Who actually are the Sherpa People of Nepal?

A Super Human sort, Sherpas are known for their physical strength and climbing feats, however, there is more to them than just climbing.

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Who actually are Sherpa People?

Sherpa (Nepali: शेर्पा) or Sherpas are one of the indigenous tribes of Nepal found mostly in the Northeastern regions of Nepal & India. Belonging to a Tibetan origin, they settled in Nepal thousands of years ago.

In the Tibetan language, Shar Pa means “people who live in the east,” and over time this descriptive term has come to identify the Sherpa community.

Sherpa family of Solukhumbu

Sherpa family of Solukhumbu

They account for a meager population of est. 155,000 – 200,000 of Nepal, however, being one of the most recognized clans, they have established themselves as an important part of the society.

:A recent study released by University of California realized more than 30 genetic enhancements among the people living in high-altitude regions of Nepal & Tibet, and one of them, EPAS1, also known as the “super-athlete gene,” is found in heaps in Sherpa community.

~History~

Formerly, a nomadic tribe, they are believed to have settled in Nepal thousands of years ago. They were driven out from the Kham district of eastern Tibet during 14th – 15th century by the warlike community, which made them Gypsies. They settled in Tingri region of Tibet, however, due to external conflict they later migrated to the current Solukhumbu region of Nepal. They belong to a Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism.

Before they were recognized for their physical strength and climbing abilities, they were mainly involved in cattle herding and farming. Post-1953, many Everest expeditions used Sherpas as full-time porters. During the commercialization of climbing in Nepal, Sherpas grew to be the climbing guides and assistants in expeditions. Today, they lead expeditions to many renowned peaks in the Himalaya, along with leading trek groups in Nepal.

5 Misconceptions about Sherpa

  1. Sherpa represents only the climbing community − Sherpa is an ethnic tribe of Nepal. The word Sherpa came from Tibetan, meaning “people who live in the east.” Despite being frequent in tourism, Sherpas have made their name in different socioeconomic sectors as well.
  2. Sherpa are illiterate and ignorant −The lack of modernization/development before in northern villages of Nepal led to mass illiteracy, however, with the advent of technological advancement, Sherpas today are regularly schooled.
  3. Sherpa belong to nomadic tribes −They used to belong to a nomadic tribe which traveled from Tibet to Nepal, however, Sherpas have settled and lived in Nepalfor generations, therefore, they don’t relocate anymore.
  4. Sherpas are known only for outdoor activities −It’s a wrong portrayal of Sherpa community. While many of them are employed in Outdoor agencies, many others chose a different path of life.
  5. Guaranteed Everest summit −Many believe that having Sherpas in your team is an assurance for Everest summit. Well, Sherpas alone cannot guarantee successful Everest summit, your physical condition, training, weather conditions etc play equally important roles in determining success.

Some Renowned Sherpas

#1 Tenzing Norgay Sherpa

Tenzing Norgay doodle

Tenzing Norgay doodle

Tenzing Sherpa was one of the first person in the history of mankind to summit Mount Everest. He was appointed as a porter by Eric Shipton during an Everest expedition of 1935. Before reaching the Everest summit in 1953. His teammates and superiors applauded him for his strength, friendliness and maturity. Once, after rescuing Hillary from a crevasse fall during 1953’s expedition he befriended him and later became his climbing partner. >>Read complete article

#2 Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa

Apa Sherpa, nicknamed “Super Sherpa,” is a mountaineer who has climbed Mount Everest for the record 21 times as of May 2013. He started his career in the mountains in 1985 (he worked as a kitchen boy and porter for various groups). It wasn’t until 1990 that he made his first ascent of the Everest.

#3 Pasang Lhamu Sherpa

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa is the first Nepalese woman to summit Mount Everest. Born in a mountaineering family, she had successfully climbed Mont Blanc, Cho Oyu, Mount Yala peak, Pisang Himal, and many others. She has been conferred by many local and international accolades for her feat.


~Gallery~


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(Trek the popular trails of Nepal covering Sherpa culture and lifestyle in-depth)

GUIDE PROFILE: Pem Sherpa; A Snow Leopard of Himalayas

Pem Sherpa is called a ‘Snow Leopard’ by the locals. A professional climber, he’s been leading climbing trips in Nepal since 2000.


