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The isolation bred by the high mountain ranges have helped nurture a multiplicity of tribes in the Himalayan region, and the frequent waves of migration and the resultant melding of racial strains of the Negroid, Mongoloid and Aryan races have given lifestyles that are at once very different and yet similar. There are the Dards and Mons of the western Himalayas, those of the Khasa and Kanet ancestry in the west and central Himalayas, the Thakurs, Chhetris, Gurungs and Tamangs and many others of the Nepal Himalayas, the Sherpas, Lepchas and Bhutiyas in the eastern Himalayas, and a vast multitude of clans and tribes - Nishis, Wanchos, Sherdukpens, Monpas, etc. - of Asiatic, Tibetan and Myanmarese origin in the Arunachal Himalayas.

The tribes have distinct cultures that include languages, social structures, and spiritual traditions. Each tribe also has its own arts & crafts (weaving, metal craft, architecture, music & dance) and certain invaluable traditional knowledge systems (ethnobotany, medicine). This database presents information on some of the major Himalayan tribes and their distinctive characteristics.

 

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