Sherpa people

Sherpa is one of the ethnic groups native to the most mountainous regions of Nepal and the Himalayas. The term sherpa or sherwa derives from the Sherpa language words Shyar ("east") and Pa ("people"), which refer to their geographical origin of eastern Nepal.

Most Sherpa people live in the eastern regions of Nepal; however, some live farther west in the Rolwaling Valley and in the Helambu region north of Kathmandu. Sherpas establish gompas (temples) where they practised their religious traditions. Tengboche was the first celibate monastery in Solu-Khumbu. Sherpa people also live in China, Bhutan, and the Indian states of Sikkim and the northern portion of West Bengal, specifically the district of Darjeeling. The Sherpa language belongs to the south branch of the Tibeto-Burman languages, and it is a mixed Eastern Tibet (Khamba) and central Tibetan dialects. However, this language is separate from Lhasa Tibetan and unintelligible to Lhasa speakers.[1]

The number of Sherpas migrating to Western countries has significantly increased in recent years, especially to the United States. New York City has the largest Sherpa community in the United States, with a population of approximately 3,000. The 2001 Nepal census recorded 300,000 Sherpas within its borders. Some members of the Sherpa population are known for their skills in mountaineering as a livelihood.

Sherpa girl with her ethnic dress
Sherpa girl in her ethnic dress
Total population
c. 276,700
Regions with significant populations
Nepal, China (Tibet Autonomous Region), Bangladesh, Bhutan, India (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Darjeeling)
Sherpa, Nepali
Predominantly Buddhism (93%) and minority: Hinduism, Bön, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Hyolmo, Jirels


Nepal ethnic groups
Selected ethnic groups of Nepal: Sherpa, Thakali, Gurung, Sunuwar, Kirati, Rai, Lohorung, Parali, Bahing, Limbu, Newar, Pahari, Tamang

The Sherpa were nomadic people who first settled in the Solukhumbu District (Khumbu), Nepal. According to Sherpa oral history, four groups migrated from Kham in Tibet to Solukhumbu at different times, giving rise to the four fundamental Sherpa clans: Minyagpa, Thimmi, Sertawa and Chawa. These four groups gradually split into the more than 20 different clans that exist today. Mahayana Buddhism religious conflict may have contributed to the migration out of Tibet in the 13th and 14th centuries and arrived in Khumbu regions of Nepal. Sherpa migrants travelled through Ü and Tsang, before crossing the Himalaya.[2]

By the 1400s, Khumbu Sherpa people attained autonomy within the newly formed Nepali state. In the 1960s, as tension with China increased, Nepali government influence on the Sherpa people grew. In 1976, Khumbu became a national park, and tourism became a major economic force.[3]

Gautam (1994) concluded that the Sherpa migrated from Tibet to Nepal approximately 600 years ago, initially through Rongshar to the west and then later through the Nangpa La pass. It is presumed that the group of people from the Kham region, east of Tibet, was called "Shyar Khamba" (People who came from eastern Kham), and the place where they settled was called "Shyar Khumbu". As the time passed, the "Shyar Khamba," inhabitants of Shyar Khumbu, were called Sherpa.[4] A recent Nepal Ethnographic Museum (2001) study postulated that present-day Nepal became an integral part of the kingdom of Nepal. Since ancient times, Sherpas, like other indigenous Kirat Nepalese tribes, would move from one place to another place within the Himalayan region surviving as Alpine pastoralists and traders.[5]


Genetic studies shows that much of the Sherpa population has allele frequencies which are often found in other Tibeto-Burman regions, in tested genes, the strongest affinity was for Tibetan population sample studies done in Xizang Tibetan Autonomous Region.[2] Genetically, the Sherpa cluster closest with the sample Tibetan and Han populations.[6] Additionally, the Sherpa had exhibited affinity for several Nepalese populations, with the strongest for the Rai people, followed by the Magars and the Tamang.[6]

Released in 2010 by UCLA at Berkeley, a study identified more than 30 genetic factors that make Tibetans' bodies well-suited for high-altitudes, including EPAS1, referred to as the "super-athlete gene" which regulates the body’s production of hemoglobin,[7] allowing for greater efficiency in the use of oxygen.[8][9]

A 2016 study of Sherpas in China suggested that a small portion of Sherpas' and Tibetans' allele frequencies originated from separate ancient populations, which were estimated to have remained somewhat distributed for 11,000 to 7,000 years.[10]

