Madhesh (Nepali: मधेस), also known as Terai (or Tarai), is the flat southern region of Nepalwhich stretches from east to west. It is a part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It occupies about 17% of the total land and is home to almost 48% of the total population of Nepal.

The Madhesh is a 20 to 30km wide belt of flat and fertile land along the southern edge of Nepal. To the south are the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, while the Mahabharat Range is to the north of Madhesh.

Contrary to the frequent image of Nepal as a mountainous country with snow-covered Himalayas and Mongoloid people, the region is a flat, fertile land with people and culture mostly resembling the neighboring Hindu culture of India. The major traditional languages in the region are Maithili, Bhojpuri, Abashi and Janjati.

The eastern part of Madhesh was a part of the ancient kingdom Mithila with Janakpuras its capital.
The elevation goes up to 1000m immediately. It is never more than 30km wide. This part can be called Madesh or Terai. The Terai makes up 17% of the area in Nepal. The soil is generally fertile and there is plentiful rain, which yields good crops.

Important Localities
Biratnagar: Biratnagar (बिराटनगर), Nepal’s second largest city, is more famous for giving more superior political leaders to the country than any other part of Nepal. It equally is known for being industry power-house of the counry. It is located in Koshi Zone on the southern Teraibelt of Nepal, near the south-eastern border with India. The population of the municipality according to the 2001 census was 166,674. Biratnagar is located at 26°28’60″N 87°16’60″E.It is the administrative centre of Morang district.Fortunate to boast immense fertile land mass, Biratnagar is also reputed for being agro-and -commerce hub. Being located on southern part, the city actually borders Indian town, called Jogbani, where lot of locals go for shopping, or to travel some other parts of India.Biratnagar is linked with Kathmandu by road and air. Biratnagar Airport is the regional hub for vital air services serving the remote Eastern Hills, and there are regular flights to Kathmandu.

Birganj: Birganj is a sub-metropolitan municipality and border town in southern Nepal, it lies 190 km west of the capital Kathmandu, 2 km north of the border of the Indian state of Bihar. As an entry point to Nepal from Patna and Calcutta it is also known as the gateway to Nepal. The town has significant economic importance for Nepal as a large part of goods enter Nepal through Birganj via Raxaul on the Indian side.According to the 2001 census of Nepal it has a population of 112,484, there are several languages spoken in the town including Bhojpuri,Nepali, Maithili,S Newari, Marwari and Hindi. It is the biggest city in Narayani Zone and is a headquarter of Parsa District.Birganj is a major business centre of Nepal, especially for trade with India. Important industries are sugar refinery, cigarette manufacture and fish-breeding.

Bhadrapur:  Welcome to the Bhadrapur google satellite map! This place is situated in Mechi, East, Nepal, its geographical coordinates are 26° 32′ 0″ North, 88° 5′ 0″ East and its original name (with diacritics) is Bhadrapur. See Bhadrapur photos and images from satellite below, explore the aerial photographs of Bhadrapur in Nepal.

Dhangadhi:  Dhangadhi is a town in western Nepal on the border to India. It is the capital ofKailali District in the province of Seti.With a population of about 80,000 it is the largest city in the Far-West region of Nepal. The city is very good connected with other major cities of Nepal and Indian cities of Uttar Pradesh. The City airport is located 10km away, which is being extended so that to accommodate landing of Fokker-100. The Airport will be second biggest in the country after TIA.

Inaruwa:  Inaruwa is the headquarter of Sunsari District in Nepal. It lies on the Mahendra Highway, near Koshi Bridge. Once a sleepy town, Inaruwa is has become a very lively town. Major attractions include the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Sanctuary and the Koshi Bridge.This town has a municipality designation. One of the popular places is Sakhwagacchi, the other one is Balaha,purwatole[ramanuja tole]. There are 15 sub divisions in Inaruwa, Sakhwagacchi and purwa tole being the most fascinating. There is a Madan Bhandari Park, antiquated jairis shop, Shree sudhar tole, rockdastage.There are also some religiously important temples like Bhagawati Temple, Satyanarayan temple,ramanuja satsangha ashram etc.

