Tharu Culture?

During our visit to Chitwan National Park, we were roped into attending the local Tharu Cultural Show one evening at a centre in the village where all the park’s accommodation is located.

This stirs something in my memory – I have been here before in the distant past when last in Nepal (2002)…… I have recollections of some things I am sure that are not so ‘high-brow’ culture!  This is confirmed on arrival at the venue for the one-hour show and seeing the list of dances that will be performed including the peacock dance! I remember what this is. Anyway more later on that one.

The ‘Tharu’ performing troupe come on and I suspect that the majority are not Tharu people at all – likely Kathamandu University students doing summer jobs. The show begins with the Nepali national anthem – a highlight and the Nepalese visitors all rise and sing this with great gusto. After that the show starts with the troupe performing the various dances. Then the highlight – the peacock dance! Basically this is one person inside a man-size ‘fat’ peacock costume (think Rod Hull and Emu) strutting round stage using some puppetry to control the peacock’s head and pick things up off the floor etc. I cannot stop laughing – I remember this from last time – it has to be a rip-take. Tharu culture my backside – ho ho ho.

The show reaches its climax when everyone is invited to join the Kathmandu University students – sorry Tharu dancers – on stage for a final dance. And a stampede ensues.  The whole thing is entertaining and the principally Nepali crowd love it so it is all good fun for an evening, but its cultural credentials must be questioned!

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