Gurung people

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Gurung Ghatu Dance in Tamu Lhosar festival
Total population
Tamu kyi, Manangi,(Mustangi) Loki, Seke, Nepali
Buddhism, Bon, Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
Tamang, Thakali and Sherpa

The Gurung people, also called Tamu, are an ethnic group in the hills and mountains of Gandaki Province of Nepal.[1] They live in the Mustang, Kaski, Lamjung, Parbat, Dolpo, Syangja, and Dhading districts of Nepal, with a population of 522,641 people as of 2011. They are also scattered across India in Sikkim, Assam, Delhi, West Bengal (Darjeeling area).[2] They speak the Sino-Tibetan Gurung language also known as Tamu kyi.


According to their legend, the Gurung were a wandering tribe that traversed west across Tibet prior to their entry into Mustang. Their Tibetan Sojourn pre-dates the introduction of Buddhism there in the 7th century as the Gurung religious traditions are basically animistic. They celebrate their feasts and festivals and carry out the ceremonies and practices related to worship, birth, death and marriage in accordance with the Bon and Buddhist religion.

Losar is the main and biggest festival of the Gurung, it is observed as a New Year at the end of December, according to the ancient calendar of western Tibet. Their main occupation is animal husbandry, including the raising of sheep and hunting. The Gurung are also known for serving in the British army and are renowned as Gorkha soldiers.[3]

Gurung (Ghale) village (Manang)

Geographical distribution[edit]


At the time of the 2011 Nepal census, 522,641 people (2.0% of the population of Nepal) identified as Gurung. The frequency of the Gurung people was higher than national average in the following districts: Manang (52.4%), Lamjung (31.3%), Mustang (21.4%), Gorkha (16.7%), Kaski (16.6%), Tanahun (11.5%), Syangja (9.0%), Dolpa (7.1%), Chitwan (6.8%), Dhading (5.5%), Sankhuwasabha (5.4%), Taplejung (4.6%), Parbat (3.7%), Rasuwa (3.1%), Tehrathum (2.9%), Ilam (2.9%), Kathmandu (2.6%), Nawalparasi (2.4%) and Rupandehi (2.0%).[4]


Priestly practitioners of the Gurung Dharma include Bon Lam (Lama), Ghyabri (Ghyabring) and Pachyu (Paju).[5] Shamanistic elements among the Gurungs remain strong and most Gurungs often embrace Buddhist and Bön rituals in communal activities.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ragsdale, T.A. (1990). "Gurungs, Goorkhalis, Gurkhas: speculations on a Nepalese ethno-history" (PDF). Contributions to Nepalese Studies. 17 (1): 1–24.
  2. ^ Central Bureau of Statistics (2012). National Population and Housing Census 2011 (PDF). Kathmandu: Government of Nepal.
  3. ^ "Indigenous Peoples -Gurung". Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  4. ^ 2011 Nepal Census, Social Characteristics Tables
  5. ^ von Fürer-Haimendorf, Christoph (1985). Tribal populations and cultures of the Christianity from Thai. Vol. 2. Brill Publishers. pp. 137–8. ISBN 90-04-07120-2. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
  6. ^ Robert Gordon Latham (1859). Descriptive Ethnology. Vol. I. London: John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row. pp. 80–82.
  7. ^ Mumford, Stanley Royal (1989). Himalayan Dialogue: Tibetan Lamas and Gurung Shamans in Nepal. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 30–32. ISBN 0-299-11984-X.

Further reading[edit]

  • P. T. Sherpa Kerung, Susan Höivik (2002). Nepal, the Living Heritage: Environment and Culture. University of Michigan: Kathmandu Environmental Education Project.
  • William Brook Northey (1998). The Land of the Gurkhas, or, The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-1329-5.
  • Murārīprasāda Regmī (1990). The Gurungs, Thunder of Himal: A Cross Cultural Study of a Nepalese Ethnic Group. University of Michigan: Nirala Publications.

External links[edit]