The Monpa Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh

The Monpa tribe of Arunachal Pradesh

The tale of Monpa tribe

Did You know, Monpas are believed to be the only Nomadic tribe of NE India?

Nomads are known as a group of communities who travel from place to place for their livelihood.

Constituting 5% of the total tribal population of Arunachal Pradesh, the Monpas are said to be inhabitants of the primitive tribes of Tawang and West Kameng District. They are believed to be the only nomadic tribes in Northeast India having migrated through the Western Himalaya, via Sikkim into Tawang. The Monpas have a kinship with the Sharchops of Bhutan. Their dialect is Tibeto-Burman, but it differs from that of the Eastern Tibet. Based on the variation of languages, the Monpa society is divided into 6 sub-groups namely: Tawang Monpa, During Monpa, Lish Monpa, But Monpa, Kalaktang Monpa, Panchen Monpa. The traditional society is administered by the Trukdri comprising six members known by the name of Kenpo. They are strict adherents of Tibetan Buddhism and their social and religious life center round the Gompas (temple). In every household, small Buddhist altars are given water offerings in little cups and burning butter lamps.

The Monpas are easy-going people possessing a rich heritage and culture. They are reckoned for wood carving, Thangka painting, carpet making and weaving. They are adept in making paper from susko tree. The people also practice shifting and permanent cultivation as well as rear domestic animals like yaks, cows, pigs, fowl and sheep.Principal Monpa festivals include Choskar harvest, Losar, and Torgya. During Losar, people offer prayers at the Tawang Monastery to mark the Tibetan New Year.

The Monpas also practice hunting animals except men and tigers. Tradition has it that only one individual is allowed to hunt a tiger on an auspicious day, during which the jawbone along with its teeth, is used as a magic weapon and the spirit shall accompany and protect the boy along his way. The Monpa tribe is also known for giving eminent personalities like the 6th Dalai Lama, Pema Khandu, son of Dorjee Khandu (former CM) and current Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh. With an amalgamation of both non-violence and violence, the Monpa is one of the most diverse tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. 

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