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Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Impacts in the Himalayan Region of Nepal

(PhD Thesis Abstract)



Devkota, Fidel. 2017. "Abstract" In Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Impacts in the Himalayan Region of Nepal. PhD Thesis. Freie Universität, Berlin. pp IV-V 



Obscured for Centuries: The Lost Rock Art of Lo Mustang by Fidel Devkota and John Vincent Bellezza (2017)

Prehistoric Rock Carvings in Mustang (The Kathmandu Post):

Tharchang Rituals (tib. thar chang)

Devkota, Fidel. 2017. Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Impacts in the Himalayan Region of NepalPhD Thesis. Freie Universität, Berlin. 

Tharchang Rituals 

Tharchang (thar chang), literally means ‘exemption beer’. It is a very important ritual celebrated throughout Baragaon (Se rib) and Sha ri/Shar ri region in Mustang. It marks the point at which a person retires from public life and most communal responsibilities. A person who has celebrated Tharchang does not need to volunteer for civic work such as repairing water canals, building roads, and other communal duties. It is one of the most important stages in the lives of local people and they want to mark this milestone with an extravagant ceremony. Dhe villagers and locals of Surkhang VDC celebrate it when they turn forty-nine (lo), following the Tibetan lunar calendar. In some village such as Te, it is celebrated when a person turns fifty-five. There are other villages in the Se rib region where it is celebrated when a person turns sixty-two. After setting the auspicious date for the celebration, families begin planning the celebration. The Tharchang ritual can last for up to five days, depending on the socio-economic power of the host family. Dhe villagers normally celebrate it for three days. The whole community gets together for the celebration and people help each other to make it successful. All village works and activities come to a halt during Tharchang, which can be considered as a festive holiday. The dates and plans for the celebration are fixed in advance so that communal work and responsibilities do not interfere. On the eve of the festival village elders and the host family gather for a briefing about the distribution of work among the villagers during the celebration. Cooks (Lo. machen), helpers (Lo. malyog), and bartenders (Lo. changma) are also selected in advance. Sometimes friends and family members are sought from outside of the village, mostly those who have experience in catering for such celebrations. (pp 188)

Zhopa from Dhe, Lo Mustang

Dewa Zhopa (zhos or zhopa is a hybrid of a cow and a yak )

Once the sun sets from Nyima logsa, the agricultural season can officially begin in Dhe Village. The main work starts with tilling the land, which starts with the arrangement of the zhos required for the ploughing. Horses and yaks are also used for plowing in some parts of the Himalayas. Zhos come with the handler ( Lo. zhingngopa) and the iron-bladed plough (Lo. thongpa), but an extra person is required to pull the nose (Lo. nathig) of the zhos. Harnessing zhos to the yokes (Lo. ngashing) is a simple process, but working with younger zhos can be tedious. In Lo Mustang, except for Ghiling, all the villages do nose pulling. Nose-rings (Lo. natag) made of juniper branches are attached to the nostril of the animal on the eve of the initial workday and only removed once all the ploughing is completed. Hiring families are supposed to feed the zhos on the eve of the workday, three times during the workday, and once the next morning if nobody is hiring them. Zhos costs five pathis of grain, including the handler’s fee (Lo. zhola). Only six families in Dhe have a pair of zhos, so some families hire zhos from friends and relatives from Tangya and Tsarang.