- The Tharu people are an ethnic group indigenous to the Terai in southern Nepal and northern India. They are recognized as an official nationality by the Government of Nepal.
- In the Indian Terai, they live foremost in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Government of India recognizes the Tharu people as a scheduled tribe.
- The Uttar Pradesh government has recently embarked upon a scheme to take the unique culture of its ethnic Tharu tribe across the world.
- The government’s intention is to put Tharu villages on the tourism map and to create jobs and bring economic independence for the tribal population.
- The community of Tharu people belongs to the Terai lowlands, amid the Shivaliks of lower Himalayas. Most of them are forest dwellers and some practiced agriculture.
- The word tharu is believed to be derived from sthavir, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism. Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.
- The Tharus live in both India and Nepal. In the Indian terai, they live mostly in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
- Members of the tribe survive on wheat, corn and vegetables are grown close to their homes. A majority still lives off the forest.
- They speak various dialects of Tharu, a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, and variants of Hindi, Urdu, and Awadhi. In central Nepal, they speak a variant of Bhojpuri, while in eastern Nepal; they speak a variant of Maithili.
- Tharu women have stronger property rights than is allowed to women in mainstream North Indian Hindu custom.
- Most Tharu tribals consume alcoholic beverages, and some eat beef.