A brief history of gurung (tamu) society

GURUNG

The Gurung people are an ethnic group who migrated from Tibet in the 6th century to the central region of Nepal. Gurung, Sherpa, Tamang, Thakali, Manaaggi, Mustaaggi, Walunggi and many east Asian featured people of Nepal are the indigenous people of Nepal’s mountainous valleys. Their ancestors practiced Tibetan Buddhism and Bön (shamanism). According to the recent 2007 surveys, most Gurung people are Buddhist. They live primarily in north west Nepal in Gandaki zone, specifically Lamjung, Kaski, Mustang, Dolpa, Tanahu, Gorkha, Parbat and Syangja districts as well as the Manang district around the Annapurna mountain range. Some live in the Baglung, Okhaldhunga and Taplejung districts and Machhapuchhre as well. Small numbers are believed to be living in Sikkim, Bhutan and India’s West Bengal.

There are 686,000 Gurung (Τamu) (0.39% of Nepal’s total population) of which 338,925 speak the Gurung language. Their ancestors, culture and traditions are traced back to Tibet. Though, Tibet is called “Bhot” in Nepali language, the word “Botay” is consider derogatory to refer to Asian featured Nepalis. They coexist well with other ethnic groups of Nepal such as Madhesi and Khas. Khas and Madhesi people are Hindu, Indo-Aryan group who have migrated to Nepal after 12th century and brought with them the Hindu caste system. Most Gurung and other indigenous Nepalese of Asian features are Buddhist and so they are not bound by the Hindu caste system. Nepali of Asian appearance refer themselves as Mongoloid. Sometime, the term Mongoloid gets mistaken by youngsters and they think their ancestors originated from Mongolia. No study findings have pointed Gurungs origin to Mongolia. Instead, many studies and historians had confirmed their origin to Tibet.

Early History

The Tamu (Gurung) Pye refers to the very beginning of civilization, more than eight or nine thousand years ago. They tell the origin of human beings and of the materials that they used. Tamu Priests still use some of these primitive utensils in their rituals. The Pye do not seem to have changed substantially over time.

They refer to the ancestors of the Tamu, their Aji-khe (Khe-ku, nine male ancestors), Aji-ma (Ma-i, seven female ancestors), and Aba Kara Klye, spiritual master, lords, ghosts etc. Tamu Pye tells how the first people lived in Cho (“Tso”, which means lake in Tibetan) Nasa, a lakeside village, where they planted the first grain, barley. Then they dispersed to other places such as Sa Nasa, Dwo Nasa, Si Nasa and Kro Nasa, the latter being in the south, hot and fertile. Later the northern Cho Nasa was rich in religious activity, speaking Tamu-Kwyi. Other Tamu villages developed according to their proximity to the northern and southern ends. There are also stories about the discovery of fire, how the drum was first made, and many other things in the Pye.

The ancestors of the Tamu, Ma-i and Khe-ku, seem to have been represented as seven lakes (the former) and nine mountain peaks (the latter). There is a traditional assumption that Cho Nasa, as described in the Pye-ta Lhu-ta, lay in western Tibet, and was ringed by seven lakes and surrounded by three mountain ranges. To the south, in Xinjiang in Western China, north of Tibet, in the Turfan Depression, lay Kro Nasa. Large lakes are called nuur in Tibetan, nor in Western China, and tso(cho) in Tibet. In Tamu tradition, as they migrated from one site to another, they would call the new site by the old name if it was similar in aspect. Tamu Pye tells that the soul of a dead person is believed to go first to Koko-limar-tso, which is under water. In the Qinghai region of China lies a huge lake with an island in the middle called Koko Nor ( or Ching Hai). It is similar to Hara Usa Nuur (one of the seven lakes) of western Mongolia, and some near-by places have names which end in “chow”, conceivably derived from the Cho Nasa of almost six or seven thousand years ago, described in Tamu Pye. Similarly Sa Nasa, Two Nasa, Si Nasa and kro Nasa could be placed in the Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan regions of China respectively, running southward to Tibet and then Nepal.

About these ads

20 comments on “A brief history of gurung (tamu) society

  1. Conflicting one …………. that is enough to put somebody in perfect dilemma and illusion…… Arjun needs to study more about Tamu ( Gurung ) but good job its a good try………. their ancestors practiced Tibetan Buddhism ………… Pye refers to the very beginning of the civilization more than eight or nine thousand years ago ………… which one is true man????……….. the one that exists from the very period of the origin and the one that introduced after 7 years later ……….. Our traditions and culture traced back to Tibet ???……. but still they are related to Mongolian shamanism and Tengerism ……. its not good to jumping over the conclusion………….

  2. At 1st i heartly thanks to bj that u show the interest to read about GURUNG culture via our blog.. Well bj i had upragraded the above info from wikipedia.. Since it belongs to history i donot guarentee the exactness on the fact.. If you are so much interested to know the fact about GURUNG culture, please wait for some more days,i will certainly release a post on it!

  3. first of all thanks for making this blog providing information about tamu people we are in need of such more study to stand

  4. Mr.arjun.its a great task to dig the history..however gurung people have special respect in nepal.but i am surprise why u people are misguiding the society by disrespecting the historical pride of khas community.history still has live with strong proof that Khas people has khas rajye extended from northern mountain of early nepal to sikkim n kashmir long before 6th century and these people fought mahavarat war with kauravas alongside of kirat.still theres the written fact and pillar in dailekh dullu..we are not so called brutal aryans with white skin and blue eyes as mentioned,we are. just historic and ancient khas.these days many indigenous tribes are being victim of racist propoganda of broker politicians and europeans who want here a ethnic war.we should understand that disregarding the history and cultural ties will dig us to death..long live communal unity

    • well suresh ji, thanks for your response indeed and concern.. ummm, like you said i dont think i have mentioned like ” brutal aryans with white skin and blue eyes” in the post.. Other than that, we need to study more go deeply to know the exact history.. The article was based on internet sources so far…

  5. Mr.arjun.its a great task to dig the history..however gurung people have special respect in nepal.but i am surprise why u people are misguiding the society by disrespecting the historical pride of khas community.history still has live with strong proof that Khas people has khas rajye extended from northern mountain of early nepal to sikkim n kashmir long before 6th century and these people fought mahavarat war with kauravas alongside of kirat.still theres the written fact and pillar in dailekh dullu..we are not so called brutal aryans with white skin and blue eyes as mentioned,we are. just historic and ancient khas.these days many indigenous tribes are being victim of racist propoganda of broker politicians and europeans who want here a ethnic war.we should understand that disregarding the history and cultural ties will dig us to death..long live communal unity.

  6. sai ho malai dami lagyo tara Grg harule tibetian Buddhism pachi matra leko ho hamro affnai chaaa Ghyabring bhnchaa hamile chai ghyabring chalaucha hamro purkha harulai prathana grnaa Tibetian ma pujja grdeina Grg bhasa ma grcha hamro culture tibetian bhnda Magar sanga beshi milcha. hamro migration Mongolia bata bhako hooo

  7. hi… i just know about tis blog but at first i like ur blog but wen i saw more comments i m little confused abt our…. so whoever doing post plz update me….. i really like to know abt my culture….or suggest me link

  8. Gurung comunity have own cluture and tradition as well as religion. We people believed in natural power, we have Pye( sastra) there every thing is discribe about gurung cluture and history and how they believe in Bonishm and Gurung priests……, actually Gurungs are not Hindu and Buddist, they are Bon. For further details please log on to http://www.tamupyeluhsangh.org.com

  9. I have always wondered where our Gurung community originated from and it’s history. Thank you for educating me about this. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s