Haplogroup distribution

A 2014 study observed that considerable genetic components from the Indian Subcontinent were found in Sherpa people living in China. The western Y chromosomal haplogroups R1a1a-M17, J-M304, and F*-M89 comprise almost 17% of the paternal gene pool in tested individuals. In the maternal side, M5c2, M21d, and U from the west also count up to 8% of people in given Sherpa populations.[11] However, a later study from 2015 did not support the results from the 2014 study; the 2015 study concluded that genetic sharing from the Indian subcontinent was highly limited;[2] a 2017 study found the same.[6]

In a 2015 study of 582 Sherpa individuals (277 males) from China and Nepal, haplogroup D-M174 was found most frequently, followed by Haplogroup O-M175, Haplogroup F-M89 and Haplogroup K-M9. The Y-chromosome haplogroup distribution for Sherpas follow a pattern similar to that for Tibetans.[2]

Sherpa mtDNA distribution shows greater diversity, as Haplogroup A was found most frequently, followed by Haplogroup M9a, Haplogroup C4a, Haplogroup M70, and Haplogroup D. These haplogroups are also found in some Tibetan populations. However, two common mtDNA sub-haplogroups unique to Sherpas populations were identified: Haplogroup A15c and Haplogroup C4a3b1.[2]


Pem dorjee sherpa (2)
Sherpa mountain guide Pem Dorjee Sherpa at Khumbu Ice Fall

Many Sherpa are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local area. They were immeasurably valuable to early explorers of the Himalayan region, serving as guides at the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region, particularly for expeditions to climb Mount Everest. Today, the term is often used by foreigners to refer to almost any guide or climbing supporter hired for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas, regardless of their ethnicity.[12] Because of this usage, the term has become a slang byword for a guide or mentor in other situations.[13] Sherpas are renowned in the international climbing and mountaineering community for their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes. It has been speculated that part of the Sherpas' climbing ability is the result of a genetic adaptation to living in high altitudes. Some of these adaptations include unique hemoglobin-binding capacity and doubled nitric oxide production.[14]

Deaths in 2014 Everest avalanche

On 18 April 2014, a serac collapsed above the Khumbu Icefall on Mount Everest, causing an avalanche of massive chunks of ice and snow which killed 16 Nepalese guides, mostly Sherpas.[15] The 2014 avalanche is the second-deadliest disaster in Everest's history, only exceeded by avalanches in the Khumbu Icefall area a year later, on 25 April 2015, caused by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Nepal. In response to that tragedy and others involving deaths and injuries sustained by Sherpas hired by climbers, and the lack of government support for Sherpas injured or killed while providing their services, some Sherpa climbing guides walked off the job, and some climbing companies are no longer providing guides and porters for Everest expeditions.[16][17]

The 2014 event killed 16 Sherpas and[18] in 2015, 10 Sherpas died at the Everest Base Camp after the earthquake. In total, 118 Sherpas have died on this mountain between 1921 and 2018.[19][20]) An April 2018 report by NPR stated that Sherpas account for one-third of Everest deaths.[21]


Thame Gompa
Thame Gompa is one of numerous Sherpa monasteries in Nepal

According to oral Buddhist traditions, the initial Tibetan migration was a search for a beyul (Buddhist pure-lands). Sherpa practise the Nyingmapa, the "Ancient" school of Buddhism. Allegedly the oldest Buddhist sect in Tibet, founded by Padmasambhava (commonly known as Guru Rinpoche) during the 8th century, it emphasizes mysticism and the incorporation of local deities shared by the pre-Buddhist Bon religion, which has shamanic elements. Sherpa particularly believe in hidden treasures and valleys. Traditionally, Nyingmapa practice was passed down orally through a loose network of lay practitioners. Monasteries with celibate monks and nuns, along with the belief in reincarnated spiritual leaders, are later adaptations.[3]

In addition to Buddha and the great Buddhist divinities, the Sherpa also believe in numerous deities and demons who inhabit every mountain, cave, and forest. These have to be respected or appeased through ancient practices woven into the fabric of Buddhist ritual life. Many of the great Himalayan mountains are considered sacred. The Sherpa call Mount Everest Chomolungma and respect it as the "Mother of the World." Mount Makalu is respected as the deity Shankar (Shiva). Each clan reveres certain mountain peaks and their protective deities.[22]

Today, the day-to-day Sherpa religious affairs are presided over by lamas (Buddhist spiritual leaders) and other religious practitioners living in the villages. The village lama who presides over ceremonies and rituals can be a celibate monk or a married householder.[23] In addition, shamans (lhawa) and soothsayers (mindung) deal with the supernatural and the spirit world. Lamas identify witches (pem), act as the mouthpiece of deities and spirits, and diagnose spiritual illnesses.

