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संघीय प्रणाली प्रारुपका सवालहरुFederalism Issues in Designing a Federal System by Jill Cottrell in Nepali language Read more

Janajati

Walung

The Walung stronghold is the Olangchungola area at the top of the Tamor River in the district of Taplejung. Olangchungola is locally known as Walung, which is comprised of the five major settlements of Olangchungola, Yangma, Ghunsa, Lungthung, Lelep and other six or seven minor inhabitations. Trade is the major occupation of Walungs. Their religion, language, dress and social patterns are Tibetan in derivation. Walung has a great monastery. The Futuk festival relives the scenes of the battle between the Gyabo of Maksum and the Gyabo of Thudam. Walungs celebrate with great fervor the social and religious festivals of Lhosar, Neso, Futuk, Sakadawa, Dhukpachhesi and Ngyungnay. Their population, according to Census 2001, is 1,448.

The inhabitants of Olangchung Gola and the villages surrounding it are known as Walung. The region of upper Tamor valley near the source of the Tamor River is called by outsiders Olangchung, while the Walung themselves call it Holung or Walung. Gola means a market. As those living in Walung are slightly different as a group from the inhabitants of the adjoining areas of Nepal and Tibet, they have been regarded as a separate indigenous people. Although much of the culture and way of life of Walung are similar to those of the inhabitants living to the north of them, they also have their own specialties.

The Walungs live in five large villages of Olangchung Gola, Yangma, Ghunsa, Lungthung and Lelep as well as in six or seven other small villages. Among these villages, the largest settlement is Olangchung Gola itself. The villages are in the northernmost region of Taplejung district, and to the west of the villages are Thudam and Topke Gola. The population of Olangchung Gola itself, however, was 1,292 in the 1991 census. The people of the region estimate that there are altogether 500 houses of Walung.

The language and script of Walungs like the other inhabitants of the northern region resemble those of the Tibetans, and the Tibetan language and script are prevalent among the Walungs. The birth, death, marriage and other ceremonies of Walungs are similar to the indigenous peoples living around them. The Walungs do not practise polygamy nor do they have the practice of polyandry. They, however, have the practice of the youngest brother marrying the widow of the eldest brother. As the Walung intermarry with the inhabitants living to the north of them in Tibet, the practice of polyandry is not a necessity among them. There is the practice of the son-in-law living in his in-laws' house among Walungs. The ceremonies following death like the lama reading sacred text over the dead body for three days, beautifying the body, burying it and other related customs of Walungs are similar to those of other indigenous peoples of the Himalayas. The houses of Walung are made of stone and wood. The ground floor is used for keeping things, and the upper floor is used for living purposes, with a separate guestroom. The dress and food habits of Walung are similar to thosee of the Sherpas.

The Walungs traditionally had a local administrative post of Gobha to look into the various local administrative affairs of society, including the paying of the stipulated amount to the government. The practice of having the post of Gobha began two hundred years ago. The Gobha had an assistant called Majhiya to help him in his affairs. The post of Gobha is no longer found today. There are three kinds of people in Walung society: the earliest inhabitants, Shiwa, and those who came after them, Phedajma, and the low class Longme. The Shiwa have traditionally wielded the highest authority among Walung. However, all the three subgroups of Walung adhere to the same religion (Sharma, BS2045:?).The Walung follow the old Buddhist religion. They worship the Avalokiteshwara, who is known as Cherisi. The Walung also revere Padmasambhava. Along with a 90-ft tall monastery, there are many monasteries in villages. The Walungs celebrate Lhosar, and they also celebrate the festival known as Phutuk. During the Phutuk festival, masked dancers enact various scenes, including a scene depicting a battle between the local Maksum Gyabo and the Gyabo of neighbouring Thudam area. Neso, Sakadaba, Dhukpachhesi, Ngyungne, etc are some of the other festivals celebrated amidst much merrymaking (Ukyab and Adhikari, BS2057:60). The fire in a local monastery that has been burning uninterruptedly for the last four hundred years is a specialty of Olangchung Gola.

Although in the northern mountainous region, the area inhabited by Walungs is not an area without physical facilities; so, the Walungs are engaged in business and trade as well as farming and they lead a comfortable life. As the area is on the trade route to Tibet, the main occupation of Walung is business and trade. Business and trade are carried out from here with the Sar, Riyu and Tingse settlements and markets of Tibet (Thapa, 1998), which are just at a distance of 10 km. The Walungs are also skilled in business and trade with third countries. They raise livestock like yak, horse and sheep and grow crops like barley, wheat and potato in the areas of Lungthung, Yangma, Ghunsa, etc. There is a special hold over land of the upper class Shiwa (seven families), followed by the Phedajma and Longme. There is, however, no corresponding monopoly of any particular subgroup over trade and business.

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