Satyahangma Phidim

In the early 20th century, the Limbu ascetic Phalgunanda Lingden (1885-1949), who was born in Ilam district but mainly active Panchthar district in East Nepal, became the founder of a new religion, the Satyahangma Panth, as it came to be known. This reformed religion is the result of Phalgunanda’s attempt to modernise Limbu cultural practices and “purify” the traditional religion, especially by banning the consumption of alcohol and meat, i.e., animal sacrifice.

One important activity was temple building (something practically unknown in traditional Limbu culture). According to a biography on Phalgunanda the first Manghim (‘god-house’) was built by Phalgunanda in Carkhola Cukcinamba, Ilam, in 1929. Others soon followed, several of them in Panchthar: especially in Silauti and Labrekuti, where the Mahaguru stayed himself, and in Phidim. Many other Manghim as well as memorials are being built in the area until today. (Gaenszle 2021)

The data presented here were collected in 2017 and 2018 as part of the “Trans-Border Religion – Re-composing Limbu Rituals in the Nepal-Sikkim Borderlands” (P 29805, 11/2016–10/2020).