An important aspect of Sherpa religion is the temple or gompa. A gompa is the prayer hall for either villages or monasteries. There numerous gompas and about two dozen monasteries scattered throughout the Solukhumbu region. The monasteries are communities of lamas or monks (sometimes of nuns) who take a vow of celibacy and lead a life of isolation searching for truth and religious enlightenment. They are respected by and supported by the community at large. Their contact with the outside world is focused on monastery practices and annual festivals to which the public is invited, as well as the reading of sacred texts at funerals.

Traditional clothing

Men wear long-sleeved robes called kitycow, which fall to slightly below the knee. Chhuba is tied at the waist with a cloth sash called kara, creating a pouch-like space called tolung which can be used for storing and carrying small items. Traditionally, chhuba were made from thick home-spun wool, or a variant called lokpa made from sheepskin. Chhuba are worn over raatuk, a blouse (traditionally made out of bure, white raw silk), trousers called kanam, and an outer jacket called tetung.

Women traditionally wear long-sleeved floor-length dresses of thick wool called tongkok. A sleeveless variation called angi is worn over a raatuk (blouse) in warmer weather. These are worn with colourful striped aprons; metil aprons are worn in front, and gewe in back, and are held together by an embossed silver buckle called kyetig.[3]:138–141

Sherpa clothing resembles Tibetan clothing. Increasingly, home-spun wool and silk is being replaced by factory-made material. Many Sherpa people also now wear ready-made western clothing.

Traditional housing

Sherpa House
Traditional Sherpa architecture, but with a steel roof.

When a son marries and has children, the community may help to construct a new house, as the extended family becomes too large for a single home. The neighbours often contribute food, drinks and labour to help the family. Houses are typically spaced to allow fields in between. A spiritual ceremony may be conducted at every building stage as the house must have space for deities, humans and animals. Once constructed, the house is often handed down within a family and not sold. The house style depends on the lay of the land: old river terraces, former lake beds or mountain slopes. There are stone single-story, ​1 12-storey (on a slope), and the two-storey houses, with ample room for animals. Many well-to-do families will have an annex shrine room for sacred statues, scriptures and ritual objects. The roof is sloping and is made from local natural materials, or imported metal. There's space in the roof to allow for fire smoke to escape. There may be an internal or external outhouse for making compost.[3]:14–16

Social gatherings

"A Sherpa community will most commonly get together for a party, which is held by the host with the purpose of gaining favor with the community and neighbors". Guests are invited hours before the party will start by the host's children to reduce the chance of rejection. The men are seated by order of status, with those of lesser status sitting closer to the door and men of higher status sitting by the fireplace, while the women sit in the center with no ordering. It is polite to sit in a space lower than one's proper place so one may be invited by the host to their proper place. The first several hours of the party will have only beer served, followed by the serving of food, and then several more hours of singing and dancing before people start to drift out. The act of manipulating one's neighbors into cooperation by hosting a party is known as Yangdzi, and works by expecting the hospitality done by the host with the serving of food and alcohol to be repaid.[24]

Notable people

Tenzing Norgay, 1953
Nepali Sherpa mountain climber Tenzing Norgay, 1953

One of the best-known Sherpas is Tenzing Norgay. In 1953, he and Sir Edmund Hillary became the first people known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.[25][26][27][28] Norgay's son Jamling Tenzing Norgay also climbed Everest in honor of his father with the mountaineers Ed Viesturs and Araceli Segarra during the disastrous year of 1996.

In 2001, Temba Tsheri became the youngest Everest climber in the world (holder of the Guinness World Record), then aged 16.

In 2003, Sherpas Pemba Dorje and Lhakpa Golu competed to see who could climb Everest from base camp the fastest. On 23 May 2003, Dorje reached the summit in 12 hours and 46 minutes. Three days later, Golu beat his record by two hours, reaching the summit in 10 hours 46 minutes. On 21 May 2004, Dorje again improved the time by more than two hours with a total time of 8 hours and 10 minutes.[29]

On 11 May 2011, Apa Sherpa successfully reached the summit of Everest for the twenty-first time, breaking his own record for the most successful ascents.[30] He first climbed Mount Everest in 1989 at the age of 29.[31]

One of the most famous Nepalese female mountaineers was Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepali female climber to reach the summit of Everest, but who died during the descent. Her namesake, Pasang Lamu Sherpa Akita, has also climbed Everest, and was one of three Nepali women who were the first to reach the summit of K2.[32] Another well-known female Sherpa was the two-time Everest summiter Pemba Doma Sherpa, who died after falling from Lhotse on 22 May 2007.[33]

On 20 May 2011, Mingma Sherpa became the first Nepali and the first South Asian to scale all 14 of the world's highest mountains. In the process, Mingma set new world record – he became the first mountaineer to climb all 14 peaks on first attempt.

Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa is one half of a Nepali duo that was voted "People's Choice Adventurers of the Year 2012". In April 2011, Lakpa Tsheri and Sano Babu Sunuwar made the 'Ultimate Descent': a three-month journey in which they climbed Everest, then paraglided down the mountain and proceeded to kayak through Nepal and India until they reached the Indian Ocean.[34]

On 19 May 2012, 16-year-old Nima Chhamzi Sherpa became the youngest woman to climb Everest; the previous record holder was Nimdoma Sherpa, who summited in 2008, also at 16 years old.[35]

Chhurim Sherpa (Nepal) summitted Everest twice in May 2012: 12 May and 19 May. Guinness World Records recognized her for being the first female Sherpa to summit Everest twice in one climbing season.

In 2013, 30-year-old Chhang Dawa Sherpa became the youngest mountaineer to summit the 14 highest peaks, the 8000'ers.

Pratima Sherpa 19 (2017), has lived her entire life in a maintenance shed on the fourth hole of Royal Nepal Golf Club in Kathmandu, and is the top-ranked female golfer in Nepal.

On 26 July 2014, Pasang Lamu Sherpa Akita, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, and Maya Sherpa crested the 8,611-metre (28,251 ft) summit of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. In doing so, the three Nepali women became the first all-female team to climb what many mountaineers consider a much tougher challenge than Everest. The feat was announced in climbing circles as a breakthrough achievement for women in high-altitude mountaineering. Only 18 of the 376 people who have summited K2 have been women.

Another notable Sherpa is cross-country skier and ultramarathoner Dachhiri Sherpa, who represented Nepal at the 2006, 2010, and 2014 Winter Olympics.

Similarly Cultural and tourism Minister of Nepal Kripasur Sherpa, major of British Gurkha Army Prem Dorji Sherpa, ambassador of Australia Lucky Sherpa are notable personnel from Sherpa communities.

Mountain guide Kami Rita Sherpa holds the world record for the number of successful climbs to the summit of Mount Everest, 23 as of 15 May 2019. Two others, Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa, have successfully summitted on 21 occasions.

