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Thakali Culture

Thakali people are an ethnolinguistic group who are originated from the ThakKhola region of Mustang district, Nepal. According to the census, 2001, there are a total of 13,000 Thakali people. They are mostly Tibetian-Buddhist and some are Hindu, nowadays some of them are being Christian, too.


It is believed that the 4-chan ancestor moved from Tibet to Karnali district capital and started staying there and doing agriculture and animal husbandry. They always used to worship the Chandan tree. One day some people of the village cut the tree and the tree started drying.
The 4 ancestors were worried and cut the 4 branches of the tree. From 4 branches 4 different colored birds fly out. The birds were red, green, white, and black respectively. Then the 4 ancestors searched for the 4 birds and reached Thakhola and stayed there. So, this place is considered as the origin place of the Thakali people.


Thakali community is composed of Four ancestors. They are Gauchan (Choeki), Tulachan (Salki), Serchen (Timtsen), and Bhattachan (Burki).
These 4-Chan have their respective goddess. The goddess of Gauchan is called LhaLongbaNorbu, Tulachan goddess is called LhaChurinGyalmo. Similarly, the goddess of Serchan is called LhaKhanglaSinkiKarpo and the goddess of Bhattachan is called LhaRyabaRyanjung.

Thakali language:

Thakali people have their language i.e. Sino-Tibetan language. This language is mostly spoken by thakali people residing in the Mustang district and Myagdi. Almost 51% of Thakali people speak their native language.

Occupation :

The native occupation of the Thakali peoples is agriculture and animal husbandry but now most of the Thakali people are engaged in trade and business. They are considered as most successful trade and business person. They are one of the richest caste people in Nepal.

Thakali priest:

The Thakali people have their own priest to perform all the rituals from birth to death. Their priests are Dhong, Dhongba, and Lama.

Thakali people have their set of cultural dresses. They wear these dresses during every cultural event and festival. The gents wear Labeda, Suruwa, Istakot, and Coat whereas the females wearJama, Cholo, Patuka, Teki, and Khasdo (Shawl) and some ornaments as their cultural dress.
Thakali Cuisine:

Thakali people have their set of food that they eat. They mostly eat buckwheat, barley, millet, rice, maize, and daal.
The set of thakali food consists of Daal, Rice, Vegetables, some pickles, ghee, meat for non- vegetarian people, gundruk, sweet curd (Phopke), and appetizer finger chips of buckwheat called Kachhyamba.


Thakali people celebrate several festivals like:

1. Fagu Purnima/ Holi/ Toran La:
It is the biggest festival for the Thakali people. This festival is the new year of the Thakali people as their Thakali calendar. The people worship their ancestors for what they have contributed to their culture and community. They celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm.
2. LhaPhewa:
This festival is celebrated once in 12 years. It is celebrated in their native place ThakKhola. This festival lasts for 18 days and celebrated on the month of Poush. This festival is celebrated by performing lots of rituals and worshipping their ancestor with lots of joy.
3. Falo which is also known as Kumar Yatra is also one of the major festivals of the Thakali people.
Thakali culture is one of the oldest cultures having its own language, festivals and is popular in international countries also and many people visits Nepal to explore the thakali culture and mostly Thakali cuisine is very popular among them.

-Article written by: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal

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