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An update from Evaneos

The Tharu villages around the Bardiya National Park

After the powerful earthquakes which struck Nepal in April and May 2015, the country is being rebuilt bit by bit. This article was written before the disaster.

By going south during your trip to Nepal, just before going to see the tigers in the Bardiya National Park, you can go to meet the local populations in the Tharu villages.

Discover the villages

Leaving from the capital Kathmandu, you'll be able to discover the Tharu villages by going to the Terai region, close to the Chitwan National Park. Unfortunately, these villages have become very touristy over the past years. If you have enough time during your trip to Nepal, it's therefore largely preferable to go to the Tharu villages close to the Bardiya National Park.

Another advantage of making the long journey there is that not only are you practically certain to see tigers there, which is far from the case in Chitwan, but also the villages there are much more typical and authentic. Much fewer tourists go there as the journey is extremely long, and since the terrible 2015 earthquake, it's very likely that things won't improve any time soon. Even if you come by plane from Kathmandu it's still quite an adventure. But it all seems really worthwhile.

Once there you'll quickly forget the hours of travelling. The ideal way to meet the local people is to go from village to village by foot or by bike. In that way you'll see the daily life, the lifestyle, the culture and the Tharu traditions. You'll maybe also have the chance to attend various ceremonies, dancing or singing shows. You'll also discover how the houses are beautifully painted and decorated, and how the population lives from agriculture and rice growing.

Tharu village

How to behave amongst the Tharu people

So that these Tharu villages in this central-west region of Nepal keep their authenticity in the future, it's important that you as a tourist respect certain rules. The villages of this region are not polluted by mass tourism as is perhaps the case in the Tharu villages around the Chitwan National Park.

Therefore it's necessary when you come here that you wear clothes which are respectful of the villagers. Clothes which are too short are forbidden. Equally, it's preferable to not hand out sweets to children and to always say no to beggars. If you absolutely must give some financial help, it's better to give to the village chief directly or to one of the associations who already work there. You could also give school material to the headmaster.

In any case, even though it's difficult to say no, don't encourage the children begging who are sent there by their parents.

David Debrincat
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