Pem Chhotar Sherpa

Pem Chhotar Sherpa

PERSONAL DETAILS

Full Name: Pem Chhotar Sherpa (CERTIFIED)
Birth: Sotang, Solukhumbu 1979
Career: Climbing/Expedition Guide
Expertise: Climbing, Sightseeing and Culture
Interests: Languages and Rock Climbing


Pem in Person

Pem Chottar Sherpa is one of the most experienced climbing/expedition guides found in Nepal today. Active since 2000, Pem has led successful trips to numerous peaks in and outside Nepal.

Pem Sherpa posing with Marisa and Robert

Pem Sherpa posing with Marisa and Robert

With 15 years of experience in assaulting rapid snow, harsh weather and freezing air of Northern Nepal, Pem has grown immune to fatigue, disinterest or displeasure in Himalaya. When he is climbing, he is the busiest man in the team, however, his successes came with much difficulties. He started as a junior porter in his uncle’s team. After working 2 years as a porter, he joined chefs for the next 3 years and gradually made his way to assistant climbing guide.

A devoted family guy, he started his job as a guide from Lakpa Ri of Tibet, where he spent almost 4 years. When he returned to Nepal, he was overwhelmed with offers to guide teams to mighty Mount Everest and numerous Eight-Thousander and Seven-Thousander peaks.

In year 2004/2005. I went to my first climbing trip as a climbing guide to Mera peak with a team of 4 Australians. My second trip was in Ama Dablam, it is when I fell ill at the base camp. I walked till midnight at that time, it was a difficult experience.


Successful Ascents

S.No Year Team Mountain Report
1 2000 BRITISH MERA PEAK Summit
2 2000 BRITISH POKALDE Summit
3 2000 JAPANESE THARPUCHULI Summit
4 2001 BRITISH LABUGE Summit
5 2001 JAPANESE KHODE Summit
6 2002 BRITISH ISLAND PEAK Summit
7 2002 SINGAPORE MARADI HIMAL Summit
8 2003 BRITISH LUBUGE Summit
9 2003 KOREAN CHOLATE Summit
10 2004 JAPANESE MANASALU Summit
11 2004 BRITISH RAMDUNG Summit
12 2005 BRITISH CHULI WEST Summit
13 2006 BRITISH KANCHANJANGHA 8,045 M
14 2007 BRITISH MERA PEAK 6,654 M
15 2008 KOREAN EVEREST Summit
16 2008 INDIAN EVEREST 8,755 M
17 2008 INDIAN DHAULAGIRI 7,565 M
18 2009 BRITISH CHOYO Summit
19 2010 USA EVEREST Summit
20 2011 GERMANY MERA PEAK Summit
21 2011 ITALY ISLAND PEAK Summit

He proclaims;

The mountains of Nepal have their own stories. He finds those stories fascinatingly engaging and he believes that tourists can find those tales fascinating too.


On the field


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5 Reasons to Get Married in Nepal? (Tips for Foreigners)

Most foreigners visit Nepal to get married in a typical Hindu style. Hindu weddings are known for their historical and cultural importance, as well as extravagant gatherings and decors.

The ritual complied to Hindu Vedas is considered an important part of a human life, therefore, the ceremony is celebrated with much awe and passion in Hindu society. Following the footsteps of South-Asian counterparts, foreigners can enjoy the same lush marriage ceremonies for themselves.

Hindu Weddings

Hindu wedding (Sanskrit: विवाह) is known as Vivah sanskar. A lavish ceremony can lasts for days along with processions carried out before the day of marriage. Fire is considered the primary witness in Hindu matrimonial, therefore, groom and bride are married in front of a pyre.

In India, the wedding is divided into 3 parts;

  1. Kanyadaan
  2. Panigrahana
  3. Saptapadi
Heena on palms

Bride’s palm decorated with heena during wedding

Kanyadaan is the initial ritual performed by the father of the bride. He brings the bride to groom and offer her hand to his. Panigrahana is the ritual as a symbol of their impending marital union, and the groom announcing his acceptance of responsibility to four deities. Saptapadi is the most important and final ritual of the marriage. The couple take seven rounds around the holy fire. Every circle undertook around the holy fire represents a special vow.

