Unique Lifestyle of the Local People in Manaslu Circuit
13 Mar 2023 Chandra Gurung
Want to learn about the unique lifestyle of the local people in Manaslu Circuit? In this blog, we will discuss the about the same.
Nepal’s appeal and beauty extend beyond its mountainous landscape. It also results from the extraordinary diversity of its cultures and customs. Whether in the Himalayas, Terai, or mountainous areas, you will cross villages whose traditional culture, religion, and beliefs will astound you.
Nepal is a diversified nation with a population of more than 30 million. Nepalese people’s culture, tradition, religion, and language vary depending on where they live in Nepal. The largest ethnic groups in Nepal include the Chhetri, Brahman, Magar, Tharu, Tamang, Newar, Gurung, and Rai. It is a country mainly populated by Indo-Aryans and Tibeto-Burmans. Other ethnic groups include Sherpa, Limbu, Bhote, Magar, Thakuri, and Sunwar.
In Nepal, Nepali is the official language which everyone understands. Other than that, there are more than 120 different languages spoken in Nepal, including Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Newari, Sherpa, Rai, and Tamang. Nepal is primarily a Hindu nation, with around 81% of the population believing in Hinduism. But there are also sizable groups of Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians.
The people of Nepal are renowned for their warmth, friendliness, and hospitality, and they have a rich cultural legacy. Momos, dal bhat, chowmein, dhido, sel roti, etc., are a few of the country’s most well-known dishes from its varied cuisine. Moreover, Nepalese culture is rich in folk music and dance, which are found all around the nation.
In the same way, the Manaslu circuit trek lies in the Gorkha district of Nepal. Nubri, Tsum, and Gurung ethnic group people reside in this area. They also celebrate various festivals, and their traditions and customs differ significantly from others.
Unique Lifestyle of the Local People in Manaslu Circuit
Manaslu is a region of Nepal where modernization and industrialization have yet to make an impact. Local people of Tsum and Nubri valley locals still traditionally celebrate festivals as their forefathers used to. They also pass down their family traditions and rituals to the next generation. People of the younger generation also observe celebrations in a traditional manner and with the same joy and enjoyment. The following are some of the distinctive elements of the unique lifestyles of local people that you could encounter while trekking the Manaslu circuit:
Occupation of the People in the Manaslu Circuit
One of the elements that fall under the unique lifestyle of local people is their occupation. People living in the Manaslu Circuit engage in agriculture. They earn their livelihood by working in the field and growing locally available crops and vegetables. We can see them manually sowing the seeds and using an ox to plough the land. Using traditional methods, they cultivate various crops, including rice, wheat, barley, and potatoes.
We can also see terraced paddy fields in the lower Manaslu trekking area. Moreover, their another occupation is animal farming and animal husbandry. The residents here raise yaks, goats, sheep, and horses. They also produce and sell various dairy goods, including cheese, butter, yoghurt, and ghee and sell them in the market. Since it is chilly there, most Manaslu residents move to the lower plains during the winter. And when it becomes warmer, move up for the new grazing lands. Moreover, women there produce traditional crafts using a conventional method.
Language of Local People Residing in the Manaslu Circuit
Nepali is the primary language used by the locals in the Manaslu region. Yet, several ethnic communities, such as the Gurung and Tibetan people living there, might speak their particular languages and dialects.
One of the main ethnic groups in the area is the Gurung, who speak their language known as Gurung. Similarly, Tibetan communities speak Tibetan or a Tibetan-related dialect. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that locals will need help to speak or comprehend English.
Dress of the Local People in the Manaslu Circuit
Gurung and Tibetan communities make up the majority of the inhabitants of the Manaslu region. People in the Manaslu Circuit wear colourful, distinctive traditional clothing. The Gurung people are famous for their unique clothing: loose-fitting pants known as “lungi” and a long-sleeved blouse called a “kachhad”.
The kachhad typically has a vibrant design and is made of cotton or wool. They dress in a woolen vest known as a “bhoto,” which fastens at the side with a row of buttons. The attire for the women is a “gunyu cholo,” which consists of a long-sleeved top worn over a “fariya” skirt. Usually, exquisite needlework and jewels are used to embellish the gunyu cholo.
