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Title: Tongba  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Millet, List of alcoholic beverages, History of Limbuwan, Kathmandu, Sikkim
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Tongba Drink in Nepal
Course beer
Place of origin Nepal
Region or state Nepal, Sikkim, Darjeeling district, Tibet and Bhutan
Main ingredients millet, Murcha, water etc.

Tongba (Nepali: तोंग्बा) is a millet-based alcoholic beverage found in the eastern mountainous region of Nepal and the neighbouring Darjeeling and Sikkim. It is the traditional and indigenous drink of the Limbu people of eastern Nepal.[1] Tongba is culturally and religiously important to the Limbu people of eastern Nepal. Offering Tongba is respect to a guest in Limbu culture. [2]


Tongba actually is the vessel which holds the fermented alcoholic beverage known as Jaand. Jaand is prepared by cooking and fermenting whole grain millet. The cooked millet is cooled and mixed with murcha (which is a source of molds, bacteria and yeast). Then the mass is collected and placed in a woven bamboo basket lined with green leaves or plastic, covered with thick fold of cloth and allowed to remain in a warm place for 1–2 days depending upon the temperature. The sweet mass is then packed tightly into an earthenware pot or plastic jars and the opening is usually sealed off to prevent air from entering. After 7–15 days also depending upon the temperature, the fermentation is complete and the mass is converted to jaand.

The time jaand is left to remain undisturbed in the pot after completion of fermentation leads to maturing of the jaand. During the maturing the flavours and taste intensifies yet become more mellowed. Traditionally it is stored for about six months.

It is consumed in a unique way: the fermented millet is put in a container, also traditionally called a Tongba, and boiled water is poured in it to the brim. It is then left undisturbed for about five minutes. Once the five minutes has passed it is ready to drink. A fine bamboo straw with a blind end, but perforated on the side to act as a filter, is inserted into the container to suck out the warm water and alcohol from the millet grains. More hot water is added as the tongba becomes dry, and the process is repeated until the alcohol is exhausted.


  1. ^ Easen, Nick (2004-03-01). "Mountain High - TIME". Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  2. ^ MAHARJAN, UJJWALA (2011-12-16). "Sipping hot Tongba in cold winter - My Republica". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
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