From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Regions with significant populations
Ladakhi, Sherpa, Standard Tibetan and other Tibetic languages,[1] also Nepali and Hindi
Related ethnic groups
Bhutia, Tibetan, Uttarakhand Bhotiya, Ngalop, Tshangla people
A senior official in Sikkim, ethnic Bhotiya, 1938

Bhotiya or Bhot (Nepali: भोटिया, Bhotiyā) is an Indian and Nepali exonym lumping together various ethnic groups speaking Tibetic languages, as well as some groups speaking other Tibeto-Burman languages living in the Transhimalayan region that divides India from Tibet. The word Bhotiya comes from the classical Tibetan name for Tibet, བོད, bod. The Bhotiya speak numerous languages including Ladakhi. The Indian recognition of such language is Bhoti / Bhotia having Tibetan scripts and it lies in the Parliament of India to become one of the official languages through Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.


Bhotia, trans-Himalayan, Sikhim

The Bhotiya identify as Raghuvanshi Rajput and prefer to be referred as Thakur or Rajvanshi. The Bhotiya may be the original immigrants to north Oudh in the period of Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah (1775 to 1797).[2]

The Bhotiya people are closely related to several other groups and ethnic boundaries are porous.[3]: 56  One group is the Bhutia, the main ethnolinguistic group of the northern part of the Indian state of Sikkim. A second is the Uttarakhand Bhotiya of the upper Himalayan valleys of the Kumaon and the Garhwal divisions of Uttarakhand. These include the Shauka tribe of Kumaon, the Tolchhas and the Marchhas of Garhwal, Gyagar Khampa of Khimling, Bhidang. A third related group are the Dzongkha speaking Ngalop people, the main ethnolinguistic group of Bhutan. The Bhotiya are also related to several dispersed groups in Nepal and the adjacent areas of India including the Tibetans and Sherpas.

In Nepal, Bhotiya is 0.1 percent of the population. They live in villages throughout the Himalayas.[3]: 377 


The language of the Bhotiya people is called "Bhoti" or "Bhotia", but is in fact a cover term for a wide variety of Tibeto-Burman languages spoken in India. It is usually written in the Tibetan alphabet.[4] Bhoti and Bhotia is spoken in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, and parts of Pakistan and West Bengal. Bhoti is not included in the languages with official status in India. On 27 February 2011, however, a resolution introduced by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, for the inclusion of the language[which?] in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India passed without opposition.[citation needed]


The Bhotiya, tribe people are native (indigenous) people belonging to Himalayan Belt. In Nepal they live in the northern and eastern regions of Nepal, where they and other Tibetans are the region's autochthonous (indigenous) people.[5] By the 2001 census of Nepal, they number 27,230.[6][nb 1] The Bhotiya also live in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. In Uttar Pradesh, the Bhotiya live in the Bahraich, Gonda, Lakhimpur, Lucknow, Barabanki, Kanpur Nagar, Kanpur Dehat, and Kheri districts.

Bhotiya have six recognizable sub-groups: the Bhot, Bhotiya, the Bhutia of Sikkim, the Tibbati (of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh), the Bhut, the Gyakar Khampa of Khimling, Bhidang of Uttarakhand.

In the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh, the Bhotiya people have Scheduled Tribe status.

In Uttarakhand, the Bhotiya are a Scheduled Tribe under the "Schedule caste order 1950, the constitutional Scheduled tribe (Uttar Pradesh) 1967 SC/ST." The Constitution of India recognizes the Bhotiya.



Bhotiya marriages are similar to Hindu weddings. When the bride's palanquin arrives at her husband's house, gods are worshipped and then she is admitted to the house. Rice, silver or gold is put in the hands of the bridegroom, which he passes on to the bride. She places them in a winnowing fan, and hands them as a present to the wife of the barber. This ceremony is known as Karj Bharna. A man may have not more than three wives. The first wife is the head wife, and she inherits an additional one tenth of the husband's estate.


