The Sherpas in Nepal are best known for living at high altitudes and for facilitating moutaineering and trekking expeditions. The following articles gives a greater insight to their background.
Despite being the smallest ethnic group of the overall population, Sherpas are the most well known group of immigrants into Nepal and they are also one of the most studied groups for anthropologists due to their rich history and culture. The population of Sherpas in Nepal totals approximately 35,000 people and they are primarily located in the central and Eastern parts of Nepal.
The Sherpa community became internationally recognised in 1921 when a team of individuals hoping to reach the summit of Mount Everest hired them to help with the exhibition. Sherpas now have a world wide reputation for helping to lead and support some of the great mountaineering expeditions taking place in Nepal. Due to their expertise and ability to lead groups across some of the most challenging terrains in Nepal, Sherpas are now in a position to request hefty fees for their work. Many individuals however, who have had to rely on the Sherpas will testify to their deep knowledge and excellence at mastering some of the most demanding conditions.
The Sherpas moved to Nepal from Tibet approximately 500 years ago – although the oldest remaining Sherpa village in Nepal only dates back 300 years. This same village is also renowned as being one of the highest villages in the world.
When the Sherpas moved from Eastern Tibet to Nepal, they brought with them the Buddhist religion and as such they were also responsible for the construction and maintenance of the beautiful monasteries found in this region of Nepal. The most famous of these monasteries in Nepal is the Tengboche Monastery built in 1920 and which is now home to approximately 35 monks and 30 students – all of whom are Sherpas.
The Sherpas are well accustomed to living in high altitudes in Nepal although most Sherpas have slowly descended to lower level settlements over recent years.
Sherpas are warm people, whose Buddhist religion dictates the need to care for other living creatures. They typically take this requirement extremely seriously and as such, many Westerners claim that their generosity may sometimes cause them to feel uncomfortable. If you are ever in this position however, during your stay in Nepal then be sure to reciprocate the favours that they have shown you as far as possible.
The Sherpas have an interesting naming culture which requires parents to name their sons after the day in which they were born. Clearly not everyone adheres to this cultural practice but it is generally the norm.