|Regions with significant populations|
|Central Bhutan (Zhemgang, Trongsa, Mongar)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Bumthang, Ngalop, Sharchops|
The Kheng people are an ethnic group of Bhutan, found primarily in the Zhemgang, Trongsa and Mongar Districts of south-central Bhutan. They speak the Kheng language, a member of the extended Tibetan language family; the closest related language appears to be the Bumthang language to the north. By all accounts the Kheng are more closely related to the people of central Bhutan than they are to their neighbors in eastern Bhutan, who are primarily Sharchops. The Kheng still retain special trade relations with the Bumthangpo, including providing winter pasture rights for Bumthang yaks. SIL International estimates there are 50,000 Kheng speakers.
Kheng also refers to the ancient small kingdoms in this area which were autonomous fiefs prior to the unification of Bhutan in the 17th century.
Like most of Bhutan, the Kheng are devoted followers of Tibetan Buddhism and their cultural practices typically mirror those of the dominant Ngalop people culture of the country. The term "Ngalop" may subsume several related linguistic and cultural groups, such as the Kheng people and speakers of Bumthang language.
- Dema, Tashi (2008-02-14). "Kheng faces acute shortage of Dzongkha teachers". Kuensel online. Retrieved 2011-04-12.