Cordyceps is harvested illegally in Bhutan and smuggled out via Tibet due to high demand from Chinese consumers
right Two men prepare their roosters for a fight. After the eruption of Mount Agung, cockfighting surged in popularity in the area 5th century BCE
ȑȑcockfighting spreads to the Mediterranean, Europe and the Americas
But to have good cockfights, one must have good cocks, and the nuanced process of rooster breeding takes place between carefully selected specimens by professional breeders. Hardy jungle chickens are crossed with larger breeds from countries like the Philippines, and up to 10 specimens of rooster can be test-bred in order to hatch the strongest chicks.
These precious pets are well-pampered: Vaccinated, fed, massaged and bathed, they’re kept in a shady spot in the jungle, and given a harem of hens with which to mate.
An ideal father must be a champion fighter with a high victory rate, so his offspring will be as powerful, according to 35-year-old cockfighting activist I Nyoman Darma. The best specimens have a good skeletal structure, shiny foot scales and pretty plumage – vibrant orange and iridescent black and gold feathers. Splotches or freckles are not tolerated.
“People today might breed bloodthirsty birds for betting fights,” says Nyoman. “But the original aspiration of the profession is noble: to produce a classy specimen that is proud, pure and elegant. Such a bird brings luck to its owner.” ag
“The original aspiration of the profession is noble: to produce a classy specimen that is proud, pure and elegant”
below Purnima, 9, is dressed for her wedding to the Sun by her aunt and cousin in Bhaktapur
Sujata and Shiva surrounded by family at their wedding in Kathmandu
right bottom Little brides get their feet painted in celebratory red for the Ihi ceremony
1.3MILLION ( 5% of Nepal total) LANGUAGE nuptials, with the final one culminating in union with a man.
For these little brides, Ihi is the first step. Sitting in their father’s lap, they cradle the consecrated bael fruit, or wood apple (a representation of the Hindu god Vishnu, chosen for its resistance to rot), and become permanent wives of the immortal deity. Some believe this practice originated from the 19th century, when, fearing the lusty desires of men from other tribes, Newari families sought a way to protect their girls’ purity by having a god claim it first.
Still prevalent today, the practice has expanded to protecting women from the stigma of widowhood. After the ceremony, the girls will carefully keep the fruit in pristine condition for the rest of their lives.
The next marriage, called Bahra or Gufa, must happen before a girl’s first menstruation, typically around 13 years. She spends 12 days isolated at home in a dark room, away from men and sunlight, during which she receives sex education from female relatives. On the 13th day, she is unveiled outdoors and wedded to the Sun for protection against evil in a female-only ceremony.
In the third and final marriage ceremony, the mature Newari woman dons a red sari to marry her flesh-and-blood partner in Ihipa, a three-day party with friends and family, after which she moves into her spouse’s home, all her weddings finished at last. ag A Newari Girl’s Successive Spouses
CHILDHOOD Age Husband: Vishnu
ADOLESCENCE Age Husband: The Sun
ADULTHOOD Age Husband: Spouse typically arranged by the parents
above Nuan, 71, has been making baat since she was eight
top right Baat for sale on display at the entrance of Ban Baat
right Sheet metal is welded to make the sides of a baat