Similarly, the Tibetan population in the Manaslu region also dons traditional clothing identical to that found in Tibet. The men dress in a long, button-fastened wool or silk robe known as a “chuba,” worn with a long robe. They dress in a colourful apron, a “bakhu,” which is put over the chuba. The women dress in a “Chupa,” a long-sleeved shirt, over a “Shambo,” a skirt.
Typically, the chupa is embroidered with fine detail and made of silk. In this way, the Manaslu region’s natives’ traditional clothing represents the area’s rich cultural past. You can decide to dress in traditional garb if you’re planning a trip to the site to fit in with the people and experience the culture personally.
Religion and Culture of the Local People Living in Manaslu Circuit
The Manaslu Circuit Trek region locals come from various ethnic backgrounds, including the Gurung and Tibetan populations. They have a distinctive culture, set of customs, and festivals. The Ghatu and Sorathi, which are performed at their festivals, are two of the notable traditional dances of the Gurung people. The migratory way of life and Buddhism impact the Tibetan people’s distinctive culture.
Many Buddhist monasteries are found in the Manaslu area, and the residents practice a unique blend of Buddhism and Hinduism. At monasteries and temples, you could witness them engaging in rituals and making prayers. We can also see many Buddhist prayer flags in the monasteries representing Buddhism.
Festivals Celebrated by Local People in Manaslu Circuit
Gurung and Tibetan living in the area celebrate different festivals. Some of them are as follows:
Lhosar: Losar is celebrated as the New Year in Tibetan and Gurung cultures. Many rituals, feasts, and dancing accompany this festival, celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. Additionally, they pray to the gods.
Saka Dawa/ Buddha Jayanti: This festival honours Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death on the full moon day of May. People participate in various religious ceremonies, visit monasteries, and offer prayers during this festival.
Dhachyang festival: During the Dhachyang festival, horses are the event’s focus. This festival features races between horses decorated with elaborate decorations.
Traditional Dishes of the Local People Residing in Manaslu Circuit
The regional residents have their own distinctive and mouthwatering traditional foods. Following are a few of the regional specialities prepared by residents of the Manaslu Circuit:
- Dal Bhat: Everyone visiting the Manaslu Circuit should try the national meal of Nepal, dal bhat. This dish serves steamed rice with lentil soup and vegetable curry.
- Renduk: This substantial stew is cooked with veggies and potatoes. If you’re tired after hiking all day, this dish will warm you nicely.
- Thukpa: It is a noodle soup cooked with either meat or veggies. It is an everyday cuisine in the Himalayan region. It is a warming and filling dish that is ideal for chilly times.
- Sel Roti: It is a traditional Nepalese dish frequently offered during festivals and other special events. It is a sweet, round bread prepared from rice flour that is deep-fried till the exterior is crispy and the inside is soft.
- Gundruk: A typical side dish for dal bhat is gundruk, a fermented vegetable dish. It has a sour and tangy flavour and is produced by fermenting leafy vegetables.
- Chhurpi: Chhurpi is a typical snack in the Himalayan region, a hard cheese prepared from yak milk.
- Aloo Tama: It is a delicacy of the Nepalese people in the Manaslu Circuit and is a curry made with potatoes and bamboo shoots. It has a somewhat acidic flavour and is a beautiful way to experience regional specialities.
- Dhindo: It is a traditional Nepalese meal made from maize flour that is a staple cuisine for those who live in mountainous areas. It is frequently served alongside meat or veggie curry.
Trade and Commerce
Historically, the Manaslu region was a significant trading hub, with merchants travelling through Tibet, India, and other parts of Nepal. The inhabitants now rely heavily on tourism as a source of income, with many operating lodges and teahouses along the trekking path.
In conclusion, the Manaslu Circuit walk is a fantastic chance to discover the locals’ distinctive way of life. Also, their geography, culture, and beliefs influence how they live. The Manaslu region is a fascinating destination for tourists wishing to experience a unique way of life because of its friendly hospitality, traditional farming methods, and distinctive architecture.
Q. What type of people live in the Manaslu region?
Mostly, Nubri, Tsum, and Gurung ethnic group people reside in the Manaslu region.
Q. What is the main occupation of the people living in the Manaslu region?
People living in the Manaslu Circuit are engaged in agriculture, animal farming, and animal husbandry.