cakes and sundried for later use.
Sidhraak chutney is chutney made from tare steam, dried small fishes and spices.
- Tilauri (Teel ko Laddu): Delicacy for the festivals made from sesame seeds and molasses or jiggery.
- Laiya (or Murai ko Laddu): is made from puffed rice and molasses.
- Teli Pour Roti: is rice flour flat bread prepared by deep frying in oil
- Aandik Jhor/Joar: is liquor made from locally available sticky rice variety.
So, Tharu have many more particular culture of eating variety of food items.
Tharu women are considered to be very skillful craftsmen and the knowledge has been passed down from mother to daughter since generations. Household furniture, clay pots, Chauki, Dhoka, Jhyaal, and Kewar are made using the raw materials found in their surroundings itself. And this method has not changed since the primitive age.