Trekking in Nepal

Sherpa Cultural History

The word Sherpa or “Sharwa” in their native language literally mean “east people”, and refers to an ethnic group from the eastern mountains of Nepal. The Sherpa cultural history dates back over 500 years. They are direct descendents of travelers of the eastern Tibetan region who migrated across the Himalayas in the 16 th century, perhaps motivated by warfare or famine. These wanderers brought with them their language, religion, and customs. The Sherpa clans established a capital in the north in Naboche, and in the south in Zhung Gompa, and in their isolated terrain they enjoyed relative peace from Tibetan and Nepali marauders.

Religion has always been integral in history of the Sherpa culture. The first migrating Buddhist monks brought their prayer books and traditional teachings, and some of those original texts are kept in monasteries and are considered to be very spiritually valuable. The Tibetans also brought their language, which has since evolved to become more distinct than a dialect. Many agricultural practices and customs have been adapted for their unique terrain, but the Sherpa people keep very close ties with Tibetan people by traveling to Tibet for trade and pilgrimages to holy landmarks. Tibetans also make the journey to the markets in Nepal for trade .

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