Inside Nepali Kitchens

December 29th, 2016

I remember when I used to go to my maternal uncle’s ancestral home in Nepalgunj as a kid, my grandmother asked us not to step inside the kitchen while she was cooking. She wanted to prevent us from the tough smoke from the burning fire. Few years later, she started using LPG stove and things got better for her. But even at her 70’s, she is somehow paying the expense of cooking in smoke filled kitchen for half her life. After about twenty years my granny bid farewell to smoke, the traditional cooking still persists in Nepali kitchens.

Lately, I saw reflection of my granny again in this adorable elderly named Sona Gurung from Khalte of Dhading. Years and years have passed, Nepal got facelift in many different ways but Nepalese kitchens are still reeling under the cloud of smoke. This smoke is a silent killer, every year it claims lives of as many people as TB, Malaria and Aids combined across the world and specially women of poor communities and children under the age of 5. The primitive way of cooking is undoubtedly an outcome of poverty and lack of awareness. There are many approaches underway to address this issue and is yet insufficient. Let’s try from each of our side to speak of it and act on it.

6 responses to “Inside Nepali Kitchens”

  1. Kopila Thapa Says:

    Informative video blog… Thank you Archana Gurung !
    Indoor air pollution is seriously affecting to women and their children. More than 50% of premature deaths among children under 5 due to pneumonia caused by particulate matter inhaled from household air pollution- WHO.
    So, let’s be the part of team for the simple solutions to many more Sona Aamas in Nepal.

  2. Tony Maddocks Says:

    I know that fitting smoke hoods is fantastic and saving lives. But why, historically, haven’t the local people ever figured out how to build chimneys? Is it because they are unable to make bricks or use stone which is the usual traditional way if your dwelling is predominately made of timber? Or is it cultural, that is, innovative thinking has been frowned upon for centuries?

  3. Archana Says:

    Thanks for your feedback Tony. Yes the chimney construction is inherited in villages but in many ways traditional way of construction did more harm than good in absence of proper orientation and engineering. Meanwhile, in absence of awareness, many still opt to cook in open fire being unknown to its consequences. There are places which are tricked by topography leading to least access of improved stoves where a well engineered and installed chimney means a lot.

  4. Sindhu Says:

    Hi, I am doing a design and technology project and I found your blog. I was thinking to maybe design exhaust fans for the kitchens but I wanted to know if these people have access to electricity.

  5. Archana Says:

    Hi Sindhu
    Could we possibly speak more on it. May I get your email address or could you email me?

  6. Sindhu Says:

    Hi Archana,

    Thank you for your reply. I am happy that you are willing to help me with my school project. It would be in my best interest if you would give me a short briefing on the electrical conditions in the area. Thank you for your help but I do not require much information. If you still would like to contact me, this is my school email at
    Thank you again!

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