The House of Mithila (THoM)

The House of Mithila (THoM) is a women led initiative that seeks to explore ancient Mithila way of life in its modern times.

The House of Mithila (THoM)

About - The House of Mithila (THoM)

The House of Mithila is a Praķalpa led by women that seeks to give a modern mosaic to its ancient wisdom and practices. It is an exploration in early culture and give an aesthetic sense to it in modern living. This is also a platform that is created to redefine the cultural richness with its modern meanings. Our portrayal of the contemporary social and cultural picture is conventional and traditional peculiar to the land of greater Mithila than limiting it to Tarai Nepal.

In the ancient and medieval times geographically the land of Mithila was spread and surrounded by the Himalayas in the north, and on the south, west and east by the rivers Ganga, Gaṇḍhaka, and Koshi. However at this time, the land of Mithila is divided into two nations Nepal and India with international borders dividing them into two separate entities. In the Tarai part of Nepal it includes districts of Saptari, Siraha, Sunsari, Dhanusa, Mahhotari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara, Parsa and Chitawan. On the other side of the border in India it includes districts of Madhubani, Darbhanga, Purbi Champaran, Sibahar, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, Purniya, and North Munger.

It was by reason of her secluded position that Mithila has been able to preserve her continuity in the evolution of a culture peculiarly her own and also in retaining intact the fundamental truths embodied in Hindu culture. The comparatively peaceful atmosphere of Tirhut made it the centre of learning and culture in the middle age.

The Mithilāmahātmya talks about the boundary of Mithila that lies between the Himalaya and the Ganga, intercepted by fifteen rivers the most holy land called Tirabhukti; beginning from the Koshi and running up to the Gandak. In length it covers 24 Yojanas – 192 miles; beginning from the Ganga and extending up to the Himalaya forest. Its breadth covers 16 Yojanas – 128 miles, and in the middle, the city of Mithila - present Janakapurdham is located.  Also Gupta period’s archeological records (circa - 4th century A. D.) indicate the name of Tirabhukti, later in the medieval period read as Tirhut. ‘The antiquity of Mithila is proved as narrated in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa. The word Mithila was derived from ‘manth’ (to churn) by the author of the Unādisūtra. Mithila was also the name of a Sage (p. 400)’. It was sage Mithi who with his tapa, homa and yagna, made this land a holy one. [1]

Since the days of ‘Satapatha Brahmana’ Mithila had been the cradle of the Vedic civilization. It remained a great stronghold of the Brahmnical culture and traditional learning. Since the people of Mithila were guided by the mint, anise and cumin of the Brahmanic law in its everyday life by the time it entered into the medieval ages it literally pushed other caste groups to margin. The present day caste churning in Tarai can be located in this continued historical preservation that was maintained for centuries by Brahmins and Kayasthas.

The people of mithila are temperamentally religious and a life practice includes it well. All the twelve months in Mithila are purposefully marked for one or the other types of festivals. This cycle of festival began with the month of Chaitra. It is understood from Sruti and Smriti that the creation of the creation of this world took place n the first day of the bright half of the chaitra – chaitra purnima.

The cultural history of Mithila are scattered in a variety of places – symbols including books, folklore, and fiction, poetry and songs. Cultural traits can best be traced to folk religions and rites. Folk culture and religion has been the culture of the people as the people themselves have lived over generations. These sources of reflection are intertwined with the people’s lives. Various texts, folklores and poetry and songs are the expressions of genuine desires, aspirations, genius, emotions and thoughts of the people.

In the Maithil folk tradition marriage is viewed a beginning of the family and a household life and hence auspicious. Marriage is celebrated with vigor and religiosity. Cohbara (a house especially meant for the bride groom and the bride on the occasion of marriage) has acquired sanctity in the social life of Mithila. Kohbara is made on every such occasion and is decorated with various types of religious and tantric paintings.

New earthen pots, with religious and social sanctity attached to them, known as purahari and pātila, dipa (earthen lamp), a set of varied folk drawings and paintings popularly known as airpana is regarded as sacred for all auspicious occasion of Mithila.

