Sunwar people

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कोइँच (सुनुवार)
Sunuwar-Koich-Puki 02.jpg
Kirati Sunuwar
Total population
Approximately 100,000 (2012 estimation)
Sunuwar, Nepali

Predominantly Kiranti, Hinduism, Buddhism

A greeting in Sunuwar
Sunuwar Udhauli at Nakhipot, Lalitpur, Nepal 6 Dec. 2014
Selected ethnic groups of Nepal: Kiranti; Sunuwar;Limbu; Rai; Yakha; Sunuwar

The Sunuwar(Nepali: सुनुवार जाति) is an indigenous tribe from Nepal and some areas of India. The majority of this tribe follow the Kirant religion and adopt the Mundhum (Kiranti) culture. They speak the Sunuwar language. Hinduism and Christianity also have some influence. According to the 2001 census of Nepal, only 17.4% were Kirant.[1]

The Kiranti-Kõinchs number 96,254. The term ‘Kõinchs’ is also the name of the mother tongue. Other terms like Mukhiya or Mukhia are exonyms of the tribe. There is another common teasing name (mainly given by outsiders) of the tribe coined from the Sunuwar language itself, e.g. Maaraapaache (lexically maar ‘what’ and patsaa ‘to do’, from when the speakers ask themselves maar patsaa? when in a dilemma). Sunuwar have their distinct language, religion, culture and social customs.
They inhabit the eastern hills of Nepal and Himalayan Indina. They are concentrated along the Molung Khola, Likhu Khola and Khimti Khola (‘Khola’ Indo-Aryan Nepali etymon ‘rivulet’) regions. By administrative division, they dwell in Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap and Dolakha districts of Nepal, politically known as Wallo (‘Near/Hither’), Kirant (in the past and also in use among the Kirantis at present) after the fall of the Kirant dynasty (ruling for about 1903 years and 8 months) at the ancient Nepal valley. Wallo Kirant in the past was their Kipat or communal land. Their migration (mainly to the east) later took place in several parts of the country in Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Taplejung, Terathum, Sunsari, Sindhuli, Kathmandu and other districts and abroad to places such as Darjeeling, Sikkim, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.


Most Sunuwar practice agriculture (approximately 55%) throughout the eastern hills of present-day Nepal. Crop cultivation and cattle farming (Rice, Millet, Wheat, Soybean, Potato, and Corn) are the main agricultural works. Sunuwar people also took part in the Second World War and were known as brave Gorkhali fighters as welll as honest. Some Sunuwar still join the Nepal Army, Indian Army, Singapore Police Force and British Gurkha Army. Due to limited opportunities within the nation, people with education go abroad for work. Attractive salaries and facilities in other countries motivate these people to seek jobs abroad. Only few Sunuwar people are involved in the government service and private sectors in Nepal.

Traditional cultures[edit]

Sunuwar are very in rich culture and traditions. They have hundreds of traditional feasts and festivals with complex rituals and rules. Every traditional feast or festival has its own objectives, characteristics and system of celebration. Some festivals such as Chandi Dance in (Baisakh Purnima), Sakela (Shyadar-Pidar), Gil puja (Gil-Pidar), Meserani puja (Meserani-Pidar) etc. are considered more important among the others. They celebrate Shyadar-pidar festival on the Day of Buddha Purnima or after 5 days of Buddha Purnima(Panchami) according to the Nepali calendar. Sunuwar New year is celebrated on the day of Basanta Panchami. As a community, they celebrate Meserani Pidar twice a year, based on the Lunar Calendar.

Sunuwar Song (Koich Kumsho)[edit]

Sunuwari Song: Reuhita Ragimshumshaa

Kirant Kings[edit]

The 29 Kirat kings were as follows:

  1. Yalamber 2. Pavi 3. Skandhar 4. Balamba 5. Hriti 6. Humati 7. Jitedasti 8. Galinja 9. Pushka 10. Suyarma 11. Papa 12. Bunka 13. Swananda 14. Sthunko 15. Jinghri 16. Nane 17. Luka 18. Thor 19. Thoko 20 Verma 21. Guja 22. Pushkar 23. Keshu 24. Suja 25. Sansa 26. Gunam 27. Khimbu 28. Patuka 29. Gasti


See also[edit]

Place of Sunuwari (Koichi) Language


  1. ^