Terai is the fertile and humid region of Nepal in the Terai belt of South Asia. The boundary of Madhesh includes Mithila and Tharuhat Federal states of Nepal. The Nepalese people who have connection to Bihar of India and historically lived here are identified as Madhesi people. The region's name in Urdu as referred by Muslims is ترای tarāī meaning "lands lying at the foot of a watershed" or "on the banks of a river; low ground flooded with water, valley, basin, marshy ground, marsh, swamp; meadow".
|Biratnagar, 26°N, 87°E|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
|Janakpur, 31°N, 77°E|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Nepal Government has differentiated Terai into "Outer" and Inner Madhesh Valleys of Nepal.
The 2011 national census counted 1.53 million population (51% of the national total) lives in the outer Terai. [Citation needed - 1.53 million = 51% of Nepal's total population?]
The "Madhesh" is a Nepali morphological derivative of Madhyadesh (Sanskrit) or Majjhimadesh (Pali) and means the Middle Country signifying its location in the middle of Ancient Nepal and Indian Kingdom of Awadh (which lies in modern-day india).Terai (also written as Tarai) is presumed to be derived from Persian, meaning “damp”, and denotes the land at the foothills of mountains, often damp and swampy.
The Terai was heavily forested with Sal before heavy logging began in the 19th century, particularly for use as railroad sleepers. Foresters of the British Raj on another side of Nepalese International Forestry border were of the opinion that in ancient times the Terai was cleared and cultivated. But after decline of Buddhism, the area was largely abandoned, and quickly re-vegetated with shrubs and trees,although the Sal forest should have taken centuries to return.
Inner Terai valleys historically were agriculturally productive but endemic to malarial. Some parts were left forested by official decree during the Rana dynasty as a defensive perimeter .The British believed that plainsmen generally die if they sleep in the malaria infested zone before November 1 or after June 1. British travelers to Kathmandu went as fast as possible from the border at Raxaul in order to reach the hills before nightfall.
Tharu people and Maithils also known as the people of the forest are the first Indigenous inhabitants of Madhesh. They have been living in the Madhesh for milleniums, and reputedly have innate resistance to malaria. Following the malaria eradication program using DDT in the 1960s, a large and heterogeneous non-Tharu population namely madheshi immigrants from bihar state of india settled in the region. Their proposed state/homeland is called Madhesh.
Bihari people from India and Pahari farmers from the mid-hills moved to the Madhesh plains in search of arable land including Brahmin, Chhetri and Newar. Madhesi people constitute the entire population of entire Madhesh. High caste migrants from the hills have purchased, or otherwise got hold of large landholdings. Together with traditional Tharu and Maithil landlords, they constitute the upper level of the economic hierarchy, which in the rural parts of the Madhesh is determined to a large extent by the distribution and the value of agriculturally productive land. The poor are the landless, or near landless, Madhesi Dalits, including the Musahar and Chamar, as well as the traditional fishermen, the Mallaah, and some of the hill Dalits. In particular the Musahars rarely get other work than hard farm labor.
The Terai is the most productive region in Nepal with the majority of the country's industries. Agriculture is the basis of the economy. Major crops include rice, wheat, pulses, sugarcane, jute, tobacco, and maize. In the eastern districts from Parsa to Jhapa they support agro-based industries: jute factories, sugar mills, rice mills and tobacco factories.
Cities over 50,000 population in Nepal's Madhesh include:
|Birganj||Parsa||192,484||trade/transport hub, agro and other industry|
|Janakpur||Dhanusa||97,192||transport hub, agro-industry, education, health care, pilgrimage site|
Mahendra Highway crosses the Terai from Kankarbhitta on the eastern border in Jhapa District, Mechi Zone to Mahendranagar near the western border in Kanchanpur District, Mahakali Zone. It is the only motor road spanning the country from east to west.
The staple diet of the region is rice, dal (lentils soup) and curry. On festive occasions, people prepare a number of fried items of vegetables as well as many specialities. Fish is also popular in Terai/Madhes.
- Janakpur - The birthplace of Sita, wife of Rama in the Ramayana. Janakpur is a Hindu pilgrimage site. It was the capital of King Janak and is the birthplace of Sita. The ideal time to visit the city is on the occasion of Hindu festival of Vivah Panchami around November–December.
- Salahesh Garden- The garden of King Salahesh is located in Siraha district of Nepal near Lahan. The main interesting thing of garden is flower that bear only one time in a year at that time a great festival occurs here.
- Chhinnamasta Temple
- Kankalini Temple
- Gadhi Mai Temple
- Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve - The reserve, composed of grassland and several small islands around Koshi river, is home to thousands of species of birds. One can also enjoy watching fresh water Dolphins, wild buffalos called Arna, deer, wild boars, pythons and crocodiles.
- Other Towns - Biratnagar, Rajbiraj, Birgunj, Bharatpur
Notable people from Madhesh
- King Janak - Ancient King of Mithila or Videha.
- Sita - Also known as Janaki is daughter of King Janak and wife of Lord Ram who is King of Ayodhya or Awadh.
- Udit Narayan Jha - A madheshi playback singer of Bollywood.
- Gajendra Narayan Singh - Politician
- Ram Baran Yadav - First President of Nepal
- Parmanand Jha - First Vice President of Nepal
- Mehboob Alam - Nepal national cricket team player and Guinness world records holder by taking 10 wickets in one match against Mozambique.
- Binod Das - Former captain of Nepal national cricket team.
- Jitendra Mukhiya - Pace bowler, Nepal national cricket team.
- Aarif Sheikh - Nepal national cricket team player.
- Anil Mandal - Nepal national cricket team player.
- Geography of Nepal
- Janaki Mandir
- Alliance for Independent Madhesh
- List of regional and ethnicity based parties in Nepal
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- Guneratne 2002, p. 22.
- Terrenato, L., Shrestha, S., Dixit, K.A., Luzzatto, L., Modiano, G., Morpurgo, G., Arese, P. (1988). "Decreased malaria morbidity in the Tharu and Maithil people compared to sympatric populations in Nepal". Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 82 (1): 1–11. PMID 3041928.
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- Hachhethu, Krishna (2007). Madheshi Nationalism and Restructuring the Nepali State (PDF). seminar "Constitutionalism and Diversity in Nepal", organizd by Centre for Nepal and Asia Studies, Trubhuvan University. Kathmandu, Nepal. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
- Gaidge, Fredrick (1975). Regionalism & National Unity in Nepal.
Chaudhary, Deepak. 2015 (2011). Tarai/Madhedh of Nepal : Anthropological Study. Ratna Pustak Bhandar. Nepal.