[1] Ref. Chaudhary, Radhakrishna. 1976. ‘Mithilā in the age of Vidyāpati’ Chaukhambha Oriental Research Studies, No.1. Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, India.

The principles of engagement

  • Holistic, sustainable and drawn from everyday practices
  • Collaborative and work in partnerships
  • Focus on local, authentic and transform it to aesthetics
  • Universally adaptive and tested
  • Sharing equally and being equitable
  • Responsible to local community and its cultural imaginations

The steps of our operation

  • Exploration - Literature, Everyday Practices and ideas
  • Transfer of ideas into skills - Identify skills/actors and clients, Synthesize ideas to its modern use and educate and inject skills and explore value in it and Training, workshops and productions
  • Re-organize values and frame it into a modality of skills that is usable for everyday practice
  • Promote sustainable living at our working sites

Who are allies in running the venture?

Co-founders of The House of Mithila, Mr. Sujeet Kumar Karn and Ms. Amrita Rai. The House of Mithila also have 14 women associated with 5 of them are the artists, 3 of them make delicious Mithila cuisine and snacks and the remaining 7 work on making Mithila artifacts. 80% of our staffs comprise of housewifes.

Our brand was built upon - creativity and innovation

Skill equates to creativity, adds to value and transforms into asthetics - the House of Mithila believes in working for it

Quality and satisfaction

Majority of the proceeds that we get from the sales of all these products are distributed among the women and kids from Jhanga Jithi village. We are providing education and school to 12 kids from the village. We ensure that they have access to the curriculum books, school uniforms, other stationery items, lunch and breakfast. We are also working on creating a community for the women from our village where they can come together and work on designing, painting and so on while learning and sharing their knowledge and experiences. We are also thinking of starting our own organic production of rice and dal and make it available in our stores for the customers to buy.

Mahāsūpākarpati’s Kitchen

Mithila is well known for its delicacies. Hot rice on green plantain leaf (banana leaf) with cow’s ghee, fish and nālita vegetable and curd is served as notorious food. Other food items are Mugbā, Sakruāri, Madhukupí, Maţha, Fhenā, Tilwā, Chāula, Şiróla, Khirisā, Khirní, Jhiliyā, Naḍivi etc. Chewra (parched rice) with a heavy coat of thick curd and cream.

Meat, fish, baḍa, baḍi, paḍora, muńga, pulse, curd, milk, plantain, sweets etc.

List of edibles – Mudga, Masu‾ra, Kulthi, Turri, Caṇaka, Dhanya, Rāhari, Khesari, Sāṭḥi, Yava, Tila, Godhu˭ma, Kalāya etc.

Chief cook is called Mahāsūpākarpati. In traditional food for test spices like māuri, methi, man˙grailā, churā and farhi are used.

The Maithilānis in modern attire and verities of paṭāmbara (Costly Clothes)

Dress is also a clear index of the contemporary social life and Mithila presented one of its best examples. Pāga is still used as a head dress but only during auspicious occasions. For men it is dhoti, gaṃācha or aṇgocha, dópāta and pāga while for women it was sārí, churi, armlet, close fitted garment on the upper part and something like a scar on the head, lahańga, ghaňghara and kan˜cuki.

Sārí with a particular type of border produced locally in handlooms are used. Khopā and Kājara are done for decorations and to beautify. Betel leaves formed an important item ofphysical decoration of lips. It is also used for mukhaśuddhi. Betel leaves and makhāna are seen as precious item to test.


Cup, jars, plates, basins, cooking and other vessels, idols, lamp stand, jewelry boxes etc.

The palanquin was a common means of transpotation in mithila. Also boat has importance as mithila was bounded by rivers from all sides. There is reference to twenty nine types of boats with the head of lion, tiger, horse, duck, snake or fish as figure head.

Sewing, cap making, rope making, basket making, pottery, and making of drums and musical instruments were the flourishing industries.