Rongpas-A brief insight of Bhotiya community of Chamoli


Rongpas –Uttarakhand or the land of the gods has been the abode of tribes for a thousand years. Among the five scheduled tribes in Uttarakhand, Bhotiya tribe is one of them. The border area of both Garwhal and Kumaon divisions is their home. The tribal communities can be considered as the only native people. One such tribe Bhotiya is inhabitant to the frontier of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand state which is a trans-Himalayan region. The Bhotiyas reside on a specific land which is situated on the northeastern part of Chamoli district. They belong to the ancient Kirat caste.

People belonging to this community prefer to be called Rongpas rather than calling Bhotiyas. On viewing through a cultural-historical point of view, this area of Uttarakhand is full of diversities. The uniqueness of geographical conditions has provided incredible and immense beauty to this area.

They have many specialties and important traditions but due to the fact that they reside in remote areas and such places are still inaccessible to a great extent, there is not much written on traditions, arts and other social practices of this community. The rapid surge in the number of people migrating from their ancestral villages and rural areas towards the cities is quiet a threat for the future sustainability of the tribal culture. If this problem of migration is not solved and people keep ignoring their traditions then such tribal communities would no longer exist and the vast culture, customs, rituals, social beliefs, dialects, costumes and faith, everything would be lost and we would be unable to witness the diversity of an incredible community.

There is a possibility that the Niti-Mana valley was attacked by the different castes from the other parts of the nation which led to the widespread of history and culture. The Bhotiya people are supposed to be originated from the border of India and Tibet which was formally known as the United Province During British times.

They used to have trade links with Tibet. When the Indo-Tibet border closed in 1962, the Bhotiya started to move across the different regions of India. The Bhotiya usually are identified as ‘Raghuvanshi Rajput’ and they prefer to be referred as ‘Thakur’ or ‘Raghuvanshi’.
This also refers to the fact that they follow Hinduism and most of their Gods and Goddesses are in accordance to the Hindu mythology in addition to their own local Gods and deites.



Deepali Martolia