In The Land Of Shiva – A Memoir

winnow 3Winnowing rice in Kathmandu Valley.    The rice is heavier than the chaff, which is blown away by the wind.    Note her modern wristwatch while doing an ancient agricultural task.

So much of Nepal was, is, an agrarian society, and still practicing some of the old ways.

Besides this ancient practice of winnowing using the natural power of wind, one could oftentimes see a real “threshing floor.”  This consisted of a small circular area of ground, a large stake in the middle, and a wooden beam extending outward to yoke a water buffalo. Driven continuously around the circle, the buffalo’s hooves would knock the grain, as well as chaff, off the stalks.

Semi-modern methods were also employed for threshing.  In one small village, with a single road through it, cars necessarily drove over rice stalks placed in their way, and thus the threshing was accomplished.

There were rumors of child sacrifice, to obtain a good harvest, in that particular town and I shuddered every time I traveled through it.