Top 5 Cultures in the Himalayas of Nepal
The natural green hills, snowcapped peaks, and diverse wildlife make Nepal a sought destination all over the world. Besides such, the country is also famous for its rich culture and ancient lifestyle.
The culture and tradition of the country have been evolving over the centuries. The different culture and traditional heritage of the country have their own language, music and dance styles. They also have their own folklore and regional philosophy.
With the influence of Indian, Tibetan, and the Mongolian culture, Nepal homes its own tribal groups and ethnic communities. The cultural ethnicities of the country also have their own festivals, literature, and cuisines.
As the country is divided among three regions, Himalayan, Hilly, and Terai, people with different religions are living in different parts. This country lives off agriculture and tourism industry. Hence, shifting our focus on the tourism side, most of the tourists come to the country for adventure purposes. And, such adventure-filled activities are best done in the high Himalayas.
While traveling to the High Himalayas, visitors come across different cultural religions. People travel to Nepal not only for trekking purposes but to explore the early lifestyle of the people. And, that is possible only because of the unity in diversity the country excels in.
In the Himalayan Region, there are more than a handful of culture to follow. People of different castes like Sherpa, Brahmin, Newar, Chhetri, and Limbu live together in harmony. All of such religions have their own sets of language and cultural beliefs.
We have created a list of the Top 5 Cultures in the Himalayas of Nepal to help you with what culture to follow while trekking in the high Himalayas. Following these sets of religions will make you fall deep into the rich cultures of the country.
Below are the top 5 cultures in the Himalayas of Nepal.
With a Tibetan-influence, the Sherpa people are the most native to the high Himalayas. Originated from the northeastern region of the country, most of the Sherpa people live amidst the eastern Himalayas of the country.
Sherpa people have their own sets of language derived from the Tibeto-Burman languages. According to the history, Sherpas came from the Nyingmapa, founded by Guru Rinpoche during the 8th century. These people follow the idea of monasteries.
The Sherpa people are known for their skills regarding mountaineering. The first climber to get to the top of the Everest were Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hilary. Sherpa people break most of the trekking records.
Indigenous to the Central Himalayas of the country, Tamang people originated from the aborigines of the Yambu people of the Kathmandu Valley. They are the largest of the Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups in Nepal.
The Tamang people speak their own Tamang language. The language is also the fifth most spoken language in the country. The Tamang people are mostly the followers of Buddhism. They follow the Nyingma tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism. It was the earliest form of Buddhism that entered Nepal through Tibet.
Tamang people are famous for their musical styles as they have a dance called Tamang Selo, performed with the Damphoo. Most of the Tamang people are occupied in agricultural sectors but, the Tamangs living in the high Himalayas are involved in the Tourism industry. You will find the Tamang people in the high Himalayas of the Langtang Region.
Gurung and Magar
Gurung and Magar people are the local tribe of the Western Himalayas. Often called as the Tamu people, they believe that they had their own King until the 15th century. The Gurung and Magar tribes live on the outskirts of the Annapurna Region.
With the world famously calling Nepal, a land of brave Gurkhas, the Gurung tribe alongside Magars were the people who served in the British regiments in the World War. The Gurung people are a sheer believer in Shamanism and Bon religion. Described as one of the oldest religions of Nepal, Gurung people had their own language called Gurung-Kura. However, the language is now lost.
Gurung people are famous for their shamanism and rituals. Their priests have three categories, Ghyabri, Pachyu, and Bon Lama. The first two shamans are called to exorcism and mortuary rituals. Traditionally, the Tamang people embrace Tibetan Buddhism as their culture.
Native to the Eastern Himalayas of Nepal, the Hyolmo people are the natives of Helambu and Melamchi villages. With their inclusion in the officially recognized culture of Nepal, people also call them the Yolompa tribe.
Originated from the Gyirong Villages of Tibet some 300 years ago, Yolmos is the speaker of Yolmo language of the Sino-Tibetan family. Likewise, talking about their traditional dresses, the Yolmo people wear Bakhu, similar to the Tibetan Chuba attire.
Previously, the Yolmo people were in the field of occupation but, now, most of them have shifted their focus towards the tourism industry. The Hyolmos call their lands a place protected by a female deity.
Lho people are native to the driest valley of Nepal. They had a Tibetan origin and are the native of the kingdom of Lho. Now, those people can be found in the Lo Manthang valley of Mustang.
There are fewer details of the people of Lho. People also call the Lho Kingdom as the Last Lost Kingdom. There is nothing much to know about them. Visit the Upper Mustang Trek to experience the unique culture and tradition of the hidden religion of Lho.
The reason for Lho listed as one of the top 5 cultures in the Himalayas of Nepal is because of the segregated society. Due to it, the culture, tradition, values, and norms are still unhindered from its ancient state.
Nepal is famous as much for its cultural presence as for its high snowcapped Himalayas. Apart from the above listed top 5 cultures in the Himalayas of Nepal, there are many more cultures and traditions present in the country.