Paru, The Mystic Land of The Kiratis

Kiratis of ancient Nepal worshipped a pre-brahminic deity called Paru Hang  which actually is not a name of the divinity but simply means the Lord (or King) of Paru. Although it may sound odd to our modern ears, it is traditional cultural heritage of the Kiratis, it is considered to be an expression of respect to so address; for example, a man may be called so-and-so’s father rather than by his own name. However, the form of address persisted and the Kiratis themselves know nothing about the name of the deity, their own household god.

The ancestors of the Kiratis believed that if one crossed the ranges of cold rugged mountains in several successions, one would arrive one day into a warm green valley that is covered with lush gardens of flowers and trees laden with luscious fruits. Such a mythical place was accessible to anyone determined to seek it out, and our ancestors worshipped the Lord of such a mythical land called Paru. Some believers say one can approach this land but only in spirit form if one would meditate upon it with due perseverance.

An Englishman named James Hilton came to know of this mystic land and was so fascinated by this account he immortalized the Kirati legend as Shangri-La in his immensely successful romantic novel called The Lost Horizon published in 1933. The name Shangri-La however, is an outright misnomer because the word La actually means a mountain pass such as Jelep-La, Bomdi-La, Nathu-La etc and there is no place on real earth called Shangri La except in James Hilton’s imagination.

British Empire was at the zenith of prosperity and James Hilton was aware of his station in life, he could not care less for the sacredness of plagiarism and his book The Lost Horizon remains secure there in the world of fiction. Whatever has been done cannot be undone now as the mighty British Empire has itself become but a distant memory. It nevertheless stands to reason that we the Kiratis accept the inevitable and begin to take pride in our pre-brahminic heritage.

And never forget the wisdom of our ancient believing ancestors, you may one day come face to face with Paru Hang, and when he will ask you, “chita mattai manua”, be prepared. (When you come in presence of Paru Hang, he will grant you whatever be your wish, “Only ask, whatever”.)

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