The Tamang
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The Tamang

Farmers of the mountains

Farmers of the mountains

The Tamang tribe is predominantly based in Nepal, but some communities reside in Sikkim and Darjeeling District in India. It is believed that they migrated from Tibet around 3000 years ago. In Tibetan, their name means "horse sellers". Tamang is the largest Nepal ethnic group, and unfortunately, they are the most discriminated and exploited community of this Country.


  • Region is Northern Asia

  • Climate here is Continental

  • The challenge here is Medium

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers



Tamangs are mostly farmers. Because of the high altitudes, they grow millet, corn, potatoes, wheat and barley. They depend entirely on rainfall as irrigation. Every family breed a few cows, buffalos and chickens. Some of them implement their incoming with manual labour or with touristic trekking tours.


The Tamang house is made of stone walls and a wooden roof, and it has two floors. At the ground floor, there is a kitchen and a bedroom, while the first floor is used as storage for food and family's belongings. It is common to have a veranda in front of the main entrance and a balcony above it. Villages are crowded, and the streets usually are paved with stones.


Social Structure

Tamang territory was controlled with the kipat land system: a clan used to have permanent communal rights over its settlement and cultivation area. Lately, this system was abolished, but the ex-kipat areas are today owned by the same families who held it before. Each village has its headman named by the community and approved by the central authorities. He acts as a leader of social activities and collects revenues for the government.


Almost all of Tamang are Buddhist.


They carve prayers on stone tablets and let them on the margin of the streets.

They use to build shrines in memory of dead relatives and throw a celebration in the village when the construction was completed.

The Tamang organise a name-giving ceremony for their newborns on the seventh day from the issuance of a girl and on the eleventh of a boy


The Tamang language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family.


They make jackets with sheep wool.

They weave bamboo for baskets and receptacles for storage and umbrellas.

They are well known as carpenters, masons, painters and wood carving designers of religious objects.


In February-March they celebrate the Tamang New Year in Sonam Lhochhar Festival: it is considered the main Tamang observation.

They celebrate Saga Dawa : the holiest Buddhist festival.

Dashain falls in September-October, it is an auspicious festival in Nepal Sambat calendar. It lasts fifteen days.
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

Some Tamang took part in the first expedition to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary and in 1973 Shambu Tamang was the youngest person to ascend the mountain at the age of 17 years old.


Tamang woman

Woman drying grain

Women working

Old woman