Nubri people are an ethnicity in Nepal that reside among the tallest mountain range in the world. They are mostly settled in the Nubri valley of the Manaslu Tsum region. Two major ethnic groups live in this region: the Nubri and the Tsum. The Chikkur River separates their villages. You can also see the existence of Nubri Tsum municipality to indicate this.
Nubri community lives in a very remote and difficult-to-access location. Their residence in the isolated Manaslu Tsum region is proof. The Nubri village had been opened to tourists quite recently in the 1950s. Their lives are very secluded from the outside. Their lifestyle and culture have not changed for centuries.
The Nubri ethnic groups arrived in the Nubri Valley from Tibet around 400 years ago. Nubri Valley is home to around 2000 people.
In their high altitude, the Nubri people struggle to grow food. Their main occupation is animal husbandry. They look after yaks, goats, and sheep. These animals provide them with meat, skins, and milk. They cleverly trade many crafted items for other necessities. Their one-room structures are made of stones and wood.
The family structure does not seem to be strictly patrilineal. Women may have multiple husbands.
The Nubri people live in a remote region of Manaslu. The lack of resources and facilities makes the region prone to health risks. There does exist a free medical clinic for the residents. However, it is common for the Nubri community’s children not to live past the age of five. Despite their hardships, they are warm and friendly people.
The unique languages spoken in the Manaslu region are Nubri and Tsum. Nubri remains largely undocumented and undescribed. Only lexicon has been described for this language. The language hence has been classified as “definitely endangered.”
Nubri has at least three dialects, represented by the village varieties Prok, Lho, and Sama. Nubri language is closely related to the neighboring Tsum language and the Kyirong Tibetan dialect. The Kyirong Tibetan dialect is spoken across the Tibet border. All three languages are considered a Sino-Tibetan languages.
Nubri people hold Buddhist and animistic beliefs. They believe in the existence of spirits in plants and animals, which they both revere and fear. They believe that prayers, sacrifices, and rituals must be performed to appease evil spirits. Buddhist teachings can be combined with traditional religions. Their Buddhist religion teaches them that reincarnation is an endless cycle that is influenced by how they live their lives.
The Nubri village comprises a small community close to sociocultural ties. The place, however, still has adequate population growth and marriages. Some people designate their daughters to be nuns so that they won’t marry. This way, they can help them in the household in old age. This practice is quite prevalent.
There are also hints of culture that seem to reject patrilineal tradition. It is common for women to have more than one husband.
Monastries are celebrated pilgrims of the Nubri people. Hinang Thrangu Tashi Chopheling Monastery in Nubri is a recently built monastery in the region. Tulku Damcho Rinpoche is formally assumed the spiritual leadership of Nubri Thrangu Monastery. Every year, the monastery hosts Mani (Chenrezig) pujas, Guru Rinpoche pujas, and Mahakala Pujas for the locals.
The Nubri Thrangu Monastery is the region’s main monastery, with only a few outlying monasteries. The monastery currently has 20 monk students aged 4 to 13. People seek out the Thrangu monks for prayer requests because they have great faith in the Nubri religious community and hold it in high regard.
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