Tharu ceremonial skirt from Gobardiya
Tharu village with mustard field living traditions museum
Tharu baskets

    Terai Lowlands

    As the major rivers of the Himalaya
    reach the Terai plains along the border
    with India, they spread out slow and
    wide, depositing alluvial soils that
    continuously enrich the agricultural
    lands and adjacent jungle.  Hot enough
    for mangoes, these fertile, flat lowlands
    produce much of the rice for the rest of
    Terai is soft and warm, filled with the
    fragrances of flowering trees and
    vines, sounds of kingfishers and
    herons.  The lumbering movement of
    the bullock carts expresses the
    preferred pace of life.

    The Tharu have been living within the
    jungles for a thousand years or more.  
    Many of the other people of the Terai--
    Maithili, Awadhi, Bhojpuri--belong to
    northern extensions of these groups
    across the border within India,
    observing the same traditions based
    on Sanskrit language and Vedic culture
    as their relatives in India.  Although the
    Maithili and Tharu both live within the
    same Terai environment, with the same
    natural resources of clay, bamboo and
    tropical woods available to them, they
    exist in very different ways and
    produce very different household and
    ritual art.
Tharu women carrying compost
Grinding flour in Maithili home
Maithili necklace