"CHAUTARA" ... a place to communicate and share:


Where does communication and sharing take place in a Nepalese village? For women, it has historically been the village pond, the community well, or the lonely tree at the edge of the forest where they rested with their loads of fodder or firewood. For men, it was inevitably the banyan tree, usually near a temple or school. Village elders would gather there to resolve issues of common concern, wonder at the pace of changing times or merely gossip.


In the hills of Nepal, such a place at a banyan tree, often with a raised platform, is called a "chautara".

The more prosperous and aware a village, the higher the number of chautaras in it. But every village would have at least one. There are still many functional chautaras in the countryside of Nepal, but they aren't used as extensively as they used to be. These days people gather at local teashops, in party offices or around the radio.