Exploring Cultural Riches and Local Governance: A Researcher’s Journey through Palpa, Surkhet, and Tikapur


September 26, 2023

Milan Poudel

Returning from my research field trip to Palpa, Surkhet, and Tikapur was an incredibly enlightening and culturally enriching experience. My mission, undertaken on behalf of Progress Inc. as part of the SNGP program by the Asia Foundation, focused on evaluating the level of coordination and its effectiveness within different tiers of local government in these diverse regions of Nepal.

The journey began in Palpa, a place steeped in history as the famous Sen Kingdom, where I had the privilege of witnessing the vibrant and captivating Gai Jatra festival. The cultural vibrancy and the seamless functioning of society during this festive time were truly remarkable. It was evident that the rich heritage of Palpa had left an indelible mark on the local community.

Surkhet, on the other hand, presented a different facet of Nepal. Dominated by the Khas people, this region exuded a distinct charm. Here, I delved into the origins and traditions of the Khas community, gaining invaluable insights into their way of life and cultural practices. Despite the cultural differences, the society in Surkhet ran with remarkable efficiency and harmony.

The most profound part of my journey, however, took me to Tikapur, a place where the Tharu community had not only preserved their indigenous culture but had also influenced and shaped their surroundings. Celebrating Krishna Janmashtami, I had the privilege of participating in the unique tradition of breaking the “matka.” Moreover, experiencing the role of the Badhghar Chiragi in Tharu village was an entirely different and eye-opening encounter. The Tharu people had successfully blended their cultural heritage with the modern administrative system, creating a harmonious coexistence that was both inspiring and educational.

As a researcher, this journey allowed me to witness firsthand the diversity of the places and the people I was studying. It was a testament to the resilience and adaptability of communities in Nepal. The fieldwork enabled me to explore the intricacies of coordination and governance across different tiers of local government, drawing from the rich tapestry of cultures and traditions that define these regions. Overall, my research field trip to Palpa, Surkhet, and Tikapur was a transformative experience. It is a journey that has left an indelible mark on my understanding of local governance and the incredible diversity of Nepal’s cultural landscape.