See also


  1. ^ "Journée d'étude : Déserts. Y a-t-il des corrélations entre l'écosystème et le changement linguistique ?". Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bhandari, Sushil; et al. (2015). "Genetic evidence of a recent Tibetan ancestry to Sherpas in the Himalayan region". Scientific Reports. 5: 16249. doi:10.1038/srep16249. PMC 4633682. PMID 26538459.
  3. ^ a b c d Sherpa, Lhakpa Norbu (2008). Through A Sherpa Window: Illustrated Guide to Traditional Sherpa Culture. Jyatha, Thamel: Vajra Publications. ISBN 9789937506205.
  4. ^ "Tapting Samaj Sewa". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Nepal Ethnographic Museum". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Cole, Amy M.; Cox, Sean; Jeong, Choongwon; Petousi, Nayia; Aryal, Dhana R.; Droma, Yunden; Hanaoka, Masayuki; Ota, Masao; Kobayashi, Nobumitsu; Gasparini, Paolo; Montgomery, Hugh; Robbins, Peter; Di Rienzo, Anna; Cavalleri, Gianpiero L. (2017). "Genetic structure in the Sherpa and neighboring Nepalese populations". BMC Genomics. 18 (1): 102. doi:10.1186/s12864-016-3469-5. ISSN 1471-2164. PMC 5248489. PMID 28103797. CC-BY icon.svg This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
  7. ^ S, Robert; ers; July 1, Media relations; 2010July 9; 2015. "Tibetans adapted to high altitude in less than 3,000 years". Berkeley News. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Five myths about Mount Everest". Washington Post. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  9. ^ S, Robert; ers. "Tibetans adapted to high altitude in less than 3,000 years". Berkeley News. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  10. ^ Lu, Dongsheng; et al. (1 September 2016). "Ancestral Origins and Genetic History of Tibetan Highlanders". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 99.
  11. ^ Kang, Longli; Wang, Chuan-Chao; Chen, Feng; Yao, Dali; Jin, Li; Li, Hui (2 January 2016). "Northward genetic penetration across the Himalayas viewed from Sherpa people". Mitochondrial DNA Part A. 27 (1): 342–349. doi:10.3109/19401736.2014.895986. ISSN 2470-1394. PMID 24617465.
  12. ^ Educational Media and Technology Yearbook - Volume 36, Michael Orey, Stephanie A. Jones, Robert Maribe Branch, page 94 (2011), ISBN 1461413044: "A Sherpa is traditionally a knowledgeable native who guides mountain climbers on their most difficult and risky ascents." Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers, by Peter Zuckerman, Amanda Padoan, page 65 (2012): "Lowlanders clutching the Lonely Planet guide are convinced they want to hire “a sherpa,” even if they don't know what a Sherpa is..."
  13. ^ "G20 meet: What role does the Sherpa play in the negotiations?". The Indian Express. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  14. ^ Kamler, K. (2004). Surviving the extremes: What happens to the body and mind at the limits of human endurance, p. 212. New York: Penguin.
  15. ^ Krakauer, Jon (21 April 2014). "Death and Anger on Everest". The New Yorker. Retrieved 24 April 2014. Of the twenty-five men hit by the falling ice, sixteen were killed, all of them Nepalis working for guided climbing teams.
  16. ^ McCarthy, Julie (24 April 2014). "Sherpas Walk Off The Job After Deadly Avalanche". NPR.
  17. ^ The Associated Press (21 April 2014). "Sherpas Consider Boycott After Everest Disaster". NPR.
  18. ^ "Apa Sherpa: After deadly avalanche, 'leave Everest alone'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Everest 2018: Summit Wave 9 Recap – More Sherpa Deaths with Summits". The Blog on 22 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Will Everest's Climbing Circus Slow Down After Disasters?". National Geographic News. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  21. ^ . NPR. 14 April 2018 Retrieved 17 May 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ "When you call someone a Sherpa, what does that mean?". Public Radio International. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  23. ^ Sherpa, Ngawang Tenzin Zangbu (2011). Stories and Customs of the Sherpas (5th edition). Kathmandu, Nepal: Mera Publications. p. 6. ISBN 99933-553-0-5.
  24. ^ Ortner, Sherry B. (1978). Sherpas Through Their Rituals. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press. pp. 61–75. ISBN 978-0-521-29216-0.
  25. ^ "1953: First Footsteps - Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay". National Geographic. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  26. ^ Christchurch City Libraries, Famous New Zealanders. Retrieved 23 January 2007.
  27. ^ Everest not as tall as thought Agençe France-Presse (on, 10 October 2005
  28. ^ PBS, NOVA, First to Summit, Updated November 2000. Retrieved 31 March 2007
  29. ^ "New Everest Speed Record Upheld". Retrieved 4 February 2007.
  30. ^ "Apa Sherpa summits Everest for the 21st time'". Salt Lake Tribune. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  31. ^ "Since The Age of 12". BBC News. BBC. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  32. ^ Osius, Alison (17 February 2016), "Snowball Fight on K2: Interview with Pasang Lamu Sherpa Akita", Rock & Ice, archived from the original on 18 December 2016.
  33. ^ "Famous female Nepal climber dead", BBC News, 23 May 2007
  34. ^ "2012 Winners: Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa". National Geographic. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  35. ^ "Four Confirmed Dead in Two Day on Everest". 21 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.

External links

Naga female by retlaw snellac
Yimchunger Naga woman
Ang Tharkay

Ang Tharkay (1907 – 28 July 1981) was a Nepalese mountain climber and explorer who acted as sherpa and later sirdar for many Himalayan expeditions. He was "beyond question the outstanding sherpa of his era" and he introduced Tenzing Norgay to the world of mountaineering.

Ang Tsering

Ang Tshering (or Ang Tsering) was a sherpa known for his participation in the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition and the 1934 Nanga Parbat climbing disaster. He was born in Nepal in 1904, and worked as a sherpa from 1924 to 1973. He worked as a sherpa for the British expedition to Mount Everest. He was paid "Twelve annas, that's three-quarters of a rupee." During the Nangat Parbat expedition, he spent seven or nine days in the storm until he reached Camp One, and then was able to alert the Germans about the disaster.


