Denhari, the indigenous craft of Tharus, on verge of disappearance



‘Denhari’, which has been traditionally used by the Tharu community in the district for storing food grains, is on the verge of disappearance. Denhari is earthen structures constructed inside the by using clay, paddy straw and rice husk.

These structures are constructed in various shapes — round, rectangular, conical and others — and can be used for many years. They used to form an integral part of a typical Tharu home.

However, this traditional craft of the indigenous Tharu community is nearing extinction as the younger generation is adopting the modern way of lifestyle and constructing modern houses instead of traditional ones.

Moreover, this unique craftsmanship of the is disappearing as the youngsters are not interested in it while the seniors are also not keen to transfer this indigenous to them.

The Tharu say that they are facing problems managing the clay required for making the Denhari. The loamy type of clay for making Denhari has to be brought from the ponds and lakes inside the forest areas. But these days the forest authorities do not allow collection and digging of this type of soil inside the forest in the name of forest conservation.

“In the traditional houses, the Denharis were used to demarcate the rooms,” Kali Prasad Chaudhary of Beldandi said, adding,” Nowadays, people have started building modern houses without leaving room for constructing Denharis.”

He expressed concern over the gradual disappearance of this tradition, emphasising on the need of the older generation to teach the younger generation to keep this craft alive.

“These days, people have been opting for bins made of tin, bamboo and plastic for storing food grains. This is also one reason for the displacement of the Denharis,” Chaudhary said, adding that people do not want to take all the trouble of collecting clay from the forests and constructing the Denhari when they get readymade bins in the market.

According to him, Denhari is not only a part of the Tharu but also has religious value.

“Denhari has its own religious importance. It is necessary to make the younger generation understand its value,” he said.

Mostly, it is the women who construct the Denhari. Paddy,

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