Surrounded by the beautiful Himalayan mountains, decked with greenery and adorned with some of the most transparent rivers, stands the land of Nepal. This scenic beauty continues to look untouched by civilization despite the rapid urbanization, thanks to its culture-loving people.
Yes, Nepal’s people are an important asset to the Himalayan nation’s beauty!
And what is most surprising about Nepalis is despite their striking resemblance, the country is divided into 24 ethnic communities! Surprised? Don’t be.. We’ve got more..
Listed below are Nepal’s indigenous communities that have survived the transition of time but have stayed true to their origin:
The indigenous Newaris pride themselves on being one of the oldest ethnic groups in Nepal. They originated from the Kathmandu Valley and its surrounding areas. Newars are descendants of two early civilization races -Indo-Aryan and Tibeti-Burman. They are recognized for their contribution to culture, art, literature, agriculture, trade and cuisine. In today’s context they are regarded as the most economically, socially and politically-developed Nepali community.
The Raute community is considered as the nomadic race of Nepal and is officially recognized by the Nepal Government. The Raute inhabit the thick hilly forest areas of Nepal including Jagarkot, Surkhet, Kalikot, Salyan, Dailekh, Jumla, Makwanpur and Darchula among others. The make their living from hunting of langur and macaque monkeys and trade handmade wooden bowls and boxes with locals for grains, cloth and iron. Raute are also recognized as Banraja among several other names.
Thakalis are recognized as the trading community of Nepal. They originate from the Thak Kola in Mustang district. Thak-sat-se is the traditional area of the community that lies in the salt trading zone of Tukuche mountain and Kali Gandaki river. The most successful businessmen have emerged from the Thakali community and most of them are owners of hotels & motels. Owing to extensive trade across Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Tibet, they shifted base to Kathmandu, Pokhara and Southern Nepal
The word Tharu is derived from the sthavir, indicating that the ethnic group follows Theravda Buddhism. Tharus are also spread across the Indian Terrai, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. They are believed to be of Rajput origin who migrated to Nepal from the Thar Desert. However, Tharu people from farther east claim that they are of Sakya and Koliya origin living in Kapilavastu. The community is involved in thatching and making several other items using Babiyo.
Gurung or Tamus are one of the foremost Gurkha groups and are scattered in different parts of Nepal. They were ruled by a Gurung king until the British empire came to South Asia in the 15h century. From then they began serving the British Army. The Ghyabri, Pachyu and Bon Lamas Gurungs religiously follow the Gurung Dharma. A few Gurungs are believed to be living in India’s Darjeeling, Kolkata and Sikkim states.
Rajbabanshi inhabit the Indo-Nepal border districts Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari. They are considered as relatives of the Koch people located in West Bengal and Assam.
Badi is recognized as the Hill Dalit community of Nepal. The 1854 Nepal Legal Code labelled Badi as the ‘Pani Na Chaine’ impure and untouchable community in Nepal. Ironically, Badi in Sanskrit means Vadyabadak- one who plays musical instruments. Badi’s existence dates back to the Licchavi dynasty, which is modern India’s Bihar. For decades they have been forced into prostitution to support their families. But with economic progress in Nepal, the scenario is slowly changing.
Limbus are originally known as Yakthung, Yakthumba or Yakthungma. According to ancient texts, Yakthungs is a derivation from China and some interpret it as ‘Yaksha winner’. In Limbu, it means ‘Heroes of the Hills’ with reference to the ancient Kiratas. The Limbus were believed to be early inhabitants of Sikkim. Currently, they are mainly found in districts including Dhankuta, Morang, Sunsari, Taplejung, Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Nakhipot, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, among others.