THE WORLD OF NEPALESE SHAMAN’S TRADITION OF KHAM MAGARS
PHOTO AND TEXT COURTESY
TheJhankri tradition (Shamanism) is a popular practice in the Kham Magar community of western Nepal i.e. places like Rolpa
and Rukum. The jhankris are dressed up in special kind of trousers, have their faces painted and wear feathers of falcon
and foliage on their head. They use porcupine needles, Ot, tiger cub’s skin, Thawa, tail of a yak, palm of a grizzly bear,
claws of vulture and rodents as other accessories. They also carry a large drum, called Dhwangro and a beating stick called
Makke. They wear wooden ornament called Chemali on the right wrist.
The jhankri tradition is a natural, spiritual and psychological practice of healing. The old jhankris pass on this special
art of manipulating a patient’s mind to cure an illness to their disciples.
Every year, the jhankris from all around the community assemble for a special kind of jamboree called Pumsine. The locals
actively volunteer for the smooth running of the Pumsine and help the jhankris with the needful. The jhankris spend a day
and a night beating their drums and chanting. The disciples are then taken on top of a tree where the special spells are
passed on from the teacher. Pumsine is also an important occasion for fresh jhankris meet old ones and find a suitable
teacher to learn and inherit the art from.
Photo and text