Chhantyal

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Also known as

  • chhanthyal

Intro

Chhanthyal01.jpg

Chhantyal/Chhanthyals are one of the ethnicities of Nepal who reside in the mountains and valleys of Myagdi, Baglung, Lumbini, and Mustang districts (Dhawalagiri Zone in the Western Developmental Region of Nepal). They have their own culture, rituals, religion, traditions, and language which are probably close to other ethnic groups of Nepal such as Magar, Thakali, Tamu, and Tamang. The population of Chhanthyals is estimated to be around 15,000.

Chhanthyals look ‘Mongoloid’ and speak Tibeto-Burman language. They probably came to the Himalayas of Nepal from Tibet about 1500 years ago. They used to be nomadic and their profession was mining. They once spread from Far-Western Developmental Region to the Western Developmental Region of Nepal.

Ancient coins, weapons, and metric tools found in Chhanthyal villages indicate that Chhanthyals were socially sophisticated people. The traditional potteries discovered in various villages indicate they were amateur potters as well. They gave up mining and took agriculture (and animal husbandry) as their major profession only after V.S. 2018 (1962 A.D.).

Like many indigenous peoples, Chhanthyals are also traditionally nature worshippers. They worship natural resources such as hills, springs and their ancestors’ spirits. They also offer animal sacrifices to their deities. They also have Jhankris (shamans) who are believed to be very powerful and cure people with their power and local herbs. They later took Hinduism and Buddhism. -- AashishJha - 31 Jul 2006

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