The indigenous community of any place is the original and earliest known group of people. These peoples are generally referred to as aborigine people or native. They are colonized with one other and maintain their own cultures and traditions. They have their languages, rituals to practice, dresses, and occupation. They might later get modernized, continuing their old traditional values. Nepal is known as the country of unity in diversity. Thus, various indigenous communities are found in Nepal. Though Nepal is now highly influenced by modernization, you can still see that most of these ancient tribes, their cultures and traditions are still preserved and are in practice in almost every part of Nepal. There is a unique taste of cultures, traditions, lifestyles, costumes, and language in every corner of Nepal. They have their cuisines, songs, dance, and music, which will add flavor to your trip to Nepal. Some of the indigenous groups of people are mentioned below.
Chhepangs are originally from the central part of Nepal. Now they are distributed in various parts of the country. Their ethnic group is Tibeto-Burman. They mainly follow Aminism but are strongly influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism. They celebrate all the Hindu festivals, mainly Dashain, Tihar, and Sankrantis. But their native festival is Nwagi or Chhonam. Their main language is Chyo-bang language.
Chhantyals are originally from the Western part of Nepal and distributed to most parts of Nepal now. They have their kind of rituals to follow. They mainly worship nature and their ancestor’s spirits. They sacrifice animals to trees and lands as worship to nature. However, they are now adopted with Hinduism and Buddhism and follow most of their festivals. Their main language is Chhantyal Kham.
Limbus are native to Himalayan Limbuwan. They are also known as Yakhung. They are classified under Kiranti people. They have very unique rituals. They practice their own life cycle rituals and have very special and unique death rituals. They have their traditional dresses called Mekhli and Taga. Their unique gold jewelry is very famous among their costumes. They follow Mundhum as religion and festival. They have their music and singing styles. Their language is Sino-Tibetan language, which they refer to as Yakthanpan. They are widely spread in various parts of Nepal.
Lohrung is originated from the eastern part of Nepal, and they are also classified under Kiranti people. They are similar to Limbus. Their language is Sino-Tibetan language. Their main festival is Nwagi and Ikksammang. Though they are spread in a different part of the country, the number of this group is relatively less than other groups found in Nepal.
Rai community is an ethnolinguistic group of the Indian subcontinent and widely spread in all parts of Nepal. They are also one the group that belongs to the ancient kirant kingdom. Their main language is Kiranti and Nepali. They follow Kiranti mundhum as a religion. Now, they are highly influenced by Hinduism and follow festivals of Hinduism too.
Sunuwar is a tribe that is originated in Nepal. They speak Sunuwar language. They also come under Kiranti kingdom. They originally follow Kiranti religion and are highly influenced by Hinduism. They celebrate some of the Hindu festivals too. They are very rich in cultures and traditions. Some of their popular cultures are Chandi dance, Sakela, Gil puja, and Meserani puja. They have their song called Koich Kumso. They are widely spread and are still preserving their cultures to date.
Gurkha or Gorkhalis:
Gorkhalis were the soldiers who fought during the Anglo-Nepal war. They were the brave warriors and were considered as a protector. British army referred them as Gurkha. They are originally from Nepal and now distributed to a country as the British Army, Indian Army, and many more countries. Since then, Gorkhali became an indigenous group of people, mainly from their profession.
Gurungs are widely found in every part of Nepal. They are also called as Tamu. Their main language is Tamu Kwyi and Manang language. Now, they also speak the Nepali language. They follow Hinduism and Buddhism. They celebrate festivals as celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists. Their main festival is tamu Lhosar. They also have their dresses and ornaments.
Magar is the third largest ethnolinguistic group in Nepal. They are spread in the most area of the country. They speak Magar language. They mainly follow Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bon cultures. They have specific traditional dresses with uniquely designed gold ornaments. They celebrate Makar Sankranti as their main festival. They have their song and dancing styles. Their dance is known as Maruni. Now they are highly influenced by modernization and follow other cultures too. But they still reflect their cultures and traditions.
Miji is another community of Nepal, also known as Sajolang or Damai. They speak the language like Sajolang, Miji, Bengru, and Damai. They have special kind of dress which are of an ankle-length white garment and decorated jacket as a top. They have special silver ornaments and bracelets. They originally follow Aminism. But now the majority of them are following Christianity too.
Thami is originally a tribe of Kathmandu. They speak Thami language, which is also called Thangmi Kham, Thangmi Wakhe, and Thani. They follow Shaminism but are highly influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism. Hence, they also follow the traditions of Hindus and Buddhists too.
Tharu is an ethnic group of the Terai region of Nepal. They mainly speak Tharu and Nepali language. But they have other classified languages like Bhojpuri, Maithili, Hindi, etc. They have their own traditional belief but also follow Hinduism and Buddhism. They have their own kind of costumes and ornaments. They also have their original songs and dance. They are still mostly found in the Terai region, and only small numbers of them are spread within the country.
They are originated from Limbus and were originally from Eastern Nepal. They are mostly similar to the Limbu community and follow similar kind of rituals and traditions.
Newars are originated from Kathmandu valley and are now spread in most area of the country. They speak Newari language and Nepali language. They celebrate their new year as Nepal Sambat. They have different cultures and traditions according to the place they live in. Even their language varies somewhat according to the place. They have festivals like Indra Jatra, bisket jatra, Paanch Chare. These are some of their famous festivals. They have a unique kind of dance like masked dance and dhime dance. During the festivals, major cities of Nepal are seen delighted by these dances and music. They have their traditional dress and ornaments. We can still see that it is one of the preserved cultures of Nepal.
Kirants are the aborigine of Himalayas. Their main language is Kiranti. They follow Kiranti Mundhum, Animism, and Hinduism religion. They have their traditional dresses. Kirants might be the very oldest tribes of Nepal. The historical evidence shows that they were one the ruler of Nepal as Kirant dynasty many centuries back. Though influenced by modernization, these are still the preserved tribes from the ancient time.
Kulung have their own Kulung language, culture, history, and tradition. They follow Kiranti as well as Hinduism and Buddhism as their religion.
Kumal was traditionally associated with pottery. Kumal had its unique pottery style, which is now diminishing by the modernized industrial pottery. They speak Kumal language. They have their traditional dance called Pangdure. This community seems to be highly influenced by modernization and is spread only in few numbers.
Pulami is a core caste of Magars. They are further classified as Jhingu and Dhalapi. As they are originated from Magars, their language, traditions, and cultures are almost similar to that of Magars.
Yakkha speaks Tibeto-Burman language. They follow their own cultures and traditions.
Yolmo referred themselves as Hyolmo also. These groups follow Tibetan Buddhism as their religion. They speak the Yolmo language.