Ithahari: Ithahari is an undistinguished town at the intersection of the Mahendra HWY and the Biratnagar to Dhankuta road. There is an interesting market held along the dusty lane south east of the main intersection

Janakpur: Janakpur, more commonly Janakpurdham, is a city in Nepal. Janakpurdham is the administrative headquarters of the Dhanusa District of the Janakpur Zone and has a population of approximately 80,000. The city is located about 400 km south-east ofKathmandu, 20 km from the Indian border at 26° 42′ 44″ N, 085° 55′ 18″ E Janakpurdham has a substantial tourist industry due to its significance in the Hindu religion and is home to the only operational railway in Nepal, the Janakpur Railway.

Lahan:  Lahan is located in South-East Nepal, at the East-West Highway close to the Indian border. From Kathmandu by bus (10 hours) or by domestic flight to either Janakpur (85 km west of Lahan) or Biratnagar (125 km east of Lahan). The neighbouring Indian state for Lahan as well as Biratnagar is Bihar.From India by train and road via various entry points to Nepal.

Lumbini:  Lumbini (Sanskrit: लुम्बिनी, “the lovely”) is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in theKapilavastu district of Nepal, near the Indianborder. It is the place where Queen Mayadeviis said to have given birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who in turn, as the Buddha Gautama, gave birth to the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE. Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, andSarnath.Lumbini is in the foothills of theHimalaya,25 km east of the municipality of Kapilavastu, where the Buddha is said to have lived till the age of 29. Kapilvastu is the name of the place in question as well as of the neighbouring district. Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple, and others under construction. Also here is the Puskarini or Holy Pond – where the Buddha’s mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath – as well as the remains of Kapilvastu palace. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, achieved ultimate awakening and finally relinquished earthly form.

Mahendranagar: Mahendranagar is an unhappening town and the main reason to come here is that it is a border town next to India. Mahendranagar is 5km east of the border to India, which is marked by the Mahakali River. You can walk across the border at any time during the day. There is a barrier on the Indian side and it is only open (and vehicle can go through) from 7 to 8 am, noon to 2 pm and 4 to 6 pm.The surrounding area is inhabited by Tharu people.

Mechinagar:  Mechinagar मेचीनगर is a major entry point of eastern Nepal. The main custom office of eastern Nepal is in Kakadvitta one of the major area of Mechinagar.Mechinagar municipality is the joint combination of Dhulabari and Kakadvitta township of Jhapa Districtand Mechi Zoon of Nepal. Dhulabari is the main shopping district and similarly Kakadvitta is the official and customs area in the city.

Nepalgunj: Nepalgunj (नेपालगञ्ज or नेपालगन्ज) (pronounced as /nepãlgənj/ ), also spelledNepalganj, is a town in Nepal, located in the Banke district of the Bheri zone (Terai), near Nepal’s southern border with India. It is 16 km south of Kohalpur. It is the transport hub for western, mid-western and far-western regions of Nepal. The nearest Indian border is about 8 km south of Nepalgunj. Nepalgunj is important business centre for more than 5 regions (Bheri, Rapti, Mahakali, Karnali, Seti). In the middle of town lies Birendra Chok, an intersection named after the late king, of whom it has a statue. Nepalgunj has a very diverse culture. People believing in different religions like Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity etc andatheists too live here. Similarly people of different ethnicity also abode here.

