Dev Narayan’s Cultural Village showcases Madhesi heritage

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By Bijaya Kumar Shah,Dhalkebar, May 17: Three decades ago, Dev Narayan Mandal, an activist for forest, environment, and wildlife conservation, established a cultural village to showcase the essence of Madhes.

 Located in Mithila Bihari Municipality-2, of Dhanusha, this village serves as a window into the traditional lifestyle of the region.

In this cultural village located on the Janakpurdham-Dhanushadham route, traditional huts have been built targeting domestic and foreign tourists. There are facilities to observe the art, culture, costumes and lifestyle of Mithila. 

Mandal established this village decades ago to acquaint people with Madhesi villages, their lifestyles, attire, cuisine, and artistic heritage.

 Describing it as an ‘open museum’,  Mandal ensured that the houses were constructed using authentic styles and materials from the era they represent. Moreover, household items and agricultural tools from that time have been meticulously collected and displayed.

Every evening, the village comes alive with folk dances like Jhijhiya, Jharijhari, Dholpipihi, Sama Chakewa, and Jatjatin, offering guests a vibrant glimpse into Madhesi culture.

 Teams comprising 30 members for Jhijhia, 5 for Dholpipihi, and 78 individuals dedicated to various art forms, including a group of 20 for Jharijhari, ensure the cultural vitality of the village, said Mandal. With 116 local households intricately connected to the cultural village, Mandal fosters a community where sustainability in local livelihoods is paramount.

 The village also emphasises organic farming practices.

Training sessions on organic farming have been provided to local farmers, with the aim of eventually involving 500 farmers from surrounding villages, informed Mandal.

To enhance the culinary experience for visitors, the village offers organic vegetables, pulses, and other locally produced dishes. Additionally, the village rears eight cows for milk, manure, and fuel, utilising dung gas for cooking. Plans are underway to expand livestock rearing to include chickens, ducks, and goats. Moreover, with four fish ponds already in operation, Mandal intends to further diversify the village’s agricultural activities.

 The cultural village spread over nine bighas of leased land and continues to evolve.

With an investment of Rs. 6 million already made in its construction, an additional Rs. 4 million has been allocated to fulfil Mandal’s vision.

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