Where houses still have thatched roofs for fear of offending the gods

Dipayal, November 3

Even as most traditional houses elsewhere in the district have given way to modern concrete buildings, residents of Duni, Patal, Markhu, and Budhakot VDCs in Achham continue to live in traditional houses, for fear of ‘inciting the wrath of gods’.

“It is not that we don’t want to make modern houses or aren’t financially able to. We are afraid that building houses of concrete, zinc, and the likes will incite the wrath of our gods,” said Dinesh Joshi of Marku.

Joshi claimed that in the past, female family members of the households that attempted to replace thatched roofs with zinc sheets had fallen ill inexplicably, scaring residents from upgrading their homes.

Another local Bir Bahadur Bogati of Chaukhutte said that it was important to preserve the tradition of the village, but complained that traditional houses were vulnerable to fire, prone to leakage, and the roofs needed to be changed every year.

Fire incidents are quite common in these villages that have around 13,000 houses.