Tamang people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tamang Girl
Total population
c. 1.8 million[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
West Bengal146,203 (2011)[2]
Sikkim37,609 (2011)[3]
Buddhism (87.29%), Hinduism (8.88%), Christianity (3.6%), Bon and Prakriti (0.02%)[4]
Related ethnic groups
Tibetan people, Daman people, Qiang, Gurung, Sherpa, Bhotiya, Thakali
Tamang people
Tibetan name

The Tamang (རྟ་དམག་; Devanagari: तामाङ; tāmāṅ), are a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group of Nepal, Southern Bhutan and North India. In Nepal, Tamang people constituted 5.6% of the Nepalese population at over 1.3 million in 2001, increasing to 1,539,830 as of the 2011 census.[5] The Tamang people are concentrated in the central hilly region of Nepal.[6] Indian Tamangs are found in significant numbers in the state of Sikkim and the districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal state. Bhutanese Tamangs are native to various districts in the southern foothills of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Such districts include the Tsirang District, the Dagana District, the Samtse District, the Chukha District, the Sarpang District and the Samdrup Jongkhar District.[7] Tamang language is the fifth most-spoken language in Nepal.[8]


Tamang may have been derived from the Tibetan word Tamang, where Ta means "horse" and Mak means "warrior" in Tibetan. However, there are no written documentations of Horse Riders. Some scientific research claims the Tamangs have Pand Genetic roots with tibetan.[9]


Historical accounts show that the Tamang ethnic group originated in Tibet. The word "Ta" in the Tibetan language means horse, and "Mang" means traders; hence, their original way of life evolved around horses and trade.[10] The Tamangs, who have lived on hills outside the Kathmandu Valley to the southern slopes of Langtang, Ganesh, Jugal Himal and Rolwaling probably since prehistoric times, have been mentioned in various Nepalese and colonial historical records under a variety of names, such as Bhote, Lama, Murmi, Sain, some of which terms erroneously conflate the Tamangs with Uighurs.[11] The Tibetans called them Rongpa.[12]

Various Gorkha rulers led campaigns against the indigenous Tamangs. The Gorkha Vamsavali provides details of battles with the Bhotyas of a variety of principalities between 1806 and 1862. In 1739, a ruler named Ghale-Botya attacked Narabhupal Shah as he was marching towards Nuwakot, and Narabhupal Shah also fought several battles against Golma Ghale. In 1762, Prithvi Narayan Shah attacked the Tamangs in Temal, the Tamang cultural heartland. Tamang oral history says that the local chief, Rinjen Dorje, was killed by the Gorkhas. Gorkhali forces had hidden their weapons in the sand on the Sunkoshi riverbank in order to attack the Tamang forces. Afterwards, the Gorkhas washed their weapons in springs at Dapcha Kuwapani, and this is why the modern-day Tamangs do not drink there. Similar stories appear in oral histories throughout the region.[13]

After the attack on the Tamang region, their traditional homeland area, known as kipat to the Gorkhas, was granted to Gorkha generals or government officials who had pleased the king in some way, displacing the Tamangs from kipat lands. Previously Tamang landholdings had been divided up by clan. Tamangs also had various forced labour obligations, both in times of peace and war, that differed significantly from other regions of Nepal. One reason is the proximity of the Tamang homeland to the centre of royal administration at Kathmandu.[13]

Tamangs were also involved in the Sino-Nepalese War (1788 to 1792). (Nepali: नेपाल-चीन युद्ध), also known as the Sino-Gorkha war and in Chinese the Campaign of Gorkha (Chinese: 廓爾喀之役).The war was initially fought between Nepalese Gorkhas and Tibetan armies over a trade dispute related to a long-standing problem of low-quality coins manufactured by Nepal for Tibet. A few hundred eventually settled in Tibet, they are known as Daman people in China. Previously stateless, since 2003 the Chinese government has classified them as ethnic Tibetans.[14][15][16]

Political participation[edit]

Some ethnographers have drawn a link between Tamang people and ancient Mongol populations who emigrated to the Himalayas.[17] Tamsaling Nepal Rastriya Dal.


Tamang tradition and culture include a distinct language, culture, dress and social structure. They have over 100 sub-clans. About 90% of the Tamang people are Buddhist.[18] Their language, Tamang, comes from the Tamangic branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family, and is closely related to Gurung. They follow the Chinese lunar calendar of the 12-year cycle. Colorful printed Buddhist mantra cloths are put up in various places in villages and towns.[5]

Their typical song and dance style is known as Tamang Selo, and includes songs representing humor, satire, joy and sorrow. It has a brisk movement and rhythmic beat specific to the Tamangs.[7] A distinctive musical instrument is the damphu, a small, round drum covered with goatskin. Traditional Tamang songs are known as Hwai. Sung by Tamang genealogists called Tamba, Hwai songs are ritualistic and hold tremendous importance in Tamang rituals.[19]

People dancing in Sonam Lhosar (Tamang New Year) celebration


Sonam Lhosar is the main festival of the Tamangs and is celebrated in the month of Magh (February–March).[20] It is celebrated to welcome the Tamang new year.