According to the beliefs of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, Beyul (Tibetan: སྦས་ཡུལ, Wylie: sbas-yul) are hidden valleys often encompassing hundreds of square kilometers, which Padmasambhava blessed as refuges. Tertöns may reveal them from terma at specific and appropriate times. Their locations were kept on scrolls (lamyig or neyig) hidden under rocks and inside caves, monasteries and stupas. They are places where physical and spiritual worlds overlap and Tantric practice effectiveness increases with multiple perception dimensions.Padmasambhava assigned deities to protect the beyul. Protective forces manifest as snowstorms, mists and snow leopards. Buddhist texts indicate beyul are discovered when the planet is approaching destruction and the world becomes too corrupt for spiritual practice. They describe valleys reminiscent of paradise, which can only be reached with enormous hardship. Pilgrims who travel to these wild and distant places often recount extraordinary experiences similar to those encountered by Buddhist spiritual practitioners on the path to liberation. People who try to force their way in may encounter failure and death. Earthly beyuls share significant characteristics with Shambhala.A recent attempt to open a beyul occurred in 1962, when the Tibetan lama Tulshuk Lingpa journeyed to Sikkim in order to 'open' Beyul Demoshong, a beyul fabled to exist on the slopes of Mount Kanchenjunga straddling the Nepal/Sikkim border. He took with him over 300 followers from across the Himalayas and Tibet, each of whom had given away his or her worldly goods. Their story is told in the recent book, A Step Away from Paradise.

Beyul are often understood to embody dharmapala and lords of the land, which are associated with the geographic features such as mountain, trees, rocks and water sources. Pilgrims make ritual offerings to these beings to appease their wrathful nature, and to renew the symbolic unity that people share with them. It has been argued that this attitude indicates a sustainable approach toward land stewardship.

In Nepal and Tibet around Mount Everest are the Khenbalung, Solukhumbu, Rolwaling, Rongshar, Kyirong and Nubri sacred valleys. The Sherpa people discovered Solukhumbu when they left Tibet to escape religious persecution in the 15th and 16th centuries. They entered the valley to seek refuge and made a new homeland there. Buddhist monasteries and sacred mountains have brought many spiritual travelers to Solukhumbu. Beyul are found in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, India, China and Pakistan.

Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008) was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand's High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh and concurrently as Ambassador to Nepal.

Hillary became interested in mountaineering while in secondary school. He made his first major climb in 1939, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier. He served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator during World War II. Prior to the Everest expedition, Hillary had been part of the British reconnaissance expedition to the mountain in 1951 as well as an unsuccessful attempt to climb Cho Oyu in 1952. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest.

Following his ascent of Everest, Hillary devoted himself to assisting the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he established. His efforts are credited with the construction of many schools and hospitals in Nepal. Hillary had numerous honours conferred upon him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995. Upon his death in 2008, he was given a state funeral in New Zealand.

Everest ER

The Everest ER is a seasonal tent-based medical clinic at the Everest base camp (17,600 ft/5350m) founded in 2003 by Dr. Luanne Freer, a volunteer physician for the nonprofit Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) in Nepal and Associate Medical Director of Medcor, Inc.Volunteer doctors provide altitude-experienced health care and preventative education to the climbing community, their support staff and trekking-through public in base camp, using proceeds from this care to subsidize free/low cost health care for the Sherpa people of the Khumbu region of Nepal.Staffed by volunteer physicians from all over the world, the ER works to stabilize patients for evacuation and descent or, in many cases, to definitively treat the illness or injury. Ninety percent of Everest ER patients are climbers or their support staff; the remaining 10% are trekkers-through or media and just over half of the patients every year are native Nepali.Everest ER has struggled to remain fiscally solvent. The clinic has accumulated some donated clinic supplies and equipment, including new custom-made tents, and solar panels to enable power to the equipment with clean, quiet, renewable energy. The 501C-3 non-profit organization Himalayan Rescue Association - USA (HRA-USA) was created in 2005 to help fund the clinic, a corporate sponsor (Medcor, Inc.) created and continues to manage the website and production companies filmed documentaries about the clinic in 2004, 2006, and 2007, which increased exposure to potential sponsors. The Everest ER has been well received and relied upon by more teams in the subsequent seasons – in the first 9 seasons the clinic logged over 2500 patient visits.

Kami Rita

Kami Rita (born 1970) is a Nepali Sherpa guide who, since May 2018, has held the record for most ascents to the summit of Mount Everest. Most recently, he scaled the mountain for a 24th time on 21 May 2019 breaking his record of 23rd Mount Everest Summit on 15 May 2019. His father was among the first professional Sherpa guides after Everest was opened to foreign mountaineers in 1950. His brother, also a guide, scaled Everest 17 times.In 2017, Kami Rita was the third person to ascend to the summit of Everest 21 times, sharing this record with Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa. The latter two subsequently retired.On 20 May 2018, at age 48, Kami Rita became the first person in the world to climb Everest 22 times, achieving the record of the most summits on the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak. In April of the year, he told the news media that he planned to scale Everest 25 times before retirement, "not just for myself but for my family, the Sherpa people and for my country, Nepal." His 23rd climb already allowed him to break his own world record.Kami Rita has also scaled other peaks that are higher than 8,000 meters, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna and Lhotse.

