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Monday, February 17, 2014


Tawang Gompa
Tawang Gompa (Photo credit: rao.anirudh)
A Tibetan farmer ploughing a field; yaks still...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Japanese Edo period commanders baton "sai...
Japanese Edo period commanders baton "saihai" with a yaks hair tassle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Riding Yaks
Riding Yaks (Photo credit: W.
Monpa (1)
Monpa (1) (Photo credit: rajkumar1220)

Monpas are largely concentrated in West Kameng and Tawang districts of Arunachal Pradesh of India. They also inhabit Tibet part of China and Eastern Bhutan.They are  recognised as an ethnic group by China. Out of about 50,000 monpas living in India roughly 25000 monpas reside in Tawang district of Arunachal pradesh. Tawang monastery is the highest seat of Buddhist religion in India. The sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso (1 March 1683 – 15 November 1706) was a Monpa by ethnicity and was born at Urgelling Monastery, just 5 km from Tawang and not far from the large Tawang Monastery in the northwestern part of present-day Arunachal Pradesh in India.

Yaks are an important part of their life There life revolves around the Yaks. The inhabitants of Monpas villages living in high mountainous valleys of Arunachal and Bhutan go about their lives tending to the herds of Yaks. They  plough their fields harnessing the animals to grow their   crops. The climate in the high altitudes where they reside is generally very cold. They knit sweaters and blouses from the hair of Yaks and stitch their clothes from the skin of animals they hunt.

They brew their drinks from the rice and millet called 'chhang' and do whatever possible to make their lives enjoyable. They drink copiously and quickly break into dance, song and spontaneous laughter. This is the most endearing feature of their character and is known far and wide.

They build their multi levelled houses from brick and stone. The forest products are used copiously to build their dwellings.

Colourful flags atop high poles and prayer wheels are a common sight of any 'mon' village. The prayer wheels are generally found on every path leading to a village.

They are expert craftsmen. Carved wood work, weaving and paper making are some of the crafts which are famous all over. Thangka or Tanka paintings and mask making are being  practiced by them for centuries.

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