Khas people

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Originally the Khas (खस) / Khasas or Khɒsiyas were the mountain dwellers living in the southern shadow of the Himalayan range from Kashmir to Bhutan in the present day countries of Nepal, India (in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and the Darjeeling in West Bengal), and Bhutan. Most modern Khas people will not refer to themselves as Khas, instead referring to themselves by the ethnic or Hindu caste and people having origin in Kashmir,Himachal, Uttrakhand, and West-Nepal - Karnali.(e.g. Brahmins and Chhetri or Thakuri). According to 2011 census of Nepal about 40% of Total population are Khas.[1][dead link]

The Khasas were a warlike tribe who built three capitals over time: Taklakot in Tibet, and Sinja and Dullu in Nepal. From the 11th century, their powerful kingdom, known as the Khas Empire /Malla Empire (not related to the Malla Kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley), grew, covering much of west Nepal, Ladakh, Kashmir and western Tibet. As the empire fell apart during the 14th century, many of the ruling families migrated throughout Nepal.[2] Many common Khas surnames (e.g. Karki, Thapa, Mahat, Basnet, Bisht/Bista, Adhikari, Bhandari, Bhatta, Niroula, Bisht/Bista, Basnet, Khadka, Adhikari, Khatri, Raut/Rawat, Rawal, Rana, Shah, Khatri, Bhandari, Bargali, Pandey, Rajput, Chand, Singh, Malla, Joshi, Kunwar, Sharma, Acharya and Dhami found throughout modern Nepal and Indian states (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Asam and West Bengal) as well as in Bhutan and Myanmar have their roots in the ancient Khas kingdom(Located in current Kashmir, Himachal, Uttrakhand, and North-west Nepal -Karnali). Khas People of Garhwali, Kumaun, North side of Uttrakhand and North-West Nepal speak Garwali bhasa, Kumaon bhasa, Doteli Bhasa and Khas Bhasa respectively. Garhwali, Kumaun bhasa, Doteli Bhasa, and Khas Bhasa are almost same and these language are similar to modern Nepali language. The Khas people of the Dehradun area of Uttrakhand, and Himachal speak Hindi. Khas people of Garhwal, Kumaun, North side of Uttrakhand and North-West Nepal-Karnali area displays almost same behavior and language than Khas people of other parts. Parihar/Pariyar, and Bishwokarma are also considered as Khas people. The Khas language (Khas kura), modern day Nepali, became the national language when the Shah dynasty of Gorkha unified the middle Himalayan region into modern Nepal.[3]


It has been proposed that the Khas people have their origins in Central Asia and migrated to the Himalayan region of southern Asia (Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and western Nepal- Karnali in ancient times. The period of migration remains ambiguous.[4] In Nepal the Khas people first settled around present day Humla and Jumla. The Khasa kings formed the famous Malla Kingdom, which ruled Humla from the eleventh century before collapsing and splintering into local chiefdoms during the fourteenth century.[5]


There is a possibility of Khas to have roots to Central Asia, due to language migration. The word Kazakh was a common term throughout medieval Central Asia, generally with regard to individuals or groups who had taken or achieved independence from a figure of authority.[6]


Main sub castes of the Khas in Nepal

Main titles (surnames) of Khas


In Nepal, there are more than 300 surnames of the Khas people. In the past Khas are believed to have intermarried with Magar and Gurung, so that these and the Khas (Kshetri) have the same surnames. According to Professor Suryamani Adhikari (Tribhuvan University) Khas surnames indicate either post/position/profession held (e.g. Thapa = warrior; Karki = revenue officer etc.) or the place of origin in the Karnali region in far western Nepal (e.g. Sinja = Sijapati; etc.). Thapas or Bhudas were warriors in the historic Khas kingdom of the Karnali region, posts which could be held both by Khas and Magar.

Some similar titles/surname between Khas and native ethnic groups[edit]

  • Gharti (Chhetri and Magar)
  • Khanal (Brahmins)
  • Kadayat (Chhetri)
  • Baral (Brahmins and Magar)
  • Lamichhane (Brahmins, Chhetri,Gurung)
  • Budha (Chhetri and Magar)
  • Thapa (Chhetri and Magar)
  • Rana (Magar and Chhetri)
  • Bista (, Chhetri, Magar)
  • Rokaya (Chhetri and Magar)
  • Khadka (Chhetri and Magar)
  • Budhathoki (Chhetri and Magar)
  • Joshi (Brahmins and Newar)
  • Bhandari (Chhetri and Newar)
  • Sharma (Brahmins and Newar)
  • Acharya (Brahmins and Newar)
  • Vaidya (Brahmins and Newar)
  • Baniya (Chhetri and Newar)
  • Malla (Chhetri and Newar)
  • Shahi (Chhetri and Newar)
  • Singh (Chhetri and Newar)

Notable Khas people[edit]

Khas Bhramin[edit]




Khas Chhetri[edit]



  • Kalu Pande-was the General of the Gorkhali forces during unification campaign. Regarded as a National hero.
  • Bansaraj Pande - was the General of the Nepalese forces and considered as a great warrior. He was the eldest son of Kaji Kalu Pande.
  • Gagan Singh Bhandari - (Commander-in-chief of Queen Laxmidevi, favourite wife of king Rajendra Bikram, whose suspicious murder led to the Kot massacre in Nepal)
  • Abhiman Singh Basnyat -first commander-in-chief of united Nepal


  • Rajesh Hamal - Nepali Actor
  • Priyanka Karki - Nepali Actress
  • Saugat Malla - Nepali Actor

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ url= Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal
  2. ^ Burghart, Richard (1984). "The Formation of the Concept of Nation-State in Nepal". The Journal of Asian Studies 44 (01): 101–125. doi:10.2307/2056748. 
  3. ^ Toba, Sueyoshi; Toba, Ingrid; Rai, Novel Kishore; Pathak, Lekhnath Sharma (2005). Diversity and Endangerment of Languages in Nepal (PDF) (UNESCO Kathmandu Series of Monographs and Working Papers: No 7 ed.). Kathmandu: UNESCO Kathmandu. 
  4. ^ Witzel, Dr. Michael (1976). "On the History and the Present State of Vedic Tradition in Nepal". Vasudha 15 (12): 17–24; 35–39. 
  5. ^ Kelly, Thomas L.; Dunham, V. Carroll (March 2001). Hidden Himalayas (PDF). New York: Abbeville Press. ISBN 9780789207227. 
  6. ^ Centralizing Reform and Its Opponents in the Late Timurid Period Maria Eva Subtelny. Iranian Studies. Vol. 21, No. 1/2, Soviet and North American Studies on Central Asia (1988), pp. 123–151