Khoriya, Sagarmatha

Khoriya (खोरिया) is a village in the Solukhumbu district of Nepal. It lies to the northeast of Kathmandu, in between Jiri and Lukla. It is a home of the Sherpa people. There is a primary school, a health post and two Gompa (monasteries) in the center of the village: Samten Chholing Gompa (Rato gompa) and Seto Gompa. Both monasteries are Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The village is near Salleri (सल्लेरी), which is the headquarters of the Solukhumbu district in the Sagarmatha zone of eastern Nepal.

List of common nouns derived from ethnic group names

This is a list of common nouns, used in the English language, whose etymology goes back to the name of some, often historical or archaic, ethnic or religious group, but whose current meaning has lost that connotation and does not imply any actual ethnicity or religion.

Several of these terms are derogatory or insulting. Such entries on this list should not be confused with "ethnic slurs" referring to a person's actual ethnicity, which have a separate list.


a Parisian gangster or thug (from the collective name Apache for several nations of Native Americans).Bohemian

a person with an unconventional artistic lifestyle (originally meaning an inhabitant of Bohemia; the secondary meaning may derive from an erroneous idea that the Romani people originate from Bohemia). Not used as an insult in most circumstances.Bugger

Synonymous with sodomite. From Middle English bougre, heretic, from Anglo-French bugre, from Medieval Latin Bulgarus, literally, Bulgarian; (from the association of Bulgaria with the Bogomils, who were accused of sodomy).Cannibal

used descriptively for any human consuming human flesh (originally meaning Carib, erroneously thought to be cannibals).Cohee

(U.S.) originally (mid-18th century) – a Scots-Irish settler into the Virginia Piedmont; later (late 18th century) – a term for backwoodsman; hick, or most severely "poor white trash", especially on the frontier or in the Appalachian area; still later (post Civil War) – a self-referential indicating an independent backwoods small farmer in the West Virginia/Carolina/Tennessee/Kentucky area.Goth

a crude person, lacking culture or refinement; an obsolete term. A separate sense is in reference to the members of the current Goth subculture. Originally from the East Germanic tribe called the Goths that sacked Rome in 410.Gringo

a foreigner; especially used disparagingly against North Americans and Europeans in Latin America. (Possibly from the Spanish word griego, meaning Greek. In Roman days, foreigners were usually divided into Greeks and Barbarians. The use of the term Greek for something foreign or unintelligible can also be seen in the expression "it's Greek to me".)Gyp

a swindler; a racehorse owner; in Britain also a male servant at a college—from Gypsy, which in turn is derived from Egyptian.Hun

barbarous or destructive person; was also in used in World War I as an ethnic slur for the Germans (from the confederation of Eurasian tribes that first appeared in Europe in the 4th century, leading to mass migrations of Germanic tribes westward, and established an empire extending into Europe in the 5th century, partially financed by the plundering of wealthy Roman cities). In modern Scotland and Northern Ireland the term is widely understood as a derogatory reference to a Protestant, or a supporter of a historically Protestant football club, most notably Rangers F.C..Mongol (or Mongoloid)

used to derogatorily describe people with Down syndrome (which was widely called "Mongol" or "Mongoloid Idiocy"). The shorthand version "mong" is also used as an insult.Philistine

a person who does not care about artistic and cultural values (from a people that inhabited Canaan when, according to the biblical account, the Israelites arrived).Pygmy

a person of diminished stature (possibly in reference to certain hunter-gatherer peoples, such as the Mbuti of Central Africa, sometimes grouped together under the term Pygmies, but that designation actually stems from the original meaning of pygmy as an unusually small person).Sherpa

is the personal representative of a head of state or government who prepares an international summit, particularly the annual G8 Summit. The name is derived from the Sherpa people, a Nepalese ethnic group, who serve as guides and porters in the Himalayas, a reference to the fact that the sherpa clears the way for a head of state at a major summit.Tartar

a violently ferocious person, a rather obsolete term (from the Turkic nomadic tribe of Tatars that invaded Europe in the 13th century, later generalized to any Mongolian or Turkic invaders of Europe).Vandal

a person who willfully and maliciously destroys property (from the East Germanic tribe that sacked Rome in 455).

