The Darkhad (Mongol: Дархад, lit. "untouchables" or protected by the church or "handicraftsmen" for Darkhan) is a subgroup of Mongol people living mainly in northern Mongolia. They living mainly in the Bayanzürkh, Ulaan-Uul, Renchinlkhümbe, and Tsagaannuur sums of Khövsgöl Province. The Darkhad valley is named after them. The regional variant of Mongol language is the Darkhad dialect.
The Darkhad were originally part of the Oirat or Khotgoid tribes. Between 1549 and 1686, they were subjects of Zasagt Khan aimag and the Khotgoid Altan Khan. In 1786 they became part of the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu's shabi otog. At roughly the same time they became known as Black Darkhad.
Many Darkhad practise shamanism. In the 2000 census, 16,268 people identified themselves as Darkhad.
- ^ National Census 2010
- ^ Grollova I. and Zikmundova V., Mongolians the great grandchildren of Chinggiskhan, Triton, Prague 2001