Who are the Tharu tribals of the UP terai region


  • The Uttar Pradesh government has recently embarked upon a scheme to take the unique culture of its ethnic Tharu tribals across the world.

Key Details

  • The UP government is working to connect Tharu villages in the districts of Balrampur, Bahraich, Lakhimpur and Pilibhit bordering Nepal, with the homestay scheme of the UP Forest Department.
  • The idea is to offer tourists an experience of living in the natural Tharu habitat, in traditional huts made of grass collected mainly from the forests.
  • Tharu homeowners will be able to charge tourists directly for the accommodation and home-cooked meals.
  • The government expects both domestic and international tourists to avail of the opportunity to obtain a taste of the special Tharu culture by staying with them, observing their lifestyle, food habits, and attire.

Back to Basics

Tharu Tribals

  • The community belongs to the Terai lowlands, amid the Shivaliks of lower Himalayas. Most of them are forest dwellers and some practised agriculture.
  • The word Tharu is believed to be derived from their, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism.
  • The Tharus live in both India and Nepal. In the Indian Terai, they live mostly in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar. UP government launches scheme for Tharu Tribals
  • According to the 2011 census, the Scheduled Tribe population in Uttar Pradesh was more than 11 lakh; this number is estimated to have crossed 20 lakh now.
  • The biggest chunk of this tribal population is made up of Tharus.
  • Members of the tribe survive on wheat, corn and vegetables are grown close to their homes. A majority still lives off the forest.

Tharu language, food, and culture?

  • They speak various dialects of Tharu, a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, and variants of Hindi, Urdu, and Awadhi.
  • In central Nepal, they speak a variant of Bhojpuri, while in eastern Nepal, they speak a variant of Maithili.
  • Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev, and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.
  • Tharu women have stronger property rights than is allowed to women in mainstream North Indian Hindu custom.
  • Most Tharu tribals consume alcoholic beverages, and some eat beef.
  • Standard items on the Tharu plate are bagiya or dhikri – which is a steamed dish of rice flour that is eaten with chutney or curry – and ghonghi, an edible snail that is cooked in a curry made of coriander, chili, garlic, and onion.

Source: IE

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