From the medieval period to this Facebook world, tattoo has always been linked into the human skin. Indigenous of New Zealand used shark teeth, whereas natives from other continents would use sharp bones to penetrate the ink inside the body. This indicates two things: Tattooing is as old as paintings and it is a painful process, yet many people do volunteer for it. Several motives might be the encouragement to the practice of tattoo, such as attraction, to enhance the beauty, sign of identification, hidden messages, or to scare off the evil spirits.
In Nepal, indigenous Tharu are culturally scheduled to exercise tattooing. Tattooing, known as leela in Tharu, is practiced by both men and women. Comparatively to men, women are more covered up by tattoos. It is also one of the channels to exhibit the beauty of feminine. However, with passing years, just the elderly women seem to be heavily tattooed.
Tharu Community Homestay in Chitwan welcomed us in a very typical Tharu manner, and from the entire community. It is a community-based business, which gives your soul satisfaction that somehow your vacation payments are recycled into charity. More than vacation, we were in Chitwan to explore the beauty of nature and to experience the Tharu culture as close as we could.
Tharu tribe is full of art and colours and perhaps this obsession encouraged them to practice tattooism and to take their art after the life. I met with one of the oldest Tharu ladies of the town where I was staying. She was a shy woman but every time she laughed on my not-so-funny jokes, she would cover up her face showing her beautiful hand-tattoos. On my query that what could be the reasons behind to put on tattoos, she replied that it was a centuries old tradition and tattoo would reserve her place in heaven. When she was a kid, older women used to tell her stories that to enter the heaven, one must have tattoo or else one would rather send into the hell and lashed with thorny branches.
She added that it wasn’t not only for heaven but tattoos were done for various reasons. If someone was suffering from continuous pain in any part of the body then tattoo must be made upon it. This would let the dirty blood out and led to the relief from pain. Another belief is to cure the bareness, a woman must have tattoo on her chest. She said that it was a magical power and she had witnessed by herself that many women were able to give birth after having tattoo.
Though she really don’t remember her actual age when she was first tattooed but, traditionally, women after the age of 13 volunteer for the tattoo. Older woman mostly does the tattoo, gudhni is a term given to the professional tattooer in Tharu language.
Tattoos are inked in different patterns. Some women are seen with various icons like, cooking pot, snake, wood, temple, heart or even names of god. Some believe that these patterns have hidden symbol but some are just patterned to look beautiful. Shy lady told me that when she was kid, many young ladies would pot dots on their cheeks, forehead, or even in their entire face merely to multiply their beauty but now a days young generation would feel shame and deny to put tattoo anywhere.
It was a genuine moan from her because losing one of the best assets of the culture is certainly a heart-breaking issue. And when I asked one young Tharu lady that why youngsters were denying for tattoo, she replied that people from out of the Tharu tribes, city folks especially, would make fun of their body paintings, which discouraged them to have any of them. Her excuse was also understandable but how I wish this tattoo-tradition would go on forever. I just wish that in coming years, people could see this centuries old tradition into the skin rather than just being a chapter or a pictorial matter in some history books.
Women Empowerment |Sep 12, 2018
Tourism is a powerful, and often, underused tool. It has the potential to ignite change and uplift communities that have traditionally lacked the resources to operate sustainably.
Tours |Jun 21, 2023
First you fly to Paro, a small and charming town that’s pretty spic and span anyway you look at it. The flight itself is an experience by itself, flying as will with the magnificent Himalayan peaks in your sight most of the time.
Nepal |May 14, 2014
First, it would be a good idea to see what’s in store for you when talking about Nepali cuisine, and then go on from there to see what Nepali food must feature in your list of must try foods.
Tours |May 22, 2023
In the 1970s, Birgunj, one of the bigger cities of the Terai, was the main entry point for numerous tourists to Nepal. They traveled through India, and having had their fill of the exoticness of that huge country and its large mass of humanity, made a beeline for the Shangri La of yore, that is, Nepal, to get a much needed breather.
Impact Tourism |Jan 2, 2017
Not believing my ears in November 2016 when I heard a friend comment “Bhatti nai jadaina’ I was delighted to hear that for the first time in over a decade, there was to be no ‘loadshedding’ in Kathmandu.
Trekking |Jun 28, 2023
Undho Undho jaada hun’, said the young shepherd who was in his early 20’s, after he shared his Pilot cigarette and had a few chat with us. We didn’t ask his name, but did ask how many sheep he had. He said that those weren’t his sheep and that he doesn’t plan to stay in Mugu for long.
Nepal |Oct 9, 2022
Yarsagumba (Cordyceps, or also Ophiocordyceps Sinensis) is a most weird herb. One term often used—Chinese Caterpillar Fungus—is pretty descriptive of the species.
Travel Guide |Dec 17, 2021
The best time to visit Nepal for trekking and traveling is in the spring or fall. During this period, the temperature is warm and the sky is clear making it the best season to visit Nepal.
Nepal |Jul 13, 2023
Tihar, a five days festival, also known as Deepawali or Diwali – but especially in Nepal – Tihar is considered as a high spirit festival among, both, Hindus and non-Hindus.
New Itineraries |Sep 28, 2015
One expects destruction and finds silence. In Nepal can bring a spiritual experience every day. Visiting a country that up early not only for the gods.
Hotel |Jun 21, 2023
Hotel Vajra is touted as a budget hotel and suitable for those on the lookout for cheap accommodation, but that’s only a small part of it. It’s a heritage hotel that has few equals in Kathmandu.
Others |Jul 5, 2023
He went to Jumla specifically. Now, this is as remote as it can get in Nepal. Jumla is from where trekkers start their journey to the enchanting Rara Lake in Mugu district. Rara is a lake of glacial origin and the largest in the country.