Mithila: A Vast and Intriguing Region

Whilst exploring ancient cities and regions, one learns much about the history of the location, how it was established, why a certain culture is dominant and how the past has shaped the present. Mithila was originally located in what was once Ancient India. Although the Mithila region spreads over India, Nepal and Bihar, it has been determined that the city of Mithila itself was what is known as Janakpur today. Many traditions and rare cultural gems still remain, even though the borders, population and rulers might have changed.

Some of the smaller communities within the Mithila region continue to practice some of the ancient customs, although this is mostly being practiced more frequently on the Indian side than in Nepal. It is a predominantly agricultural region and products such as maize, wheat, rice and jute are farmed here. It is unfortunately also prone to flooding, and even though building dams might bring relief to this problem, it is also an earthquake zone, which might cause more damage than good should a dam burst.

The economy of the region is very poor, especially in India, but even those staying in the Nepali section of the Mithila region are often forced to move away from their family homes to seek work and education, as the floods do not give families much chance of enriching themselves through their crops. However, there is one tradition that seems to be making a comeback and could generate additional income for the region, and that is Mithila art.

Mithila painting is an art form that is generally practiced by the women. They decorate any moveable objects, the floor and walls with their traditional paints and techniques, and it is a tradition that is being greatly encouraged by researchers and the tourism industry to support folk artists in reviving an art form that is centuries old and unique to the Mithila region. The Mithila region is a significant part of Nepal due to its history and distinctive culture. It is also a region that is exceptional, as it is shared by more than one country.