Last of Tharu jewellry?

Dhangadhi :

The traditional jewellery and costume of Tharu community is on the verge of extinction, thanks to lack of appropriate conservation.

The Tharu community has said that the reason for this is the weak economic status of Tharus and also due to the absence of a cultural museum in the Far West.

Castes of Tharus community such as Chaudhari, Tharu and Rana Tharu have been residing in the districts of western Terai for ages. Their traditional attire and jewellery, which portrays Tharu cultural, has played an important role in the promotion of tourism here.

The traditional jewellery of the Tharu community includes silver mangiya, which is worn on the head, golden kenpi, nathiya and bulaki worn on nose, sehari and jhumka adorn the ears, kanseri, tikahamala are worn around the neck, baju, banka, bijayat encircle the arms, and legarahi the wrist and mundri the fingers, while payal and ghunguroo decorate the legs and tikuli the forehead.

However, the Tharu women rarely wear these jewellery nowadays.

Similarly, traditional Tharu attire such as lehenga, phariya, angiya and choli are also on the verge of extinction. All jewellery worn by Tharu women except those worn on nose, ear and finger are made of silver. The weight of the jewellery worn at once is almost four to five kilos. Similarly, almost 16 metres of cloth is used in the traditional dresses of Tharu women.

There is one museum in Bardiya district established for the preservation of traditional jewellery and attire of Tharu community.

However, the Tharu community of Far-West have demanded that another museum be established to preserve Tharu culture in Kailali and Kanchanpur.

Due to the poor economic status of the Tharus, they are being compelled to sell off their traditional and ancestral jewellery in order to survive. Also they are also attracted to modern jewellery, which is another reason for the extinction of traditional jewellery, said one Sita Kumari Chaudhari.

People are also selling their jewellery, which are mostly worn during festivals such as Dashain, Tihar, Janmastami, Nagpanchami and Holi, due to fear of theft, another woman Rampyari Chaudhari.

Earlier, Tharu women used to prize their traditional jewellery. The community also made it compulsory for women to possess these jewellery, but now with modernisation the importance of such traditional costume is diminishing, said Bhiku Ram Dangaura.