News & Views

Federalism by Jill CottrellFederalism Issues in Designing a Federal System by Jill Cottrell in english language Download Powerpoint file Read more

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



In Nepal, Bhutias/Bhotes are spread from Mahakali in the far west to the Kanchanjunga Range in the extreme east. They are found in Bajura and Darchula of the far western development region, and also in Humla, Dolpa, Surkhet and Mugu in the mid-Western region as well as in Mustang, Manang, Kaski and Tanahu of western region, and finally in the Himalayan heights of the middle regions and the east. They are also found in towns and large cities in the mid-ranges. In general, Bhutias are those people who do not belong to any of the particular or distinct stocks of indigenous people of the Nepal Himalaya. They resemble Tibetans in most of their ways of living. However, their statistics are not yet properly maintained. Trade and animal husbandry are the main occupations of the Bhutias. According to 2001 census, their population is 19,261.

ImageLiving primarily in the northern mountainous region of the country from Mahakali in the west to Kanchenjunga in the east are the indigenous people Bhote. The Bhote, named after the place they inhabit, ie Bhot, are influenced by Tibetan dress, language and culture. Limpa, Yulsodumpa, Nupriba, Hum, Ningba, Changpa, etc are the various Bhote communities. Although all of those who came from Bhot or are influenced by it are Bhote, given that there are various indigenous peoples living in the area, the different groups are known by their own respective names. The Bhote are indigenous to the Himalayan region. Some of them, however, have come seeking refuge from the political and religious suppression in Tibet. They are historical migrants (Lama, BS2052).
The Bhote are scattered in the districts of Bajura, Darchula, Humla, Dolpa, Surkhet, Mugu, Mustang, Manang, Kaski, Tanahun, Dhankuta, etc. They are found not only in the northern mountainous region but also in the markets of the midhills. In India also they are spread from the east to the west. They are known as Bhotiya in India. The population of Bhote in Nepal, according to the census of 2001, is 19,261.

The cultural and religious traditions of Bhote are under the leadership of the Lamas of monasteries and Ghyang, which are based on the Bonpo and Buddhist religions popular in Tibet. The newborn is named between five and eleven days. The lama does not have a very significant role to play in marriage. The common type of marriage is the love marriage. The death rites last for forty-nine days. All the brothers have to live together under one roof. There is no discrimination among the Bhote on the basis of ethnicity. The dead are usually buried. Coming down to lower altitudes in winter and travelling to higher altitudes in summer is a regular activity of the Bhote. The Bhote today have started to come into contact with the outside world following the development of tourism.
The social system of Bhote is based on the tradition of joint family. The Lama of monasteries are the leaders of Bhote society. Those who can drink home-brewed beer from the same pot and tea from the same bowl (Phuru) and those who cannot do so indicates social status among the Bhote. There is the practice among Bhote of one brother becoming a monk and also of polyandry (Sharma, BS2045). As the Bhote live in difficult geographical conditions, the social customs and practices vary from village to village. But in essence the customs and practices of Tibetan society also prevail among the Bhotes.

The Buddhist religion is an integral social and cultural part of Bhote society. Making of monasteries and lighting of lamps uninterruptedly in monasteries, worshipping of Guru Rinpoche Padma Sambhav, Shakyamuni, Gautam Buddha as well as the Bodhisatva, believing in incarnate lamas, beautifying of religious shrines (Ghyang) with frescoes, statues and prayer flags, making of prayer wheels (Mane), playing of musical instruments, and singing and dancing in festivals like Lhosar are the religious activities of Bhote.

The language of Bhote is the Tibetan language, and they speak both the modern Tibetan language and the old Tibetan language. There is variation in the language of the east and west in keeping with the difference in locations. The occupation of Bhote is animal husbandry in the north and trade and business in the south. They also grow barley, millet, potato, etc. They keep yak, sheep, goat and horse for carrying load. Another activity of Bhote is weaving carpets and making clothes like Chhera and Bakkhu to wear. Nowadays, providing of service to tourists has also become one of their occupations.

Go Back  
Advance Search