In Nepal, the wedding involves 6 different steps. US Citizens are required to obtain special permit from the Government of Nepal to get married in Nepal >>US Embassy Notice


5 Reasons to Get Married in Nepal

#1 Taste of Nepalese Culture

Sel Roti, a Nepalese delicay eaten during auspicious occassions

Sel Roti, a Nepalese delicay eaten during auspicious occassions

Getting married in Nepal can offer you the authentic taste of Nepalese culture and lifestyle. From wedding couture to everyday meals, everything is inspired from Nepalese household. You can follow the entire procession in Nepalese style.

#2 Honeymooning in Nepal

A trekker posing at Thorong La Pass

A trekker posing at Thorong La Pass

One big advantage of getting married in Nepal is, you can spend a quality time honeymooning in Nepal. You can consider taking a short trek to scenic locations of Nepal or take tours and safaris. A cheaper and convenient travel destination, Nepal can be a great place to spend private time with your loved ones.

#3 Wedding Ceremony Music 

Panche Baja

Panche Baja

Nepalese wedding music or Panche Baja is a combination of 5 traditional musical instruments generally played during weddings, which includes; cymbals, drums, small and large kettledrums, trumpets and folk oboe. Playing Panche Baja adds charm to Nepalese weddings.

#4 Stars & Astrology

Hindu astrological signs

Hindu astrological signs

The astrological signs are taken into account during deciding a marriage in Hindu society.

The position of astrological signs of both the couple  determines the time and date of marriage, as well as future comings of the nuptial.

#5 Vedic Rituals

HIndu lamp

HIndu lamp or Diyo

Hindu marriages are bound by vedic rituals. Each process signifies vedic importance. From the mantra chanted to the undertaking of marriage, everything is planned and revered.

GUIDE PROFILE: Ram Timlasina, an Art Curator

Ram Timalsina is undoubtedly one of the skilled trek guide in Nepal. An art curator and self-proclaimed ambassador of the nation, Ram is equally dedicated and outgoing.


Ram Krishna Timalsina

Ram Krishna Timalsina

PERSONAL DETAILS

Full Name: Ram Krishna Timalsina
Birth: Khari, Dhading 1982
Career: Trek Guide
Expertise: Trekking, Sightseeing, Culture
Interests: Art curating and Traveling


Ram in Person

Ram came from the remote village of Khari in Dhading. He was excited to join the tourism industry since early age. He used to see tourists camping and enjoying at Thopo Khola in his hometown which left an everlasting impression on him. Luckily, he was referred as a porter by his relative working in the sector.

He recollects,

I was assigned as a porter for the trek in Annapurna Base Camp for a Singaporean group, and one of the guest gifted an English language book to me which proved crucial for me to learn and adapt English.

A hardworking person, he temporarily left his childhood passion to pursue career working as a staff in Subway in Bahrain back in 2005. However, he resumed his position in Nepal Vision Treks & Expedition after working 3 years in Bahrain.

He chose to get married immediately after returning from abroad. As luck favored him, he started guiding treks in Everest region, Annapurna, Upper Mustang and other regions of Nepal. He even tried his hands on guiding safari tours in Chitwan.

In one instance, Ram was guiding a trek to Thorong La Pass for an American tourist back in 2007. While descending, the tourist fainted because of altitude sickness. Ram, using his first aid skills, brought him  back to consciousness.The tourist in great awe thanked and blessed him for his kindness.

He loves to collect old artifacts and show them to his guests. An avid art curator, he dreams to establish a museum dedicated to his collected artifact in the future.

He proclaims,

Tourists should  come to Nepal  because it offers challenge to adventure seekers like nowhere else in the world.


On the field


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Aussie Couple Successfully Climb 2 Small Peaks in Nepal

An Aussie couple successfully climbed the popular trekking/small peaks in Nepal, Island peak 6,189 m (20,305 ft) & Mera peak 6,476 m (21,247 ft), back in 2010. Hailing from the highlands of Australia, Robert Gropel and Marisa Strydom undertook a ginormous task of climbing two small peaks in Nepal, which normally takes 27 days of continuous camping, trekking and climbing.

Dr. Robert Gropel is a veterinarian, while Marisa served as an academic in Finance at Monash University.

The trip to Mera & Island Peak via Amphu Laptsa starts from climbing the Island peak, followed by crossing the highest pass of the region, Amphu Laptsa Pass. Once you complete crossing the pass you again start climbing Mera peak.



~Gallery~


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