Mount Khumbila

Khumbila or Khumbu Yül-Lha, roughly translated as "God of Khumbu" is one of the high Himalayan peaks in the Khumbu region of Eastern Nepal within the boundaries of Sagarmatha National Park. Considered too sacred to be climbed by most local Sherpa people, the mountain is considered home to the patron God of the local area. Rising 5,761m above sea level, the mountain overlooks the famous southern approaches to its larger neighbours including Ama Dablam and Mount Everest.

Khumbila has never been climbed; one attempt prior to the 1980s ended when climbers were killed in an avalanche, and there have been no subsequent attempts.


Namdu is a village development committee in Dolakha District in the Janakpur Zone of north-eastern Nepal. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 4938 people living in 1062 individual households.

Pasang Dawa Lama

Pasang Dawa Lama (1912 – September 15, 1982) was a Sherpa Nepalese mountaineer, sirdar, and high-altitude porter. Pasang is considered to be one of the greatest Sherpa mountaineers of the 20th century.In 1939, Pasang participated in the expedition to K2 lead by Fritz Wiessner. The two men came very close to reaching the summit, until the superstitious Pasang asked not to continue climbing as night had fallen. The pair were unable to return for a second attempt.In 1954, along with Herbert Tichy and Sepp Jöchler, Pasang made the first ascent of Cho Oyu.In 1956, Pasang was sirdar for the 1956 Swiss expedition to Everest and Lhotse, that made the first successful ascent of Lhotse, and the second and third ascents of Everest.Pasang is said to have run naked through his village before diving into ice water, a celebration of his having had sexual relations with one hundred women.

Pasang Kikuli

Pasang Kikuli (1911–1939) was a Nepalese mountain climber and explorer who acted as sherpa and later sirdar for many Himalayan expeditions. He died on the 1939 American Karakoram expedition to K2, attempting to rescue a stranded climber.

Peter Athans

Peter Athans (born March 1, 1957) is one of the world's foremost high-altitude mountaineers. In 2008 he was celebrated for summiting Mount Everest seven times, and was given the moniker "Mr. Everest". His first attempt to climb Everest in 1985 via the West Ridge, and further attempts in 1986, 1987, and 1989 were unsuccessful, but he succeeded in summitting in 1990 as part of an expedition that included Scott Fischer and Wally Berg.

Athans is one of several western Himalayan guides who have adopted Nepal as a second home, and who have taken up the cause of the Sherpa people and their culture.

Sherpa (emissary)

A sherpa is the personal representative of a head of state or government who prepares an international summit, particularly the annual G7 and G20 summits. Between the G7 summits there are multiple sherpa conferences where possible agreements are laid out. This reduces the amount of time and resources required at the negotiations of the heads of state at the final summit. The name sherpa—without further context—refers to sherpas for the G7 summit, but the designation can be extended to different regular conferences where the participation of the head of state is required. The sherpa is generally quite influential, although they do not have the authority to make a final decision about any given agreement.

The name is derived from the Sherpa people, a Nepalese ethnic group, who serve as guides and porters in the Himalayas, a reference to the fact that the sherpa clears the way for a head of state at a major summit. The name was originally used informally by the states of the European Union, where personal representatives prepare work for the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) meetings. While the position of a chief negotiator can be traced back under varying names to the first days of the European Union process, the name has caught on as an official reference since 2005 on the designation of a high-profile group on competition regulation in the European chemistry that names officially a "Sherpa-Subgroup".

Sherpa marriage

Sherpa marriages are a rich and intricate combination of culture, cosmology, and communal solidarity.


Taplejung is a municipality and the headquarters of Taplejung District in the Mechi Zone of Nepal.

The municipality was formed merging the two Village Development Committees of Phungling and Dokhu in May 2014. At the time of the 2011 Nepal census it had a population of 19,085 people (Phungling 14,974 and Dokhu 4,111) living in 4,480 individual households.

It is located at 27°21'0N 87°40'0E with an altitude of 1441 metres (4730 feet). The name Taplejung is derived from the words Taple and jung. Taple was the medieval Limbu king who used to rule the area and "jung" in Limbu language means fort. Literally, Taplejung means Fort of King Taple.

Tsering Rhitar Sherpa

Tsering Rhitar Sherpa (born 1968) is a Nepalese filmmaker and screenwriter. His first film, Mukundo: Mask of Desire, was Nepal's official entry for Oscars.


Chentang, officially Zhêntang Town (Chinese: 陈塘镇) is a town in Dinggyê County, in the Shigatse prefecture-level city of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It is a border town on the China–Nepal border and lies on the Pum Qu River. At the time of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 2,043.As of 2013, it had 6 communities under its administration.

of a distinct origin
Other peoples (M, D, i)
of Indus-Ganga
Other basis


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