Also significant is Buddha Jayanti, a religious festival based on birthday of Gautam Buddha.[9]

Tamang people in Nepal[edit]

The 2011 Nepal census classifies the Tamang people within the broader social group of Mountain/Hill Janajati.[21] At the time of the Nepal census of 2011, 1.539,830 people (5.8% of the population of Nepal) were Tamang. The frequency of Tamang people by province was as follows:

The frequency of Tamang people was higher than national average (5.8%) in the following districts:[22]

Surnames of families/clans in Tamang[edit]

  • Bajyu
  • Bal
  • Baldong
  • Bamten
  • Blenden
  • Blon
  • Bamjan
  • Brangdong
  • Brasingar
  • Chakengochumi
  • Chelengate
  • Chhekapala
  • Chhyoimi
  • Chimkan
  • Chhoden
  • Chyapangkhor
  • Damarang
  • Daratang
  • Dimdong
  • Dan
  • Dong
  • Dongpa
  • Dosing
  • Dumjan
  • Pheuwa
  • Galden
  • Gangtang
  • Gemsing
  • Gyawaten
  • Ghale
  • Ghising
  • Ghunsade
  • Ghunsaden
  • Glan
  • Gole
  • Gombyo
  • Gomden
  • Gomja
  • Gonden
  • Gongwa
  • Gongbo
  • Gongso
  • Gothar
  • Grangdan
  • Grangden
  • Gromba
  • Grom
  • Gropchan
  • Gyaba
  • Gyabten
  • Gyamdan
  • Gyamden
  • Gyangtang
  • Gyomacho
  • Hen
  • Himdung
  • Hopten
  • Jimba
  • Jogna
  • Jongan
  • Jumi
  • Kagate
  • Kalden
  • Kamewa
  • Kamden
  • Khanikhor
  • Khyulpa
  • Khyungwa
  • Kolden
  • Komdan
  • Lala
  • Lamagonju
  • Lamakhor
  • Lo
  • Laminkhor
  • Lopchan
  • Lungba
  • Lungpa
  • Mahendong
  • Mamba
  • Manangthen
  • Manden
  • Marpa
  • Mensing
  • Mikchan
  • Mitak
  • Moden
  • Mokchan
  • Moktan
  • Mulung
  • Myalpa
  • Najung
  • Negi
  • Ngake
  • Ngarwa
  • Ngarden
  • Ngilpa
  • Ngongcho
  • Ngyojo
  • Ngyachen
  • Nyasur
  • Nyarwa
  • Ngyongdong
  • Palden
  • Pajuten
  • Pakhrin
  • Palchoke
  • Pangboten
  • Pangten
  • Phewa
  • Prabhuwa
  • Rampod
  • Rimten
  • Rumba
  • Sai
  • Samden
  • Sangri
  • Sarwakhor
  • Sengjewa
  • Senten
  • Swangwo
  • Syangree
  • Syorten
  • Singan
  • Singgar
  • Singtan
  • Suktan
  • Subba
  • Syamjan
  • Syangjuwa
  • Syangtan
  • Sayangdan
  • Syanten
  • Syongtan
  • Syorten
  • Thangten
  • Thing
  • Thokar
  • Titung
  • Toibara
  • Toisang
  • Tongyar
  • Tunba
  • Tupa
  • Waiba
  • Walim
  • Yosadin
  • Yonjan

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Census Nepal caste-ethnicity results 2021".
  2. ^ "Population of West Bengal 2011".
  3. ^ "Population of Sikkim 2011".
  4. ^ Population monograph of Nepal (PDF). Vol. II (Social Demography). ISBN 978-9937-2-8972-6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-12-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Census Nepal 2021". censusnepal.cbs.gov.np. Retrieved 2022-12-26.
  7. ^ a b Sadangi, H. C. (November 2008). Emergent North-East: A Way Forward. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8205-437-0. Archived from the original on 2016-04-27. Retrieved 2015-12-23. Emergent North-East : A Way Forward By H. C. Sadangi
  8. ^ "Report on Socio-Economic Status of Tamang–Kavre". Nefin.org.np. Archived from the original on 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  9. ^ a b "Who actually are the Tamang People? An Insight into Indigenous Tribe of Nepal". Chronicles of ADVENTURE TRAVEL. 2015-01-05. Archived from the original on 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  10. ^ https://lib.icimod.org/record/11231/files/6185.pdf
  11. ^ Tamang, Ganesh (2003). "An Ethnobiological Study of the Tamang People". Our Nature. 1 (1): 37–41. doi:10.3126/on.v1i1.303. ISSN 2091-2781.
  12. ^ Paudel, Dinesh (2021-09-20). "Himalayan BRI: an infrastructural conjuncture and shifting development in Nepal". Area Development and Policy. 7 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1080/23792949.2021.1961592. ISSN 2379-2949. S2CID 239242919.
  13. ^ a b Gellner, David (2009-09-10). Ethnic Activism and Civil Society in South Asia. SAGE Publications India. ISBN 978-81-321-0422-3.
  14. ^ Woebom, Tenzin (2014-12-23). ""Eastern Gypsies": Damans in Tibet". Vtibet. Archived from the original on 2017-11-04. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  15. ^ "New life of Daman people". China Tibet Online. 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  16. ^ "西藏达曼人:从居无定所到发"边贸财"吃"旅游饭"" (in Chinese (China)). People's Daily Online. 2014-07-25. Archived from the original on 2018-11-05. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  17. ^ F. J. Castilla, J. Agulló, J. Castellote (2020). CHARACTERIZATION AND PROPOSALS FOR RECOVERY OF TRADITIONAL TAMANG CONSTRUCTION IN NORTHERN NEPAL. The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume XLIV. ISSN 2194-9034
  18. ^ "National Museum". www.nationalmuseum.gov.np. National Museum. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  19. ^ Himalayan, Cultures. "Oral Traditions of the Tamang People". Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  20. ^ "Sonam Lhosar celebrated | Street Nepal". streetnepal.com. 21 January 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  21. ^ Population Monograph of Nepal, Volume II [1]
  22. ^ 2011 Nepal Census, District Level Detail Report
  23. ^ "Melody queen Aruna Lama". Boss Nepal. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  24. ^ Kalakar, Hamro. "Gopal Yonzon Biography | Hamro Kalakar". www.hamrokalakar.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.

External links[edit]