Picture taken during a dancing show performed by young men from Tharu tribe.
The Tharu people is an Asian ethnic group indigenous to the Terai, the southern foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal and India. The Tharus are recognized as an official nationality by the Government of Nepal.
Having lived in the malaria-infested jungle of the Terai for centuries, they were reputed to have an innate resistance to malaria. Following the deforestation and malaria eradication program using DDT in the 1960s, thousands of people from the mid-hills settled in the area. Recent medical studies among the Tharu and non-Tharu population of the Terai yielded the evidence that the prevalence of cases of residual malaria is nearly seven times lower among Tharus. The basis for their resistance to malaria is most likely a genetic factor.
The Tharu people themselves say that they are a people of the forest. In Chitwan, they have lived in the forests for hundreds of years practicing a short fallow shifting cultivation. They planted rice, mustard, corn and lentils, but also collected forest products such as wild fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and materials to build their houses; hunted deer, rabbit and wild boar, and went fishing in the rivers and oxbow lakes.
The Tharus never went abroad for employment – a life that kept them isolated in their own localities. In this isolation they developed a unique culture free from the influence of adjacent India, or from the mountain groups of Nepal. The most striking aspects of their environment are the decorated rice containers, colorfully painted verandahs and outer walls of their homes using only available materials like clay, mud, dung and grass. Much of the rich design is rooted in devotional activities and passed on from one generation to the next, occasionally introducing contemporary elements such as a bus or an airplane.