The Bhotiyas have distinctive funerary traditions. Young children who die of cholera or snakebite are buried while others are cremated. There is no fixed burial ground, and no ceremonies are performed at the time of burial. The wealthy keep the ashes for lowal to several streams, while others bury them. After cremation, a stalk of kusha (grass) is fixed in the ground near a tank of water and sesamum is poured on it for ten days. This makes it a refuge for the deceased's spirit until the rites are completed.


Bhotiya Tribe, the natives of the Himalayan belt are maximum Buddhist followers along with followers of other religions.(The word Bhotiya is derived from the word Bhot, the ancient name for "Tibet.) Ancestor worship is prevalent.


In Uttarakhand, particularly Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi, the Bhotiya are semi-nomadic, migratory pastoralists, moving about the border lands between India and Tibet.[7]

They are also traders in the Himilayas for products such as cereal, wool, and salt. Now, some are farmers and others are merchants of stones, gems, and herbs.[5]

The Bhotiya are experienced in the use of medicinal plants.[8] The local fermented beverages are jan (a local beer), and daru. A local fermented food stuff is sez. The traditional catalyzing agent used in the preparation of fermented foods and beverages is called balam in the Kumaon Division and balma in Garhwal Division.[9]

A cottage wool industry employs many Bhotiya. Women weave pattu, a coarse woolen serge. Plants are collected to make natural dyes for coloring the wool.[10]

Bhotiya people in Nepal[edit]

The Central Bureau of Statistics of Nepal classifies the Bhotiya (called Bhote in the Nepal census) as a subgroup within the broader social group of Mountain/Hill Janajati.[11] At the time of the 2011 Nepal census, 13,397 people (0.1% of the population of Nepal) were Bhotiya. The frequency of Bhotiya people by province was as follows:

The frequency of Bhotiya people was higher than national average (0.1%) in the following districts:[12]


  1. ^ Includes Bhote (19,261) and Bote (7,969).


  1. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2009). "Sikkimese". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16 ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-16., identifying several language communities as "Bhotiya" and similarly
  2. ^ Crooke, William (1896). The Tribes and Castes of the North-western Provinces and Oudh. Vol. 3. Office of the superintendent of government printing. pp. 134, 255–257.
  3. ^ a b Gellner D. et al (ed.) "Nationalism and Ethnicity in a Hindu Kingdom: The Politics and Culture of Contemporary Nepal." Routledge, 2012 ISBN 1136649565, 9781136649561. Accessed at Google Books 23 November 2015.
  4. ^ Gohain, Swargajyoti (2012). "Mobilising language, imagining region:Use of Bhoti in West Arunachal Pradesh". Contributions to Indian Sociology. 46 (3): 337–363. CiteSeerX doi:10.1177/006996671204600304. S2CID 143169828. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Shrestha, Nanda R. (2002). Nepal and Bangladesh: a global studies handbook. Global Studies Handbooks. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-285-1.
  6. ^ Singh, R. S. N. (2010). The Unmaking of Nepal. Lancer. pp. 145–146. ISBN 978-1-935501-28-2.
  7. ^ "The Social Economy of the Himalayans: Based on a Survey in the Kumaon Himalayas." Mittal Publications 1988 p51 Accessed at Google Books 23 November 2015.
  8. ^ Kala, C. P. (2007). "Local preferences of ethnobotanical species in the Indian Himalaya: Implications for environmental conservation". Current Science. 93 (12): 1828–1834.
  9. ^ Kala, C.P. (2012). Biodiversity, Communities and Climate Change. New Delhi: TERI Publications. p. 358.
  10. ^ Kala, C.P. (2002). "Indigenous knowledge of Bhotiya tribal community on wool dyeing and its present status in the Garhwal Himalaya, India". Current Science. 83 (7): 814–817.
  11. ^ Population Monograph of Nepal, Volume II [1]
  12. ^ 2011 Nepal Census, District Level Detail Report