Madhesh -Wikipedia Article

September 9, 2006 at 11:06 pm Leave a comment

Madhesh, also known as Terai or Tarai region of Nepal, is the southern part of Nepal ranging from east to west, and people living in the region are referred as Madheshi (sometimes also spelled as Madhise or Madhesi). Contrary to usual image of Nepal as mountainous country with snow-covered Himalayas and Mangoloid people, the region is a flat, fertile piece of land with people and culture mostly resembling to that of North India. The major languages in the region are Maithili and Bhojpuri (in India, both languages are considered as dialects of Hindi). Almost half of the population of Nepal live in this region.

Origin of word Madhesh

The word ‘Madhesh’ is said to be derived from ‘Madhyadesh’ meaning ‘country in mid’. Some scholars show its origin in ‘Matsyadesh’ meaning ‘country of fish’, tracing its origin to the country described in Hindu scripture Mahabarat.

Madhesh vs. Terai

Terai or Tarai (presumed to derived from Persian to mean ‘damp’ or ‘moist land’) is used to refer to all the region of northern India and southern Nepal running parallel to the lower Himalayan ranges, from the Yamuna River (west) to the Brahmaputra River (east).

However, Terai of Nepal or in context of Nepal, refers to Madhesh, a 26 to 32 km wide broad belt of alluvial and fertile land stretching from Mahakali river (west) to Mechi river (east) between Indian border (south) and Sivalik/Chure Range in North.

Geography

Madhesh goes along the northern edge of the Gangetic plain. The Gangetic plain goes far into India and end at the Chure Hills (called the Siwalik Hills in India), where it goes up to 1000m immediately. It is never more than 40km wide.

The Terai of Nepal includes several valleys (dun), such as the Surkhet and Dang valleys in western Nepal, and the Rapti Valley (Chitwan) in central Nepal, and also referred as Inner Madhesh.

The Terai makes up 17% of the area in Nepal. The soil is generally fertile and there is good rain, which accounts for good crops.

Climate

The Terai has a subtropical climate and it can often be humid. The best weather is from November to February, when day temperatures are from the mid 20º to the high 20º and it is cool, sometimes cold at night. It very seldom rains at this time.

From late April to the beginning of September the weather is hot, often going over 40ºC. The monsoon goes from mid-June to mid-September, and this not a good time to visit. Most areas in the Terai get over 1500mm of rain in a year.

People

The people in the region are mostly Indo-Aryan, like the people in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India and however after eradication of Malaria there have immigrations from the mountains recently. Among the sereral aborigins of Madhesh are Tharus.

The people in Madhesh traditionally wear Dhoti/Kurta. The main religion is Hinduism.

Tourism

The main places to visit in Madhesh are Royal Chitwan National Park; Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha; and pleasant interesting Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita and where she married Rama, from the Ramayana.

The main east?west road through Nepal is the Mahendra Highway, which goes from the Karnali River at the western border of Bardia National Park to Kakarbhitta on the eastern border of Nepal in the east.

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