The Limbu
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The Limbu

Hill settlers

Hill settlers

Limbu means ‘heroes of the hills’ in their native language, so it’s no surprise to discover that they have an affinity for altitude. A journey to one of their villages located 2,500 to 4,000 feet above sea level is sure to be a travel highlight.
Snapshot

Snapshot

  • Region is Southern Asia

  • Climate here is Tropical

  • The challenge here is Medium

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers

Life

Life

The community grows rice, wheat, and corn on terraced fields that they irrigate. Goats, chickens, and sheep are also raised to provide the community with meat.
Home

Home

Their traditional mud-painted houses are surrounded by dry-cultivated fields. Some Limbu people are skilled at wood carving, so many windows and doors are decoratively finished.

Culture

Social Structure

Society is divided into patrilineal clans and families led by a headman, or subba - usually a returned Gurkha soldier.

Religion

Mundhum is the name of their oral religious scripture which contains cosmology and several myths.

Traditions

During celebrations or settlement of conflicts they drink traditional beer or liquor. Limbu women are known for their gold jewelry, which they wear with pride.

Language

The Limbu people speak a language belonging to the Kiranti group of Tibeto-Burman languages. It has its own alphabet, known as the Kirat-Sirijunga script.

Art

The Limbu have many types of music and dances. They also produce a traditional type of fabric called darkha, made by weaving it in geometric patterns in a handloom.

Celebrations

Ceremonies linked to the agricultural life and harvest are common among the Limbu, and often accompanied by music and dances.

Nikwasamma: This ritual is to cleanse the house from bad spirits after a bereavement. Relatives, neighbors, and visitors bring money as respect and put an offering on the top of the dead body.
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

As a result of their small villages shattered on the territory, due to the cultural dominance of the Bhutias and Nepalese, they are clearly in danger of losing their cultural identity.



Photo credit: Prayer flag in Sikkim
iStock.com/Pavliha

Photo credit: Monastery In Sikkim
iStock.com/Pavliha

Photo credit: Prayer Flags in Himalayan landscape 
iStock.com/manx_in_the_world

Other photos credit: Gaurav Bhatnagar