Tamang people

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Regions with significant populations
Nepal, India (Sikkim, West Bengal)
Tamang, Nepali
Related ethnic groups
Gurung Thakali Manang People

The Tamang ཏ་མང (Devanagari: तामाङ; tāmāng) are the largest ethnic group of Nepalis and Nepali Gorkhas. Tamangs constitute 5.6% of the Nepalese population at over 1.3 million in 2001, increasing to 1,539,830 as of 2011 census,[1] yet contested. Nepali Tamangs are also a significant number in Sikkim and Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India as permanent settlers;[2] their languages are the fifth most spoken in Nepal (note all Tamang languages are not mutually intelligible). They are considered as one of the indigenous people of Nepal and India.[3]


Tamang was derived from the word Tamag, where Ta means “horse”, and Mag means “soldier” in tibetan language[4]


1/3 of all deaths were among Tamang people, and roughly 2/3 of the 600,000 structures completely destroyed were in Tamang dominant areas.[5] It is the poverty, neglect and outright discrimination in Nepal against Tamangs that makes them even more vulnerable to disasters like earthquakes, landslides and floods—Anthropologist Mukta Singh Lama.[5]

Political participation[edit]

Tamangs are represented by Tamsaling Rastriya Mukti Morcha and Tamsaling Nepal Rastriya Dal. The umbrella group Mongol National Organisation supports self-determination and works against said discrimination not just for Tamangs but for all groups in Nepal. The MNO is against conversion to Hinduism of non-Hindus. It currently holds no official parliamentary vote. The Federal Limbuwan State Council (FLSC) also works towards similar goals for self-determination for the Kirati peoples, who co-mingle with Tamangs, citing a reneged treaty with Kathmandu for autonomy.[6] The associated Sanghiya Limbuwan Party has participated in calling banda during the 2015 Nepal blockade,[7] nevertheless international press had not only failed to take note of their bandh, but even pretended not to notice their very existence and instead focused intently on 4 party India-backed Madhesi Morcha actions, geopolitical concerns with China, as Limbuwan also opposes both the Madhesi goals as well as Kathmandu's domination.[8] However, there is rationale to India and Western nation's denial of information about Limbuwan actions during the fuel blockade, in the 1980s, a violent Gorkhaland movement within India was led by the prominent Tamang Subhas Ghising to which India had viewed as a security threat due to the proximity of the Siliguri Corridor.[2] Madan Tamang, a Tamang-Indian politician, and proponent for Gorkhaland statehood, was assassinated in 2010, with West Bengal government placing blame on another Gorkhaland political party, in effect weakening the movement. Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was then created in place of statehood in India, nevertheless across the border, ethnic discrimination issues regarding the numerous groups (who have taken part in each other's politics) are left unresolved within Nepal. In 2017 Binay Tamang was appointed as the Chairperson of GTA.[9]


Tamang are very rich in their tradition and culture. They have their own language, culture, dress and social structure. They have over 100 sub-clans. Tamang believe in Buddhism, and famously said that 90 percent of Tamang follow Buddhism as their religion. Their language comes from Tibeto-Burman language family. They follow the Tibetan calendar of the 12-year cycle and their typical song-dance Bhote-selo literally means ‘Tibetan tune’, which is famously known as Tamang selo, which include the songs of humor and wit, satire, joy and sorrow. Tamangs have their own music. Their musical instrument is called Damphu (a small round drum covered with goat skin). Loshar is their religious festival.[1]


Sonam Lochar Festival

Sonam Lhochhar is the main festival of the Tamangs and is celebrated in the month on Magh (February - March).[10] It is celebrated to welcome the Tamang new year.

Colorful flags, printed Buddhist mantra cloths are put up in various places in villages and towns.[1] The Tamangs have a genre of music called " Tamang Selo" that is performed with the Damplu instrument, also known as Damphoo Dance, having a brisk movement and rhythmic beat specific to the Tamangs.[2]

The second most important festival is Saga Dawa (Buddha Jayanti) and is celebrated as a religious festival.[4]

Dashain and Tihar (festival) is also celebrated with much enthusiasm by Tamangs.[1]


Most Tamangs are farmers, engaged in agriculture. Due to the lack of irrigation at higher altitudes, their crops are often limited to corn, millet, wheat, barley, and potatoes. They often supplement their farming income with manual labour. Due to the discrimination experienced by the Tamang people in the past, they have remained on the whole poorly educated, and the majority have been limited to working as farmers, mountain trekking, portering, and driving in Kathmandu. They also work in manufacture of Tibetan rugs, Thankas (Tibetan painting), driving and labour. As far as farming is concerned, Tamang are dependent on rainfall and do not employ modern machinery.[1]

Trekking and tourism[edit]

Tamang villages are often visited on Nepal's numerous trekking routes, one being labelled Tamang Heritage Trail.[11]

Notable Tamangs[edit]

Nepali Folk Singer
Navneet Aditya Waiba- Nepali Folk Singer
Kulman Ghising

Tamangs are known in Nepali Art/Music, Politics, Novels and Civil servants of Nepal. Some prominent names are:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-12-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-27. Retrieved 2015-12-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Emergent North-East : A Way Forward By H. C. Sadangi
  3. ^ "Report on Socio-Economic Status of Tamang–Kavre". Nefin.org.np. Archived from the original on 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b "The Brief » Blog Archive » The Tamang epicentre". Nepali Times. 2015-07-05. Archived from the original on 2015-11-28. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  6. ^ Chemjong, Iman Singh (2003). History and Culture of Kirat People (4th ed.). Kathmandu: Kirat Yakthung Chumlung. ISBN 99933-809-1-1.
  7. ^ "Sanghiya Limbuwan Party calls indefinite Eastern Region bandh". The Himalayan Times. 2015-09-04. Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  8. ^ Om Astha Rai. "Look south | As It Happens". Nepali Times. Archived from the original on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  9. ^ "GTA reconstituted, rebel GJM leader Tamang is chairperson". The Hindu. Special Correspondent, Special Correspondent. 2017-09-21. ISSN 0971-751X. Archived from the original on 2018-02-28. Retrieved 2018-02-28.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ "Sonam Lhochhar celebrated | Street Nepal". streetnepal.com. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  11. ^ Post Report. "The Kathmandu Post :: Tamang Heritage Trail reopens after quake". Kathmandupost.ekantipur.com. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  12. ^ "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | North Bengal & Sikkim | Hira Devi dies of burn injuries". www.telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  13. ^ "Kunti Moktan". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  14. ^ "Indian Idol Winner Prashant Tamang Is The Rallying Voice Of The Gorkhaland Protests". Huffington Post India. 2017-06-21. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  15. ^ "Zenisha Moktan | Nepali Actress". nepaliactress.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  16. ^ "Nima Rumba & Style". My Republica. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  17. ^ "Melody queen Aruna Lama". Boss Nepal. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  18. ^ Kalakar, Hamro. "Gopal Yonzon Biography | Hamro Kalakar". www.hamrokalakar.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.

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