Siddhartanagar:  Bhairahawa or Bhairawa has been renamed to Siddharthanagar when it was incorporated as a municipality (nagarpalika in Nepali). Siddhartanagar is a city located in south-central Nepal, 4km from the Indian border. It has approx. 65.000 inhabitants (2007) is one of the industrial and economic centres of Nepal. It is also called the gateway toLumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. The city is served by Bhairahawa Airport

The Mithiala or Kapilbastu nation inhabited the area over 2000 years ago. The area was inhabited during the “Baidik” period from 1300B.C. to 1000B.C. The Karnataka dynasty, founded by Nanya Dev, establised the Tirhut nation. It is also called Simraungarh. After the unification of Nepal under Prithvi Narayan Shah, the Madhesh region came under Nepal.
The Madhesh was a useful buffer against territorial ambitions of Indian princes and above all British expansion. In fact the malarial belt could be relied on to decimate invading troops before they reached the Pahari heartland. Most of the land in Terai was then covered by forest.
Although Nepal nominally became a democracy under Democratic parties in 1990, historical patterns of government employment being restricted to Paharis have lasted right up to the present day. The populations of the Madhesh participated little and seemed at risk of being overlooked in the negotiated settlements aimed at giving Janajatis more representation.

The Terai has a subtropical climate and it can often be humid. The best weather is from November to February, when day temperatures are from the mid 20°’s C to the high 20°’s C and it is cool, sometimes cold at night. It very seldom rains during this period.
From late April to the beginning of September the weather is hot, often going over 40°C. The monsoon goes from mid-June to mid-September, and this not a good time to visit. Most areas in the Terai get over 1500mm of rain in a year.

The people in the region are mostly Indo-Aryan speaking, inhabiting the area for thousands of years, and are referred as Madhesis. The kingdom of Buddha around 500 BC, Tirhut, Sen and other kingdoms were part of Madhesh. The main religion of Madhesh (including all ethnic groups) is Hinduism, although the majority of Nepal’s small Muslim minority live in Madhesh. Popular dress includes the traditional male Dhoti, Kurta, and typical janjati dress. Similar sari, blouse, kutra salwar, and typical janjati dress are worn by women.

The majority of the Terai peoples are indigenous to Madhesh, while groups like the Kirants are from outside Nepal. Terai groups include Tharu, Rajbansi, Koche, Mece, Dhimal, Satar, Danuwar, and Dhangars.
As opposed to most parts of Nepal where nuclear families predominate, most Terai live amongst large joint families.
Maithili is the lingua franca of the Terai people.

A movement was recently formed in the Terai area of Nepal called the Madheshi movement which demands the end to the discrimination to the Madheshi people, greater autonomy within Nepal, and greater representation in the national parliament. The different parties involved in the movement range from the student wings of the ruling parties to the armed Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha. These are basically divided into two groups with two different leaders. It is basically more terrorism-oriented rather than a politically motivated organization according to the Nepalese Government, since it has been causing many criminal activities in Nepal although they claim to be a political institution. Their demands thus are different. The peaceful parties involved demand a federal political system, whereas the armed rebels demand a separate state.

There are other popular groups among the Madhesi people of Nepal, namely the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF). This party launched the historical Madhesh movement and huge masses people took to the streets. About 40 persons died. Due to this, Kathmandu provided federal provinance. On December 17th, 2007 the Unified Madheshi Front announced a plan to launch protests and unrest in Terai for moving towards autonomy.[6] If their demands are not met they have threatened to secede from Nepal.[7]

Economically, Madhesh is the most productive region of Nepal. Although Pahades discriminate against Madhesi, 70% of the major industries in the country are in this region.
Agriculture is the main economic stake of the region.[8] Main crops are paddy, wheat, pulses,moong, sugarcane, jute, tobacco, and maize. Many agro-based industries like jute factories, sugar mills, rice mills and tobacco factories are established throughout the region.

The main places to visit in Madhesh areLumbini, the birth place of Buddha; andJanakpur, the birthplace of Sita and where she married Rama, from the Ramayana.
The main east–west road through Nepal is the Mahendra Highway, which goes from the Karnali River at the western border ofBardia National Park to Kakarbhitta on the eastern border of Nepal.