Ghandruk: Heart of the Tamu
Author: Iain R. Taylor & Jagan S. Gurung
Ghandruk is a village in the Annapurna region of Nepal and is on one of the country\'s main trekking routes. It is in the centre of the traditional homeland of the Gurung or Tamu people, a Buddhist Tibeto-Burmese people who originated somewhere in Mongolia, spent many centuries wandering around present day Tibet and China, and finally established themselves south of the Annapurna mountain range about 1,500 years ago. Tamu men have long been recognised for their courage, bravery and integrity and were recruited into the British Gurhka Army and also into the Indian Army. They have won many distinctions for outstanding service and acts of self-sacrifice well beyond the normal call of duty. While men were off earning a living away from home, the women had to be equally strong, bringing up families, farming the land and keeping the home together. They are a strong, resilient and intelligent people. Over the years other groups have come to live in Ghandruk, bringing their skills as blacksmiths, tailors and more recently tourist lodge owners. This is the story of the village, of its people, their ancestry, traditions and present day lives. It is a story written both from the inside out and the outside in. It delves into the geology that shapes the landscape, building styles and almost everything that is important in the mountains. It explores traditional farming, the animals, the crops, the seasons and the way global climate change is affecting the ability to grow food. Ghandruk is the headquarters of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project established in 1986 to enhance the living conditions of the people while at the same time conserving the region’s wonderful biodiversity. This has brought many improvements to Ghandruk and has made the village a centre of national and international interest. Thousands of tourists pass through every year. A few spend a little time exploring the village but hardly any ever learn what life is really like for the people of the village. What does the inside of a typical home look like, what do people eat for breakfast, how do they spin wool and how do they weave bamboo into baskets of every conceivable kind? This book is written for the people of Ghandruk, as a record of their culture and especially for the young people to appreciate the value of their inheritance. It should also be useful to students of traditional cultures. But it will also help visitors to understand more and develop a greater respect and love for the people of these mountains. It also provides a guide to the wildlife and ecology of the area, what can be seen and where to look, and how efforts are being made to conserve it.