Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jirel People: Dolakha

The original inhabitants of Jiri area are called Jirel. This indigenous people are settled in Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk. Jirels are close to Sherpa linguistically and to Sunuwars from the point of view of physiognomy and other civilizations. They follow Buddhist religion. This is a minority nationality having unique manners and civilization. Settled in a scattered manner at the head of the Likhu, Khimti and Jirishiki rivers and in the valleys, Jirels are found in small numbers in 63 districts of Nepal (Samsuhang, 2054-2055). They call themselves Jiripa (Gautam and Thapa Magar, 1994:300). They are settled densely in 12 or 13 villages, including Jhyaku, Paldung, Jiri, Sikri, Jugu of Tamakoshi and Khimtikhola region in particular (Sharma, 2032). They have appeared in places like Jugupyaro, Thadpa, Darkha, Cheptu Gau and Sindhupalchowk. According to the cencus of 2001, the population of Jirel is 5,316.The language of Jirels is of Tibeto-Burman family. It is difficult to distinguish between Sunuwars and Jirels on the basis of any factor other than language. The language of Jirels to a great extent resembles Sunuwar and Sherpa languages. The newborn is christened on the third or seventh day of its birth by Lama or Jhakris (a kind of shamans). The cereal-feeding ceremony is held for son and daughter in the seventh or third month respectively. Their marriage is officiated by Jhakri and Lama.
Since Saturday and Monday are considered inauspicious for marriage ceremonies, other days are preferred. The boys and girls get married in accordance with their choice and liking. When the marriage procession reaches the house of the girl's parents the girl's side and the boy's side exchange a holy waterpot. The marriage becomes complete when the boy and the girl drink local beer from the same vessel, called tongba. Marrying the widow of elder brother and daughter of wife's brother are allowed. Marriage within same clan is not permitted. The corpse of dead is washed cleanly and dressed in new clothes before burial. Some are cremated in the night of death. It is a practice to dance the whole night by playing damaru (a small drum) and the dhyangro (Dhami's drum). The death pollution is observed for five to 35 days. The full moon day of Mangsir (November-December) and Ram Nawami of Chaitra are observed as festivals (Sharma, BS2032).Jirels have 10 clans, including Deppacha, Devlinga, Chungpat, etc. If a Jirel marries a woman from another tribe, he should ask for forgiveness from members of his own tribe and should feed them by organizing a feast (Sharma, BS2045). Other social practices of Jirels are like those of Sunuwars. Level of education among Jirels is very low. Jirels follow Buddhist religion and their priest is called Lama. They also worship their Jhakri. Jhakri and Lamas are called pembo and phombo respectively. They worship the Bhote God in Chaitra and Mangsir so that the god of rivers does not cause any illnesses. The occupation of Jirels is agriculture. They are making headway in entering into civil service and trade also.

Source: http://www.nefin.org.np/indigenous-nationalities/hill-in/40


  1. badri jee thanks for comments, you can join on entrecard and post your entrecard detail (url with entrecard user id) so you can take part in contest. Try it!, it is good for increasing decent traffic and finding great blogs.

    you have a nice blog and photos of Dolakha they are great and nice researchable article about Jirels and there culture thanks for posting it, O they follow Buddhist religion i don't know about it.

  2. Good information Badrijee. I had a student with Jirel surname. I was interested to know about Jirel people. Thank you for posting this.

  3. sammer ji, I will join the entercard.

    Basanta ji, thank you for liking this posting and intreseted to know about Jirel people....