Thakali : The Indigenous Inhabitant of Himalayan Nepal


The 13 villages in the southern part of Mustang district are known as Thakkhola, Thasang or Thak Satsay. This is the ancestral home of the Thakali tribals. About two thousand Thakalis live in this area. The indigenous people living in this place now known as Thasang are called Thakali. The Thakalis are culturally, educationally and economically prosperous compared to other indigenous tribes in Nepal.

The Thakalis, who have an original language, culture, customs and history, used to refer to the Thasang region as ‘Tha’, which means coast or frontier region. The caste living in that area was also called ‘Thawa’ or ‘Thakpa’. When they talked to each other, they used to call each other Tamhang to identify each other. The region was located west-south of the Tibetan capital and was considered to be a dark place where the voting civilization, especially Buddhism, could not reach the knowledge and enlightenment.

Commonly known as Thakali, Tamhang Thakali includes Chyogi, Dhimchan and Bhurgi. It has been known by the names of Gauchan, Sherchan and Bhattachan since the beginning of the 20th century. At present, the Thakalis migrate from their ancestral hometown Thasangka 13 villages and live in different parts of Nepal. According to the 2068 BS census, the population of Thakalis is 13,215.

Tradition in Thakali

The traditional or customary institution of the Thakali Adivasis is called the Tehramukhiya system. The Tehramukhiya practice or system in the 13 village areas of Thasang prepares the entire Thakali community in all aspects including judicial, administrative, economic, social, their rights and the necessary policies, rules and regulations for the development of the village.

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In the same way, in order to perform all the rituals from birth to death according to the basic system, according to the rituals, all the policies are included, guided and operated by the same trinity.

Lha Phewa is a big festival of the tired. This festival is also called the 12-year fair. During the full moon of the month of Fagun, the Thakalis consider Tornalha as another great festival. They believe in both Bon religion and Buddhism. Thakalis have four surnames. Chayoki (Gauchan), Salki (Tulachan), Dhimchen (Sherchan) and Bhurki (Bhattachan) are their surnames.

Language of Thakali

The language of the Thakalis is called ‘Thakali language’. Thakali Jhankri utters mantras in Thakali language. He also sings in Thakali language during festivals and on various occasions. This language belongs to the Bhote-Burmese language family. There are about five thousand speakers of this language. 0+ This language is spoken in different parts of Nepal.

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